23 July 2013 | warrenk-2
Another chance to see Ann Dvorak
"Cafe Hostess" seemed promising because of its star, Ann Dvorak, an intriguing actress whom Hollywood didn't seem to know what to do with. The film begins stylistically but immediately slows down. It's not until about midway that the drama engaged me mainly because it gives Dvorak something to do other than schmooze with potential johns while picking their pockets. Preston Foster's romantic lead performance is good even though his character is poorly written, presenting him more as a romantic ideal than a real person. I was waiting for a surprise about him that didn't happen. Wynne Gibson is fine as an aging "hostess" even though the script telegraphs early on how she will save the day. Douglas Fowley as the misogynistic gangster is properly menacing and despicable, an interesting surprise since he played the comical, exasperated film director in "Singin' in the Rain" twelve years later. I saw this film as part of a Noir festival at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque.