Saturday, October 2, 2004

"Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart"

Just came across a book entitled The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart: The Early Years (1899 - 1931), by Darwin Porter. (The book was published in 2003 by Georgia Literary Association.) This book is an account of Bogart's early life, especially his years as a Broadway and Hollywood actor. Porter claims to base much of the book on the papers of Bogart's friend, actor Kenneth MacKenna (who had a part in The American Venus), as well as interviews with various Hollywood actors of the twenties and thirties.  Despite these claims, the book has no footnotes, no noted sources, and no bibliography - just acknowledgements.
I haven't read the entire book, but only skimmed it for material on Louise Brooks, of which there is more than a few pages. The author claims to have interviewed Louise Brooks, but does not say when. (The back of the book depicts a number of actresses, including Brooks, and next to an apparent quote by Brooks, it reads "as told to the author in Rochester, NY.")
Personally, I have a hard time believing this book. It just doesn't seem to ring true. For me, the best thing about this book was its selection of images, including this portrait of Brooks.

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