For the last couple of weeks, Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel has not been available directly through Amazon. So in the meantime, the University Press of Kentucky is offering 30% off the cover price when the book is ordered through their website.
Use code FGAZ at the checkout.
And don’t forget, no matter where you purchase the hardcover, you’re eligable for a free copy of the e-book through UPK’s e-book loyality program.
This Thursday, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, VA will be screening an archival print of The Crowd Roars at 7:30 in the State Theatre. This snappy pre-Code features Ann Dvorak opposite James Cagney and Joan Blondell under the watchful eye of director Howard Hawks and is definitely worth checking out. Plus, it’s free! Full details can be viewed over at the Library of Congress website.
Around 10 or 11 years ago, I had the opportunity to see The Crowd Roars at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. At the time, I had never seen an Ann Dvorak film on the big screen and was beside myself with excitement. A few friends joined me and as the lights dimmed, we all eagerly awaited the moment to cheer loudly when Ann made her first appearance onscreen.
And then the MGM lion appeared with its gallant roar.
Unfortunately, The Crowd Roars with Ann Dvorak and James Cagney was a First National/Warner Bros. film, not an MGM production. The place where the theater had ordered the print from sent the wrong film! Instead of a gritty Howard Hawks racing drama, we viewed a glossy 1938 MGM boxing drama of the same title with Robert Taylor, Frank Morgan, and Maureen O’Sullivan. I guess anyone can make that mistake, but the theater never even acknowledged it! Funny thing was that no one else seemed to notice or care, so I sat there bitterly not watching Ann Dvorak and then wrote a strongly worded email the next day. Come to think of it, I never did cash in those free tickets they offered.
I am pretty sure the Library of Congress will have their act together and show the correct film, so go enjoy The Crowd Roars if you can!
For those of you wanting to live in a swanky Beverly Hills residence, formerly owned by a movie star, and the scene of a major vice raid – you’re in luck! This Mediterranean-style residence located at 1514 Schulyer Road is on the market for *only* $4.5 million and fits all of the above criteria.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may recall this residence from our tour of Ann Dvorak’s Los Angeles last year. In a nutshell, Ann owned the house in the early 1950s but was spending most of her time at a Malibu property, so she rented the Beverly Hills home out. In 1951, when Ann was abroad, the house of Schuyler Rd was raided and many arrests were made on pandering charges. Ann was oblivious to the goings on and the press didn’t even link her to the events. In the wake of raid, Ann was made aware and even had a sense of humor about it when she wrote to her agent, “How did you like the Schuyler Road whorehouse episode? It was a good house for that purpose. Had all the makings (no cracks please). Den of Vice Incorporated. I particularly liked the ‘Purple Room.’ $150 for a ‘double header’ – man & two women. Please tell me Bill how they manage that?”
The house has had some major renovations and the inside and now bears little resemblance to the former Den of Vice Incorporated. I don’t even know when one of these was once the purple room, though I like to think that if you look in a corner near the floor, a trace of “Ann Dvorak loosely affiliated whorehouse purple” is still visible.
It’s true what they say about Chicago – it IS one hell of a town. Specifically one hell of a film town. I am still dumbstruck that I was invited to introduce two Ann Dvorak films on consecutive nights at two different movie palaces in the Windy City. On both nights I was welcomed with open arms by appreciative classic film fans and even managed to sell a few books.
First up was The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at the Patio Theatre in the Portage Park neighborhood. The screening was sponsored by the Northwest Chicago Film Society who secured a restored 35mm print from the Library of Congress, which was gorgeous. Around 250 people showed up, and it was exciting to see this film on the big screen for the first time with an appreciative crowd. The only damper on the evening was that this was the last screening at the Patio for the foreseeable future, as the owners are having trouble maintaining the operating costs.
Night two brought us to the Pickwick Theatre in the suburb of Park Ridge for Scarface, sponsored by the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. At least 100 people came to this gorgeous theatre to watch this 1932 classic. This was the third or forth time I have seen the gangster flick on the big screen and it never gets old. Even though I have seen Scarface countless times over the years, I never made the connection that the play Muni and his gang are watching shortly before gunning down Boris Karloff in a bowling alley is Rain. As I’ve noted before, Howard Hughes made every attempt to secure the film rights for Rain in order to have Ann Dvorak star as Sadie Thompson. It didn’t pan out and Joan Crawford ended up with the role. I’m not sure if this was something Hughes requested of director Howard Hawks or if it were just a coincidence.
I need to extend my sincere gratitude to Kyle Westphal of the Northwest Chicago Film Society and Matthew C. Hoffman of the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. They were the ones responsible for pulling the two nights together and were incredibly hospitable to me and my family. Kyle and Matthew were at both screenings, handled logistics and took care of the book sales. Chicago film fans are very lucky to have these two!
Over the course of the two nights, I was able to meet up with old friends and new ones and it was wonderful to see so much attention focused on Ann Dvorak. As if the screenings themselves were not grand enough, me and the family had a blast at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Adler Planetarium, many pizza places and a productive weekend for my husband at the C2E2 convention.
I have to admit it was difficult to leave such a beautiful city, though the 80+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles were a nice welcome home present. Just in case you missed them, I did interviews all about Ann-D over at the Chicago Reader and the Cine-File blog.
Thanks a bunch Chicago!