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!