Pre-Code Lecture and Ann Dvorak Film Screening This Saturday

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 340


Tomorrow, I am going to be giving a brief lecture on pre-Code cinema followed by a screening of an Ann Dvorak film. The program is going to be at Central Library where I work, and our licensing agreement with the studios prevents the film title or studio from being advertised. I am not sure if that agreement actually extends to this website, but I would rather not take any chances. So, I will just say that the lecture will be followed by a screening of a pre-Code gem starring Ann Dvorak, Joan Blondell, and Bette Davis as childhood friends who are reunited years later, causing Dvorak’s life to derail after she’s the third to light her cigarette on a match.

Start time is 2pm in the Taper Auditorium, and it’s FREE! Full details can be found here.


  1. Mike December 6, 2013

    Hope you have a nice turnout. I sometime think city folk take for granted all the entertaining and educational activities/events available to them.

    TCM has been airing a brief interview segment with Claire Trevor from late in her life the past few days, in anticipation of the upcoming “The Essentials” screening of “Key Largo”. I know you have spoken about envisioning Ann in the role of Gaye Dawn, and yeah, I’m sure fans agree she would have been superb in the part. I was interested to read in “HFR” that Ann had also been considered for another signature Claire character, that of femme fatale Velma in “Murder My Sweet”. All actors have missed opportunities, but it’s particularly bittersweet when it happens with a favorite perfomer.

    Dick Powell, btw, fared much better in his post WB career than Ann, huh?

  2. Scott December 6, 2013

    Among the many fascinating and interesting aspects of _____ (this particular “pre-Code gem”) was the manner in which it suggested Ann/Vivian’s cocaine use.

    I’m trying to think of another pre-Code film which also included any type of similar allusions to that drug. Is there one that readily comes to mind to you or any of our other Ann fans out there? Or was this one somewhat unique or unusual in this regard?

  3. admin December 6, 2013

    Oh yeah, I don’t particularly care for early crooning Dick Powell but think he definitely came into his own later on. All actors do have missed opportunities, but the problem with Ann is that those missed roles were usually not compensated for.

  4. admin December 6, 2013

    There must be other examples, but I honestly can’t think of any offhand, particularly showing it in such a blatant manner which I think is one of the reasons “Three on a Match” really stands out.

  5. Scott December 6, 2013

    Slightly off-topic, but while we’re on the subject of Dick Powell and since you’ll be speaking on the subject of pre-Code films tomorrow, one of the great tragedies, for us as film buffs, is the story of “Convention City”; made by Warner Brothers in 1933 with DP, Joan Blondell, Mary Astor, Guy Kibbee, Frank McHugh and Adolphe Menjou.

    Said to contain a veritable bonanza of pre-Code debauchery, lechery and drunkeness, it was banned after it’s release by the Hollywood Production Code and no prints of it exist.


    Yes, can’t believe how good Dick Powell was as Philip Marlowe in “Murder My Sweet”. Just a whole world away from his “42nd Street”/”Gold Diggers Of 1933″/”Dames” persona of a decade before.

  6. admin December 6, 2013

    Oh Convention City! The Holy Grail of pre-Code films.

  7. Mike December 6, 2013

    And let’s not forget “Cornered”, “Cry Danger” and a personal favorite – “Pitfall”, among Dick’s other post crooner roles. A young Raymond Burr was particularly nasty in that last film.

    “Murder My Sweet” was the last film of Anne Shirley, who I also remember fondly from “Stella Dallas” and “Vigil in the Night”. One of those actors/actresses who took their stage name from one of their film roles. And, of course, she played the young Vivian Revere in “Three on A Match”! Ah, it’s all just one movie.

    Maybe a copy of “Convention City” will be discovered stashed in some collector’s basement/cellar, next to a stack of rookie baseball cards of future hall of famers.

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