My books, whether fiction or nonfiction, often start with a mystery. In this case, I wondered what happened to Evelyn Brent’s career. How could she at one time be at the top of her game, successfully making the transition from silent to sound cinema, only to end up without a career and penniless?
As I immersed myself in the research I became impressed with her performances. She was particularly good in the two films she made with Joseph von Sternberg, The Underworld and The Last Command. In fact, when she worked with a strong director she was capable of being nuanced whether playing a gun moll or a sophisticated society woman.