The Private Affairs of Bel Ami is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on August 19th at 9:30pm PST.
For those of you still checking this site every now and then and haven’t seen The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, I hope you land on this post before it airs tonight! It’s probably my favorite post-War Ann Dvorak film, and who can resist a title that stars George Sanders and Angela Lansbury? Ann looks absolutely stunning in the period costumes, and it’s one of her more understated roles. Her performance as Madeleine is the polar opposite of what many have come to expect from Ann, which goes to show just how versatile she could be as an actress.
The above portrait from my collection (sorry for the glare-filled iPhone pic) is from Bel Ami with an inscription that reads, “For Norma- The lady who made me look like ‘Madeleine’ – Best of everything always, Ann.” Norma Koch was the costume designer for Bel Ami and would later win an Academy Award for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. This is an item I totally forgot about and recently found in a closet. I know. But, it now has a place of honor on the piano, because it really is an amazing piece.
Sorry for being MIA lately. I’ve been doing weird things like writing My Little Pony comic books and leading a Girl Scout Troop, along with the full-time job so my time for updates here has been rather nonexistent these days.
Enjoy Bel Ami!
Now that we’re almost THREE years removed from the release of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel (can you believe it?), the Dvorak news in these parts has been admittedly sparse. Thanks to Turner Classic Movies, we are rounding out the month with some major Ann-D action.
Dr. Socrates (Warner Bros, 1935) – Thursday, October 20th at 2:30pm PST
This is one worth setting the DVR for as it doesn’t get that much play and has never received any sort of home market release. The film is enjoyable enough with Paul Muni as a small town doctor and Ann as a dreamy drifter who inadvertently get caught up in some gangster nonsense. No, you’re not going to find the live wire sparks that the pair shared in Scarface, but they have good chemistry and clearly enjoy working together. Dr. Socrates is a bit higher budget than Ann’s usual Warner fare, and enjoys the Dvorak rarity of a well composed close-up.
‘G’ Men (Warner Bros, 1935) – Tuesday, October 25th, at 3:30pm PST
‘G’ Men has been readily available for years, but since it stars James Cagney, it’s easy to watch over and over again. This time, he’s on the right side of the law but is just as charming as ever. Ann’s role is a supporting one, but she makes it extremely memorable and is given more to sink her teeth into than Margaret Lindsay, who is the main leading lady. This is the third Ann Dvorak movie I ever saw (following Three on a Match and Scarface) and was the performance that finally made me an official Dvorak devotee.
Three on a Match (Warner Bros/First National, 1932) – Thursday, October 27th at 6:45am PST
I have extolled the virtues of Three on a Match many, many, many times on this site, which you can revisit here if you’d like. I’ll just say that if it weren’t for this pre-Code gem, this website would possibly not exist and neither would the biography.
Bright Lights (Warner Bros/First National, 1935) – Friday, October 28th at 9:15am PST
Bright Lights is another title that has yet to have any sort of home market release. It’s not a deep film, but I personally love it because Ann and co-star Joe E. Brown have great chemistry and are a lot of fun to watch together. If you need something to lighten your mood during the homestretch of this election season, then Bright Lights should do it.
That’s it for now. I’ve actually managed to acquire some nice Ann Dvorak pieces this year, so if I can get my act in gear I’ll share some of them in the near future.
Crooner is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, January 21st at 8:15am PST
We Who are About to Die is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, January 21st at 3:15pm PST.
All you Dvorak fans are in for a treat tomorrow – TWO movies featuring our divine Ann-D! It’s not exactly a double feature since they are being aired seven hours apart, but we’ll take it!
First up is Crooner which has aired a couple of times over the last few years, but has yet to receive a Warner Archive release. If you have not caught this one before, it’s certainly worth the time. It is a light film that pokes fun at the popular crooners of the day. Ann’s role is minuscule and she is certainly wasted, but when she’s on screen, she is her delightful self and she does enjoy one great scene where she gets to rip David Manners a new one (he totally has it coming).
Next is We Who are About to Die, which Ann did at RKO in late 1936. Ann was loaned out to the studio by Warner Bros. following her long-term suspension and court case against her home studio. As with many of Ann’s films in the latter half of the 1930s, she does not have a whole lot to do, but the film itself is an interesting commentary on capital punishment and well worth watching. Plus, I don’t have any record of this one having aired in the last nine years, so don’t miss it if you have any interest!
Special thanks to Dvorak devotee Dick, who is a regular over here at Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, for the heads up.
I woke up this morning, and did what I normally do – check email, check Facebook, check Twitter… and saw in my Twitter feed that Sweet Music aired early today on TCM. I did know about it. I meant to post about it. I failed to put it on my calendar. This is the kiss of death for any time sensitive task in my life these days. For those of you who actually rely on me for all your Ann Dvorak scheduling needs, I do apologize as Sweet Music is not shown too terribly often and has not received an official release yet. It’s not my favorite Dvorak title, but it is one of her higher budget Warner Bros. films, and she fought hard to be in it.
I have actually launched into a new large film-related project. I am not quite ready to announce it yet, but paired with my librarian, mom, wife, and My Little Pony obligations, Ann Dvorak has been pushed aside ever so slightly. I don’t want to neglect Ann completely, so right now I will take the opportunity to point out:
Side Streets has very little Ann in it, but Aline MacMahon is delightful and this is a quirky and enjoyable flick.
It looks like Ann is also on the TCM horizon for December and January, so I will be sure to put those on the calendar so as to prevent them from leaking out of my chaotic brain.
Three on a Match is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, October 15th at 4:15am PST.
You haven’t seen Three on a Match you say? Boy, have you been missing out! I remember my first time watching this film in the mid-1990s, which was also the first time I encountered Ann Dvorak. I’m not sure how you’ll react to it, but I was balled over by this little pre-Code gem and ended up watching the film twice in a row on my VCR. From there, I started collecting Ann Dvorak memorabilia, launched this website, obsessively researched Ann’s life, got married at her San Fernando Valley ranch house, and ultimately published her biography. If you haven’t seen this film, I do recommend it – though it may send your life on a major unintended (but marvelous) tangent.
Consider yourself warned, and enjoy the film!
I Was an American Spy is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, April 9th at 2pm PST.
If you’ve never seen I Was an American Spy, there’s a couple of things it has going for it. It’s one of the few films where Ann Dvorak is the star of the picture and it’s seldom shown on Turner Classic Movies. It was an Allied Artists production, which means it was on the lower budget side, but it’s still enjoyable enough. How can one not like a film that has this much Ann in it?
Case of the Stuttering Bishop is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, March 26th at 3:30pm PST
Not traveling to Hollywood for the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival? That’s ok because you can spend your afternoon with Ann Dvorak and Perry Mason! Case of the Stuttering Bishop pairs up Donald Woods as the beloved lawyer and Ann as his trusty assistant Della Street. It’s the only time Ann assumed the role, but she’s fun to watch and gives good banter. This one doesn’t get shown on TCM too often, so it’s worth checking out.
Also of note is that this was Ann Dvorak’s last film under her Warner Bros. contract. By the end of 1936, Jack Warner was so anxious to get rid of her, mainly due to a lawsuit against the studio that had dragged on for a good part of the year, that her last paycheck was ready and waiting when shooting on the film wrapped. Oh Ann!
Crooner is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, March 6th at 5:30am PST.
Crooner is a fun little film. True, it’s not earth shattering, Ann is underutilized, and the ending is a bit unsatisfying, but it’s still watchable. Plus, it’s not yet available on DVD, so if you’ve had an interest check it out!
Scarface is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Sunday, October 5th at 7:00am EST
If you have not caught Scarface during one of the many viewings on TCM this year, what are you waiting for??
Scarface is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, September 26 at 5pmPST
Scarface has gotten quite a bit of play on Turner Classic Movies this year and has also been discussed numerous times on this blog over the years. Bottom line: If you have not yet seen it, watch it! Scarface is arguably Ann Dvorak’s most important role and her best film, and you will get no arguments from me on those two points. Throw in flawless directing by Howard Hawks, Paul Muni’s over-the-top but enjoyable performance, George Raft’s iconic coin flipping, Karen Morley’s angry eyebrow plucking, and Boris Karloff being his adorable self and how could you possibly go wrong?