Monthly Archives: October 2009

Dvorak Biography Progress Report #2

It’s been a few months since Progress Report #1 and I wish I could say I have a lot of progress to report, but I really don’t. In my defense, I was sidetracked by another ongoing project, and a promotion at work causes me to usually feel like a limp noodle by the time I get home.

I have gotten a tad bit more writing done, so without further ado…

Progress Report #2

I finally finished up Chapter 4, which takes us to mid-1931. Ann is still working at MGM, but is tired of extra-work and dance instruction and wants to actually act in films. The studio has no interest in doing anything else with her, and her pal Joan Crawford can’t even get her better parts. The chapter ends on the eve of Ann landing the role of Cesca in Scarface.

Even if the writing is slow going, the research never ends. As a result of the piece I wrote for Classic Images, a gal who interviewed Ann in New York when she was starring in the Respectful Prostitute contacted me. She didn’t have a tremendous amount of info, but supplied a couple of tidbits I found very interesting. I also got in touch with a lawyer who hung out with Ann and husband #3 in the early 1960s and gave me some great insight about their relationship and Ann’s attitude toward her career at that point.

My battle cry all along had been “once I get to her Warner Bros period, the words will fly off the keyboard!” Well, I am almost there and hope this proves to be true. Thanks to everyone who has been sending me words of encouragement and making it clear that there is a market for a full-length bio of the Divine Miz D.


“Merrily We Live” on TCM

Merrily We Live is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, October 22,  at 6:15am PST.

Click here to see previous comments on Merrily We Live.

“Dr. Socrates” on TCM

Dr. Socrates is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, October 10th at 9:15 PST.

Before we have time to recover from TCM’s Thursday screening of the glorious Girls of the Road, we are treated to another dose of Ann Dvorak on Saturday night with Dr. Socrates. This 1935 drama starring Paul Muni was the second and last time Ann shared the screen with the actor.  He’s a doctor trying to make a name for himself  in a small town. She’s the hitchhiker he takes a fancy to. They inadvertently get mixed up with a bunch of gangsters and hilarity does not ensue.

This is another one of those films I have not seen in a long time, so I don’t have too much say about it other than it’s far less memorable than their first pairing in 1932’s gangster masterpiece, Scarface. Still, any Ann-D is better than no Ann-D, so enjoy!

“Girls of the Road” on TCM

Girls of the Road is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, October 8 at 11:15pm PST.

I love this film. It has everything one would expect from a movie called Girls of the Road. Yes, there’s girls and they’re on the road. They’re angry, distrustful, and hard. They get thrown in jail, turn on each other, and sometimes make bad decisions like spending money on a wedding gown instead of a train ticket out west. Lola Lane is a hard-ass, Helen Mack is weary but hopeful, and Ann Doran is kind of a hag. Ann Dvorak is their savior as the governor’s daughter who sets out to understand the plight of the female hobo by pretending to be one of them. She hits the road in a sparkling white overcoat and it’s downhill from there.

Girls of the Road was one of three films Ann made for Columbia in 1939/40 (Blind Alley and Cafe Hostess were the others). It’s only about an hour long, but packs in a lot, and who can resist lady tramps? Still not sold? Check out this endorsement on TCM’s Movie Morlocks.