Ann DvorakHollywood's Forgotten Rebel

Ann DvorakHollywood's Forgotten Rebel

Christina Rice

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780813144269

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Abstract

Ann Dvorak may not have been the best-known actress of Hollywood’s golden age, but she certainly made her mark. She blazed onto screens in 1932 as Paul Muni’s doomed sister in Scarface, and seemed poised for stardom as a darling of the daring pre-Code era. However, poor business decisions, studio battles with Warner Bros., extended absences, and overbearing husbands torpedoed Ann’s chances of rising to the heights within the structure of the Hollywood studio system like contemporaries Bette Davis and Jean Harlow. Dvorak sued Warner Bros. to get out of her long-term contract, inspiring Davis and James Cagney to follow in her footsteps with their similar, and more well-known cases. Just as her freelance career began gaining steam, she instead choose to literally fly into a war zone, becoming a correspondent and London ambulance driver during World War II. After the war, Dvorak’s career limped along into the early 1950s, as she gave bright performances in generally dim films, then abruptly opted for retirement, and obscurity, in Hawaii. Now, for the first time, the fascinating life and career of Ann Dvorak is explored by Christina Rice, who presents an in-depth look at this complicated woman who briefly took Hollywood by storm but seemed determined to throw away success with both hands and instead became Hollywood’s forgotten rebel.