Kay Francis - I Can't Wait to be Forgotten
Available from BearManor Media
"Best Of 2006"
Classic Images (December 2006) listed Kay Francis - I Can't Wait to be Forgotten among the "Best Books" for 2006. Book reviewer Laura Wagner, who reviews over 50 film related books each year for the publication, wrote:
"O'Brien has a way with words as he beautifully examines Kay's films. He treats her private life with respect, without shying away from some unpleasantries. He skillfully uses Kay's own diary to paint a picture of an independent woman ahead of her time."
Review of Kay Francis - I Can't Wait to be Forgotten
Book Points - Review by Laura Wagner (July 2006)
Scott O'Brien, whose writing is almost poetic, adores Kay and her movies. That is, he realizes some of her films are stinko (Playgirl, When the Dalton's Rode, Women Are Like That), but he finds something good to say amid the bad. I don't normally enjoy reading plots written out in detail ... Yet, O'Brien has a way about him, and his words vividly express how he feels about Kay's performances. His comments are often lively and he uses film dialogue to great advantage. You want to see the movies after he expressively describes them. Some might call this a book written by a fan, and to an extent that is true. O'Brien, however, sees Kay's faults and balances his remarks when it comes to her personal life. Kay is given ... respect in O'Brien's book ... Nowhere is this more evident than in the closing chapters. After Kay's film career, she appeared on the stage and finally retired. O'Brien interviewed a friend of Kay's, Jetti Ames, and paints a beautiful and often complex portrait of her last years.
Friday, December 14, 2007
SO FEW PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY'LL DO
I meet lots of people who tell me they have a book idea or that they're writing a book or a book proposal, but few people ever go beyond the old "half a page of scribbled lines" that Pink Floyd talks about. Even if they do, they rarely have the talent and the relentlessness required to actually get published.
So far only two people who've told me they wanted to write a book actually did. One was a university lecturer and the other is Scott O'Brien.
I met Scott about nine or ten years ago, when I was researching my first book. Someone put me in touch with him because he had an extensive collection of Kay Francis films on video. He was also, clearly, an expert on Kay Francis and, according his account -- this part I don't remember -- I told him he should write a book. However, I didn't think he ever would for two reasons: 1) Few people do what they say they're going to do, even if they really, really want to; and 2) The market for a book on Kay Francis struck me as fairly non-existent. I thought there SHOULD be a book on Kay Francis, but I wasn't sure that such a book could ever be published.
Well, he's done it, and it's good: Extensively researched, considered, well-written. He talked to everybody. He nailed down facts (such as her real birthday: She was actually younger than some books have said), and he did right by his subject.
Kay Francis was an actress who said she couldn't wait to be forgotten, but she doesn't deserve to be forgotten, and thanks to Turner Classic Movies her films have found a new audience. She was one of the great pre-Code women, and if you're curious about her, Scott O'Brien has written the book that has everything you want to know.
For an overview of Kay's life and career read the following Turner Classic Movie blog interview:
Kayriffic: Biographer Scott O'Brien on Kay Francis - An interview with Moira Finney - September 4, 2008
Since TCM has chosen to honor Kay Francis as the Star of the Month in September, I thought that this might be a good time to have a chat with Kay's biographer, Scott O'Brien, the author of Kay Francis: "I Can't Wait To Be Forgotten" (BearManor Media).
In this thoroughly researched and nimbly written homage, Scott O'Brien, chronicles her films, her adventures, her later career on stage and long years in retirement. Drawing on years of research and the actress' revelatory diaries, (which were written in a form of shorthand, and only relatively recently deciphered by scholars at Wesleyan University ), Mr. O'Brien succeeded in bringing this complex woman to life on the page.
To read the complete article click here: