Get Your Ann Dvorak on in July With Turner Classic Movies

July has shaped up to be a big month for Ann Dvorak over at Turner Classic movies where they will be airing not one, not two, not three, not four – but FIVE of her films. It’s not often that we’re treated to such a nice dose of Dvorak, so squeeze these in if you can!

A Life of Her Own – Monday, July 7, 5:15am PST

Ann’s screen time may be limited in this one, but she tears it up as a washed-up fashion model trying to come to terms with aging – and failing miserably.

Midnight Court – Tuesday, July 8, 4:45am PST

Ann doesn’t have to much to do as a court reporter/ex-wife of lawyer John Litel, but she does get to wear the fabulous Fish Dress, which I never get tired of talking about.

Scarface – Thursday, July 17, 9:00pm PST

If you’ve never seen Ann’s credited screen debut, then do yourself a favor and make time for this one. Not only is Ann positively riveting as the doomed Cesca Camonte, but the film as a whole is pretty damn good! I kind of love that TCM is following this screening with one of the 1983 remake with Al Pacino.  It’s the first time I’m aware of a Scarface double feature.

Stronger Than Desire, Thursday, July 24, 3:30pm PST

Husband Leslie Fenton received the chance to direct Ann in this MGM drama starring Walter Pidgeon and Virginia Bruce. Ann’s role is small, but she never looked more beautiful and her courtroom breakdown is worth the price of admission.

Bright Lights, Monday, July 28, 1:00pm PST

Ann and co-star Joe E. Brown make a believable husband and wife in this light comedy directed by Busby Berkeley.

Whew! That’s a lot of Dvorak (which is not a bad thing), so enjoy!


  1. L. Lamont Humbracht July 7, 2014

    Caught this mornings showing of “No Life of Her Own” on TCM.had heard much of Miss Dvorak in past, never really watched her in any thing. However, this morning I was blow away by her in this movie. What a face, figure, and talent. Man, she stole every scene (few tho they were) that she was in. Plan to view the rest of them scheduled this month, and think I have a new passion. Don’t know how I could have not discovered her before, but am delighted to be counted as her fan now. Plan to read your bio of her ASAP..

  2. admin July 7, 2014

    “A Life of Her Own” is a great introduction to Ann and you would not be the first to become riveted at first site! Definitely catch “Scarface” if you can, and hunt down a copy of “Three on a Match” which is my personal favorite.

    Welcome to the club!

  3. mike July 9, 2014

    ah, you changed your adjective to describe the fish dress from hideous to fabulous; I’d like to think I had at least a little to do with that. I dvr’ed and watched “Midnight Court” again last nite; that party scene where she’s wearing it is probably the highlight of the film. It stinks watching Ann wrap up her Warner’s career in these programmers.

    Thanks again to TCM; more good stuff on the way in August, too.

  4. admin July 9, 2014

    That is most definitely an ironic use of fabulous. It’s ghastly and always will be. 😀

  5. JV July 9, 2014

    That courtroom scene from Desire is one of the finest pieces of acting I’ve ever seen.

  6. admin July 9, 2014

    I agree, she is heartbreakingly wonderful in that courtroom scene!

  7. Scott July 17, 2014

    Arrrgh!Missed “A Life Of Her Own” and “Midnight Court”. (No Fabulous Fish Dress for me!) But I plan to be there for “Scarface” night this evening. At least the Dvorak-Muni version. “Pretty damn good”, indeed.

    If you’re planning on watching the 1983 DePalma/Pacino version, here is a bit of trivia — according to the IMDb the body count in the film is 42 and the number of ‘f-bombs’ heard throughout is 226!

  8. admin July 17, 2014

    The Hawks version has a fraction of that body count and no f-bombs but is considerably more chilling if you ask me!

  9. mike July 18, 2014

    I like Hawks’ version better too, though the remake has acquired one of those rabid cult followings. Enjoyed watching again last night; our gal is so hot and sexy throughout, while displaying some excellent acting chops. You could almost forgive brother Tony for those, uh, unhealthy feelings toward her!

    Stronger Than Desire next week. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it, it’ll be like a first viewing.

  10. admin July 18, 2014

    I keep hoping that the rabid cult following of the ’83 version will one day translate into action figures of the ’32 cast. I WANT AN ANN DVORAK ACTION FIGURE!

  11. Scott July 19, 2014

    Looks like we all three agree on 1932 “Scarface” being superior to 1983 “Scarface”. Ann/Cesca’s ‘shimmy’ dance for George Raft/Rinaldo registered a seismic ‘wowsa!’ And a half.

    And the ’83 version had no Karen Morley. As mentioned previously, her portrayal of ‘Poppy’ in this gets better with each viewing.

    There’s been debate over the years as to whether ’32 “Scarface” actually did contain an unbilled Jean Harlow cameo. Was on the lookout for it during this viewing. If it wasn’t her who passes Tony at that party, it sure was a remarkable likeness.

  12. mike July 20, 2014

    Yeah, it certainly appeared to be Jean Harlow.

    How about an Ann Dvorak as Cesca bobblehead?

  13. admin July 20, 2014

    I have a strong aversion to bobble heads, though I guess beggars can’t be choosers. 😀

  14. Scott July 24, 2014

    You were so right — AD never did look more beautiful than in “Stronger Than Desire”. And stole the picture in her courtroom breakdown scene.

    The all-male jury was notable. How could they convict the beautiful Eva/Ann? Of course, they couldn’t!

    LF, as director, kept things moving pretty well.

    Did John Hamilton — later of ‘Perry White’ fame in the “Adventures of Superman” television series — ever play anything other than a judge in 1930’s and 40’s films?

    Loved the inclusion of fast-talking Richard Lane in support.

    A small role, but a good one, for Ann.

  15. admin July 24, 2014

    Unfortunately, strong performance in a small role is a dominant theme of Ann’s career.

  16. mike July 24, 2014

    A really good supporting cast; I also enjoyed catching brief glimpses of Louis Jean Heydt and a mustachioed Reed Hadley (I recognized the voice immediately being a fan of those Fox noirs) among others. Rita Johnson, like Ann, is a truly underappreciated actress; I particularly love her work in “They Won’t Believe Me” and “The Big Clock”.

    The storyline was preposterous, but what can you expect from a “B” production, even if at MGM. Ann certainly looked beautiful here; did the studio ever consider offering her a contract?

  17. admin July 24, 2014

    Well, she was under contract to them from 1929-31 but they didn’t do much with her. By the time “Stronger Than Desire” came out, she was so done with studio contracts that even if MGM were interested, I doubt she would have signed anything.

  18. mike July 25, 2014

    yeah, right, she was under MGM contract very early on. And her Warner experience soured her on similar future entanglements. And it’s likely if she had reupped with MGM at this stage of her career, she would have been relegated to parts like this. Until reviewing the applicable pages of HFR, I had forgotten that “Stranger” was a remake of the Powell/Loy film “Evelyn Prentice”. I guess Warner Brothers wasn’t the only studio notorious for doing this back in the day. Another Ann MGM film that TCM ran just a few months back and I think escaped mention here is that O’Malley & Malone thing. No big loss; certainly among the least interesting films of her career. Though, as always, she looked terrific in it.

  19. admin July 25, 2014

    To be honest, I had forgotten any mention of “Evelyn Prentice!” You just impressed me with my own research!

    Yeah, I did forget to post about OMM which is not a personal favorite.

  20. Scott July 27, 2014

    Looks like the Monday afternoon showing of “Bright Lights” has been scratched by TCM as part of a day long tribute to the late James Garner.

  21. admin July 28, 2014

    Hadn’t caught that. Thanks!

  22. mike July 29, 2014

    A tad disappointed when I went to view last nite; had dvr’ed about a week earlier. Instead watched a couple of early Cagney films I’d recorded a few days back, including “Lady Killer” with 4th billed Leslie Fenton. A highly entertaining mix of gangster film/comedy/Hollywood spoof. Leslie plays itchy trigger finger Duke, a member of Jimmy’s gang. At one point, Jim remarks (of Duke) look at him, he’s shakin like a hophead. Also co-stars Mae Clarke from “Public Enemy”. This time, in a great scene, he drags her by the hair out of the bedroom and thru the living room of his apartment, and flings her out the door. Better to have a grapefruit smashed in your face!

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