DVDless Dvorak Films, Part 2: Crooner

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 20

As a whole, Crooner is a fun film. Mind you, it’s no Duck Soup or Animal Crackers, but this quickie programmer about a bandleader who turns into a diva once he discovers that singing through a megaphone makes the ladies swoon, is definitely worth watching. However, when it comes to Ann Dvorak, it falls into the “What Were You Thinking Warner Bros?” category.

After strong appearances in The Crowd Roars and The Strange Love of Molly Louvain, Warner Bros. downgraded her screen time with Love is a Racket followed by the thankless Stranger in Town. The studio altered its course by casting her as the sassy Nordie Lord in Cabin in the Cotton, but abruptly changed their minds and gave it to Bette Davis. Instead, Ann got Crooner which meant another routine leading lady role opposite her Stranger in Towncostar, David Manners.

Judy in Crooner does have some spunk and Ann gets to give Manners a well-deserved tongue-lashing after his ego has gotten out of hand, but it’s still a fairly thankless role that many Warner contract actresses could have stepped into. Despite its shortcomings as a decent role for Ann, I’d still like to see it available.

Likelihood of a DVD Release: I think it’s a possibility from the Warner Archive. A decent print is around and has been screened on TCM, so fingers crossed.


  1. DickP January 20, 2013

    Yes, I think the scene near the end where Ann gives Manners the tongue lashing, calling him “a born four flusher” is good. She makes it look and sound real; (although I’ll bet most of your female fans will say they wouldn’t know how to play the scene). But you’re right; the movie was just another programmer that could have been much better if the writing and directing had been there. Of course, in those days the studios were mainly interested in keeping the pipeline to the theaters full (and lucrative). Still, they were always looking for that person with extra “star” qualities to make their “A” pictures more appealing, and that’s something that Ann could have provided, at least I think so. But the reality of the times was that how you performed on screen was quite important of course; however, so too did your “performance” off screen. When you call Ann a “Rebel”, I suspect you’re very close to the truth regarding the roles she received at times… Just speculating..

  2. artman2112 January 21, 2013

    and still yet another i have sitting here on dvd that i have yet to view…you must be getting tired of reading this from me!

  3. admin January 21, 2013

    I am just happy to have you and Dick commenting, so at least I know someone is reading these posts!

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