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The Strange Love of Ann Dvorak


slaytonf
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Taped the movie earlier today. The Strange Love of Molly Louvain, that is. Just watched it. Love these days of early thirties movies. Sometimes you find a really good one. In spite of it being Ann Dvorak, I almost erased it, when she started running off with that sop. But then I remembered, hey!, Lee Tracy is in it, too. Glad I waited until he came on. Bam! Instant chemistry. I've never seen two actors hit it off better together, not even Newman and Redford. Of course, they had some decent dialogue to recite, but they executed it like a slinky tango. No doubt there was a lot cut out from the play it was taken from to get it down to the 113 minute run-time. Too bad. It would have been nice to see them go at it a little bit longer. The ending's sappy, though. Oh well, nothing's perfect.

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I would have never looked at this except for markbeckauf's thread....I recorded it & watched it last night too.

Mark was right, it certainly was worth seeing.

 

Dvorak is gorgeous and we often see her in teddies or thin flowing robe-bonus! Gotta love those pre-codes.

I hear of Lee Tracy on these boards but that was my first introduction to him. At first I couldn't figure out what he was about....funny? slimey? adolescent? He sure comes on strong, but I loved his bit about tossing the phone. I can see why he is so beloved- what a charactor.

 

Frank McHugh was my bonus in the film.

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> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:

> }{quote}I would have never looked at this except for markbeckauf's thread....I recorded it & watched it last night too.

> Mark was right, it certainly was worth seeing.

>

> Dvorak is gorgeous and we often see her in teddies or thin flowing robe-bonus! Gotta love those pre-codes.

> Frank McHugh was my bonus in the film.

>

 

 

 

 

 

That movie has always been special to me for a unique reason:

Remember the little girl who played Ann Dvorak's daughter in the movie? I met her and became good friends with her for the final ten years of her life (she passed away in 2002). Her name was Jacquie Lyn (at least that was her movie name). Although she cried and whined rather obnoxiously in MOLLY LOUVAIN I would have to say that her peformance in the 1932 Laurel & Hardy feature PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES has got to be just about the most charming and adorable of any child ever!

 

She had been out of the movie scene and public eye since about 1933 (when she was only 5 years old) but in the early 1990's was "found" by Laurel & Hardy fans who invited her to their 1992 Convention where she got to meet fans and see how well her work was remembered and appreciated. After meeting her at that time we stayed in touch and I was able to find copies for her of most of her films that she either never had or didn't have good complete copies of (and in some cases had never even seen after completing her acting roles in them way back as a child in the early 1930's). She thought she had made only five films (the L & H feature, two Our Gang shorts, WICKED - 1931, Fox and PROSPERITY - 1932, MGM). So it was a real thrill to surprise her with a copy of MOLLY LOUVAIN back in about 1993. She had no memory or documentation at all of having made that movie.

Note: she really did have a good memory of her brief film career even though she'd have been only 3 to 4 years old at the time. For example, she told me about scenes and incidents she recalled from her first movie, WICKED (1931) involving actresses Elissa Landi and Irene Rich that turned out to be accurate when I found stills that confirmed her memories (unfortunately that was the only one of her films I was unable to find for her. I knew and still know where a print is stored but can't get a copy). Memories from her other films also turned out to be accurate.

 

Back to MOLLY LOUVIAN:

Once she saw the copy I sent her, she did recall a few things about the making of the movie and told me some interesting memories about meeting Ann Dvorak, her impressions of her, and a criticism of her own performance (I'll post those later if anyone is interested).

 

Jacquie Lyn was a very nice lady and as mentioned regarding her performance with Laurel & Hardy, a delightful child performer (given the right role!). It was a pleasure to be able to find and send her not only copies of her films but other material on her films and career. Ironically, just a few years ago I came across a seventh Jacquie Lyn movie that she didn't know about and unfortunately didn't live long enough for me to tell her about and provide her a copy.

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> {quote:title=slaytonf wrote:

> }{quote}Yes, musicalnovelty, I would be very interested in hearing about her impressions of Ann Dvorak, and Lee Tracy, too. But maybe she never met him. I don't recall any scenes they were in together, except perhaps at the end.

Okay, here's what Jacquie Lyn told me about THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN:

 

Her first meeting with Ann Dvorak must have been while Ann was filming the early scenes when she is in her undies waiting for nylons to be delivered.

Jacquie said "I do remember being introduced to Ann Dvorak before my part was filmed. My impression of her is pleasant, but not very friendly. I didn't particularly like her. She was just someone on the set, and I gather she felt the same. I do remember, though, that she must have been filming when we met, because she was wearing that teddy and gown from the first couple of scenes, and I remember thinking how rude she was to meet strangers in her underwear!"

 

About her own performance, Jacquie said:

"Dear me, was I really that stilted and priggish as a child? To see ourselves as others see us, I guess."

 

She didn't comment on Lee Tracy, so as you suggested, she may not have met him.

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Wow musicalnovelty, great story!

Funny too that every scene the child was in, I marveled at her acting ability. When the nanny was holding her and she cried, "Mommy, mommy, I want to go with my mommy" I sat there wondering just HOW did they got that kid to do that? Was the real mother just off stage?

 

That child seemed way too young to "act" or even understand acting. She was an outstanding crier. It was totally believable acting, really outstanding job.

 

How cool you met her & got to tell her. What did she do for the rest of her life? With a start like that I would have expected her to end up at the Actor's Studio.

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> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:

> }{quote}Wow musicalnovelty, great story!

> Funny too that every scene the child was in, I marveled at her acting ability. When the nanny was holding her and she cried, "Mommy, mommy, I want to go with my mommy" I sat there wondering just HOW did they got that kid to do that? Was the real mother just off stage?

>

> That child seemed way too young to "act" or even understand acting. She was an outstanding crier. It was totally believable acting, really outstanding job.

>

Thanks for putting it in perspective! I guess I just enjoy her happy roles (like the Laurel & Hardy movie) so much that it bothers me to see her acting so sad and hurt in MOLLY LOUVAIN...and doing it so believably. But as you said, that's because it was such good acting!

 

 

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Hi TikiSoo,

 

*Lee Tracy* found his character actor niche in that era, frequently cast as a studio press agent who would stoop to anything to generate and control publicity for a studio's star. (Using him in such a role was a form of industry self parody.) He played the wisecracking, street-wise good natured guy who would do any underhanded thing in order to carry out what he was hired to do. He was up on the latest slang and put downs; he laid on the both the charm and the double-cross, but it was always for the good of the star and the studio. Audiences found him amusing and endearing despite his occasional duplicity.

 

Tracy must have been quite a character off screen as well, especially when drunk. He was in Mexico on a film shoot, and reportedly urinated from a balcony onto some Mexican army troops in the street below. The incident caused his rapid departure from the country. Studio intervention was needed to save him.

 

*Ann Dvorak* was awesome. She projected a lot of "magnetism" or "it"; qualities that gave her great screen presence.

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> {quote:title=ThelmaTodd wrote:}{quote}

>

> *Lee Tracy* .... Audiences found him amusing and endearing despite his occasional duplicity.

>

 

Most movie fans I know do like Lee Tracy. But one good friend HATED him. Too much arm-waving and hand-gesturing, he thought. And he especially hated one thing Tracy sometimes did: the way he'd kick his leg back while going through a door. My friend swore that once in the 1950's he saw Tracy in some live TV program and he did that kick thing and actually kicked over the scenery!

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Ann Dvorak is really an underrated actress -- I've enjoyed her in every movie I've seen her in.

 

One recent discovery for me was THREE ON A MATCH, which is in one of the excellent TCM "Forbidden Hollywood" collections. There's something very modern about Ms. Dvorak in this movie, but she still fits the 30s setting. Quite a good movie overall.

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In another thread Three on a Match was discussed a lot. What is interesting about the movie is that Ann is the star, than Joan Blondell and than Bette Davis. Of course years latter Bette was the top actress at Warner and one of the top in the industry, and even Joan passed Ann by in terms of fame and getting parts.

 

That thread explains some of the reasons why. Don't forget Bogie is also in that movie. The movie is a very good movie but it also has a lot of historical interest.

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IT's too bad WB didnt realize what they had. They threw her in anything (kinda like Bette Davis in her early years) I've seen her in some real dogs. She got fed up and moved to England (think she got married). Came back after the war, but by then she had to make do with supporting parts......

 

 

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Tiki Soo, I'm SO glad you had a chance to watch this flick!!! I actually haven't had a chance to re-watch it yet, but it's on my DVR (hopefully!, I found another film I was looking for was not there, because my cable was out for a stretch!) to check out, but I've grooved to it before, and wow!

 

You are SO right about Ann in the pre-code flix, and as others have mentioned, she is a VERY underrated actress! I always enjoy her performances and dig her very much! And glad you enjoyed your intro to Lee Tracy, what a trip! He's defniitely one of my main men, as is the lovable Frank McHugh! What a fantabulous flick, just hitting all those right early WB notes!

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Ann Dvorak is one of a number of actors that, for a variety of reasons, didn't have careers to match their talents (Juano Hernandez, Leena Horne, and Jane Greer included). Proof of her abilty can be found in A Life of Her Own, dog of a movie, its only value being Miss Dvorak's presence. She plays a model past her prime and nearing the end of her rope. Her dialogue normally would make me cringe, but she makes it not only watchable, but moving.

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Yes. She tugged at the tearducts in a similar titled movie made around the same time. Was it Our Very Own? Where Ann Blyth searches for her real mother.......Not a great movie either, but she aces her scenes.......

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Ann Dvorak is one of a number of actors that, for a variety of reasons, didn't have careers to match their talents (Juano Hernandez, Leena Horne, and Jane Greer included).

 

That's a subject worthy of a whole separate thread, and you sure picked four very good examples to begin with. And although I kind of liked A Life of Her Own (I'll never knock a movie with Louis Calhern), I agree that in the brief time before she jumped out the window, Dvorak's role was the most compelling.

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I finally found the time to watch this film tonight. I go along with all the Ann replies. Liked her in everything I've seen whether the film was good or not so.

 

Musicalnovelty, I was very pleasantly surprised to find Jacquie Lyn in this film. Took me a bit to recall who that little kid was. Enjoyed your story. What a find to be able to be friends with her. You mentioned a seventh film she did. What was the title?

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> {quote:title=deadendkid wrote:}{quote}

>

> Musicalnovelty, I was very pleasantly surprised to find Jacquie Lyn in this film. Took me a bit to recall who that little kid was. Enjoyed your story. What a find to be able to be friends with her. You mentioned a seventh film she did. What was the title?

It's YOUNG AMERICA (Fox, April 17, 1932).

She is completely unbilled and undocumented anywhere as appearing in it. If I hadn't actually seen the movie and recognized her in it I'd still never have known she's in it.

And of course, that has to make me wonder how many other so far unseen movies from that period may she also be in that are completely undocumented and we won't know until we see them.

 

Info on YOUNG AMERICA:

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023719/fullcredits#cast

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Thanks very much! I'll be on the lookout for it. I was watching for the other Jacquie Lyn, Jackie Lynn Taylor actually, when I was abruptly staightened out. I'll bet there are other films she appeared in and didn't receive any credit. I believe it was a common practice at the time.

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> {quote:title=deadendkid wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks very much! I'll be on the lookout for it. I was watching for the other Jacquie Lyn, Jackie Lynn Taylor actually, when I was abruptly staightened out. I'll bet there are other films she appeared in and didn't receive any credit. I believe it was a common practice at the time.

Yes, Jacquie Lyn and Jackie Lynn Taylor have been mixed up by sloppy reseachers for many years...and continue to be (IMDb still has Taylor - as JacquelineTaylor) listed as Ann Dvorak's child instead of the correct Jacquie Lyn in MOLLY LOUVIAN.

 

What makes these surprise discoveries of undocumented Jacquie Lyn appearances most interesting to me is that she did have scrapbooks and some documentation on her career, which she showed me. And as I noted earlier, her memories were sharp. So I really didn't expect to discover films she made that even she didn't even know about or have any record of.

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