Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 3
When it comes to Ann Dvorak films, Three on a Match is my absolute favorite, with Scarface as a close second. However, right there at the top of the heap is Heat Lightning, a snappy pre-Code starring Aline MacMahon, Preston Foster, and featuring a who’s who of Warner Bros. contract players like Lyle Talbot, Glenda Farrell, Ruth Donnelly, and Frank McHugh.
I have been collecting Ann Dvorak memorabilia for around 15 years, and usually limit myself to photos and posters with Ann on them. However, when it comes to Heat Lightning, I’ll take anything and everything, so I was jazzed when I acquired a few lobby cards from the film, even though Ann is only on two of them. At this point, my Dvorak collection is so big that I sometimes don’t even know what I have. A couple of months back I came across of Flame of Barbary Coast 3-sheet, and don’t even remember buying it. That’s right, I own a 41″x81″ poster with John Wayne and Ann Dvorak on it, and have no memory of when/where/how I purchased it.
For other items in my collection I remember exactly when I found them. For instance, the Heat Lightning lobby cards popped up on ebay in July 2005. I was on vacation in London at the time, and remember pathologically and pathetically sitting in an Internet cafe, waiting to see if my auction snipe would yield results. There were six cards listed, and I ended up with five of them, but was outbid on one with Aline MacMahon and Preston Foster. Nearly eight years later, I am still bitter about that.
Fortunately, Heat Lightning is now readily available for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of the Warner Archive. If you love Ann Dvorak or pre-Code films, it’s not to be missed. Just don’t outbid me on those three lobby cards I don’t have, if they come up on ebay!