“Heat Lightning” on DVD from Warner Archive
This week, the Warner Archive makes my holiday wishes come true by adding Heat Lightning to their ever-growing collection.
As I had mentioned previously, Heat Lightning is one of my favorite Ann Dvorak films. This tale of a pair of sisters running a gas station/rest stop in the middle of nowhere (it was actually filmed in Victorville) whose lives are turned upside down by their bad taste in men is classic Warner Bros Pre-Code cinema. Ann’s role is a supporting one, but her Myra, a restless youth feeling stifled by her surroundings and her protective older sister is one of the more interesting characters Dvorak played during her five years at Warner Bros. Her breakdown scene towards the end of the film is heartbreaking and truly memorable.
Of course the film really belongs to Aline MacMahon. As Olga, she is tough, brassy, and independent, but proves to be just as vulnerable as the rest of us when an old flame (and bad penny) turns up on her doorstep. Aline and Ann work beautifully together and are completely believable as sisters. It’s unfortunate that the only other time they appeared in the same film, 1934’s Side Streets, they were given little screen time together.
Directed by Mervyn Leroy (who was also responsible for Three on a Match) and featuring a strong supporting cast of familiar 1930s faces like Glenda Farrell, Lyle Talbot, Preston Foster, Frank McHugh, Ruth Donnelly, and Jane Darwell, Heat Lightning is sure to please any Pre-Code fan. Just look at that box art!
This is being advertised as a remastered print, but I am assuming this is the same one that has run on TCM the last couple of years.
Happy Holidays to me. Thanks Warner Archive!