Ann Dvorak Twofer on TCM
Case of the Stuttering Bishop is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, July 1 at 4:30pm EST
‘G’ Men is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, July 1 at 11:00pm EST
Two Ann Dvorak movies airing on one day is a rare treat indeed, and Turner Classic Movies is doing just that to kick off the month of July. Since the films are on over seven hours apart, I am forced to admit the this Dvorak Double Feature (of sorts) is probably just a coincidence, but that should not diminish our excitement over a double dose of Dvorak.
First up is Case of the Stuttering Bishop, where Ann plays the loyal Della Street to Donald Wood’s Perry Mason. This was the last of six Perry Mason films Warner Bros (First National if you want to be technical) made in the 1930s. Warren William played Mason in the first four (Ricardo Cortez played Perry once as well), and after the way Ann treated him in Three on a Match, it would have been great to see them paired up again, playing radically different characters than before. I have to admit that it has been years since I have seen this one, and I don’t remember much about it. I recall enjoying it well enough, thinking Ann did not have enough to do, and being pleased that there really is a stuttering bishop (who might turn out to be a fake, but I don’t quite remember). One other thing that stands out for me about this movie is that Ann wears a blond wig for about five minutes, yet the three lobby cards I have from this film are from that one scene.
Case of the Stuttering Bishop was the last film Ann Dvorak made at the Warner Bros studio. She had battled them in court for the first half of 1936, trying to get out of her contract for, what she deemed to be, an unwarranted suspension. She lost the case and was loaned out to RKO for a couple of films while Warners tried to figure out what to do with her. They ultimately decided she was not worth the effort, and after casting her in Midnight Court and Case of the Stuttering Bishop, let her out of her contract early. Filming on the Perry Mason film wrapped up in December of 1936 and her last paycheck was ready as soon as the cameras stopped rolling. Talk about not letting the door hit you on the way out.
‘G’ Men has aired a number of times on TCM and I have discussed it previously. Just a quick recap: Cagney and Ann are great together, but do not share enough screen time, her song and dance number is a lot of fun, and her death scene is magnificent.