“A Life of Her Own” on DVD

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 149

Life of Her Own

I have spent years extolling the virtues of Ann’s abbreviated performance in A Life of Her Own. Now you can see for yourself, courtesy of the Warner Archive. The 1950 M-G-M melodrama starring Lana Turner and directed by George Cukor came at the end of Ann’s career, and is arguably the one she deserved an Oscar nod for. She clocks in at around 10 minutes of screen time, but dominates the entire film as a washed-up fashion model who serves as an omen for Lana who is the new kid on the block. Unfortunately, Ann exits the movie via a high-rise window pretty early on, and you may spend the rest of the movie hoping she survived the fall. I know that’s what I thought the one time I sat through the entire thing back in 1997.

A Life of Her Own really drives home just how powerful Ann could be onscreen when she had a director of Cukor’s caliber. However, the movie fell flat at the box office, and Cukor himself hated it, so Ann’s performance did not garner the attention it should have at the time. $18.95 may seem like a high price for 10 watchable minutes of a film, but Ann’s performance is so good that I think it’s worth paying $1.90 a minute to watch it.

4 Comments

  1. Mike May 29, 2013

    This nifty poster suggests you’re about to see a film noir rather than a drab soap opera. It was a troubled production from the start, with Cukor lacking enthusiasm for the project, the firing of the original lead actor (Wendell Corey), and the general upheaval going on at MGM at the time with the ouster of Louis Mayer. Also, having the competent at best Lana Turner in the lead role certainly didn’t help. Along with June Allyson and Jeannette McDonald, my least favorite MGM “star” actress.

  2. admin May 29, 2013

    But, damn-hell Ann is magnificent! I agree about the rest though.

  3. Mike May 30, 2013

    Maybe if Ann had been under contract to Metro at the time they would have promoted her for an Oscar nomination. I trust that the reasons she was more or less a free lance after the Warner years will be discussed in the bio. I still get angry that actresses of lesser talent had all these career chances, while someone like Ann languished in supporting roles or programmers.

  4. admin May 30, 2013

    After Warner Bros., Ann was freelance by choice. The path her career took was largely because of her own choices, but you can read all about that in the book!

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