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Thursday, August 06, 2015

a 30's B From RKO Stables ...


Ann Dvorak Plays The Horses in Racing Lady (1937)

Ann Dvorak is a fresh-off-farm and unkissed daughter of horse trainer Harry Carey --- this in several years wake of precode scorchers Three On A Match and Scarface? How soon they'd forgot, or maybe they hadn't, thus Racing Lady's nowhere placement among Dvorak's oeuvre. Such was RKO Coventry to which she was banished after causing grief at Warners. What a shame, for I maintain AD would have made a better Bette Davis than Bette Davis. Imagine her as First Lady for WB, dynamic like Davis and sexy unlike Davis. It could have been a great run. As things worked out (or didn't, by Dvorak's measure), B's like Racing Lady would be her future and fate, along with good character work in occasional A's. Nothing's wrong with Racing Lady, as how much can go amiss in 59 minutes? The horse flesh is attractive --- folks liked equine yarns then --- and what goes on in servant quarters engages, what with Hattie McDaniel, Willie Best and others getting lots more to do than was customary for domestics or sidekicks they'd generally play. I wonder if Selznick, checking out Hattie's fine dramatic work here, was inspired to GWTW-cast her as result. There's also good use of Berton Churchill as a benign racing tout, this fine old trouper adept enough with comedy to make us regret his not doing more of it. Lastly, there is oddity of Smith Ballew, initially a singer off radio who went from Racing Lady to warbling in Sol Lesser westerns.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

Misused and miscast almost as often as her name was mispronounced, Ms. Dvorak was never less than fascinating, even in the lowliest B. Have not caught this one, will have to track 'er down! Just saw MURDER IN THE CLOUDS and was amazed how much she brings to a run-of-the mill-girlfriend part.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Mike Cline said...

I'd rather watch Dvorak than Davis or Crawford, and most certainly Garbo, any day.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

She might have made an interesting Scarlett O'Hara.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Or Belle Watling!

5:21 PM  

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