A Steady Digression to a Fixed Point
A major star of the legitimate stage and one of the leading ladies from the early years of the sound film, Rose Hobart has enjoyed a rich and varied career. In the 1920's, she was a protege of Eva Le Gallienne, with whom she had an early and misunderstood friendship. She played opposite Noel Coward in The Vortex and starred in the original stage production of Death Takes a Holiday.
In 1930, Hobart came to Hollywood, making her screen debut under the direction of Frank Borzage in Liliom. She was selected by Rouben Mamoulian to co-star opposite Fredric March in his legendary 1932 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Unhappy in Los Angeles, Hobart returned to New York, but after various misadventures and a renewal of her stage career, she came back to the screen as a character actress. Between 1939 and 1949, she was seen in more than twenty features, including Tower of London with Basil Rathbone and Susan and God with Joan Crawford. During the Second World War, the actress toured with the USO in the Aleutians.
A Steady Digression to a Fixed Point is a frank and unabashed autobiography, peppered with the famous names of Broadway and Hollywood, but highly personal in its discussion of three failed marriages. Hobart writes with obvious pleasure of her birth into a family of musicians, her childhood summers in Woodstock, N.Y., and the beginnings of her theatrical career in Chautauqua. With an extraordinary lack of bitterness, she ends her story with the grim reality of being blacklisted.
Rose Hobart is perhaps the only Hollywood star to be immortalized in a modern work of art, the avant-garde short by filmmaker and artist Joseph Cornell, named in her honor and based on footage from her 1931 film, East of Borneo. Readers of her autobiography will be as mesmerized by Rose Hobart as was Joseph Cornell more than fifty years ago.
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