Hank & Jim by Scott Eyman is…… Sleek & Slim*

Hank & Jim is an enthralling double biography by Scott Eyman, author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, and co-author with actor Robert Wagner on three books, the latest which is I Loved Her In The Movies. Eyman has crafted an entertaining history of unlikely friends who were brought together by the theatre and who further cemented their camaraderie while exploring their expertise as film actors. While Stewart was laid back in his approach to acting and life, Fonda fought to avoid being laid bare and revealing his innermost emotions.

Agent turned producer Leland Hayward, Life photographer John Swope (husband of Fonda protégé Dorothy McGuire), and director Josh Logan all became close friends of Hank & Jim during their salad days in the University Players, “a bunch of stagestruck kids from the Ivy League and Seven Sisters.” Stewart’s and Fonda’s eventual gravitation to Hollywood led them to careers they never envisioned and their existences before World War II in California, like their pre-war films, had galvanized an established profession for both of them. When Stewart and Fonda returned home after the war, each had been deeply affected personally and professionally. Eyman successfully chronicles their twin journeys through the vagaries of Hollywood and the studio system, their personal lives, and professional successes and failures with an even-handed approach to fleshing out the demons and delights of both actor’s experiences.

Exploring the details of such a high profile closeness of two popular figures while meshing details and interviews reveals the author’s adept planning and execution of such an in-depth study. Eyman’s outline for his double biography might have taken a page from the latest October Psychology Today article entitled, “7 Traits of True Friendship” as he explores all aspects of successful friendship and applies the strictures to Fonda and Stewart. Empathy, selflessness, trustworthiness, interest-sharing, differing perspectives, humorousness, and being a team player illuminate all aspects of Hank &  Jim. They worked on hobbies together, they both loved gardening and talking about gardening, they socialized together, and they both had penchants for elaborate practical jokes. Even though Stewart was a Republican, and Fonda a liberal Democrat, the two loners both agreed to disagree and not explore politics in polite or formal conversation.

Actress Margaret Sullavan…

One of the most interesting aspects of Hank &  Jim is the specter of actress Margaret Sullavan who married Fonda, then Hayward, but also captured the hearts of Stewart and Swope. Her allure seems to light up passages of the book like her spirit must have engaged the men who adored her.

The Thursday Night Beer Club…

With comments from Kelly Stewart Harcourt, Jane Fonda, Brooke Hayward, Peter Fonda, Mark Swope, Burgess Meredith and other insiders, the lively times and loving bond between Hank & Jim make it worth a couple of lazy afternoons. Enjoying a lovely sunset after reading the last page of any good book would be something Hank and Jim would relish.

*Hank & Jim: Sleek & Slim- The writing is smooth and inviting, but the stories are so fascinating, readers will just want more. Plus, they sound perfect for their nicknames, like comments Barbara Stanwyck might have made…

Resources for more reading…

The Retro Set-
More about the Fonda/Stewart buddyship : http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

Psychology Today-7 Traits of True Friendship: http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

“Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda’s friendship”: A valuable lesson for a divided nation:  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/01/jimmy-stewart-and-henry-fondas-friendship-valuable-lesson-for-divided-nation.html

Leonard Maltin reviews Hank & Jim: http://leonardmaltin.com/close-up-on-henry-fonda-and-james-stewart/

Where to purchase this book: https://www.amazon.com/Hank-Jim-Fifty-Year-Friendship-Stewart/dp/1501102176

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The new documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, had its Texas premiere at the Dallas Docfest, held this weekend from Thursday, October 5, to Sunday, October 8, at the Studio Movie Grill. Director Alexandra Dean attended the screening and participated in a Q & A before the film on Friday evening at 7 p.m.

Bart Weiss, artistic director of VideoFest 30, and DocFest, Publicist Kelly Kitchens Wickersham, and an eager festival fan…

The 16 inspiring features included in this year’s Docfest, according to artistic director Bart Weiss, “has characters that –through strength, fortitude, and often humor-show by example a path to live during difficult times. While the issues and localities are dispersed all over the world, the persistence of each subject is matched by that of each filmmaker to document and shed light on and shape each subject.“ Weiss’s comments certainly exemplify the lengthy process by which director Alexandra Dean shaped her film, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

Several years of research and preparation has made the Lamarr narrative reverberate with sympathy, humor, and determination. Lamarr was often labeled the world’s most beautiful woman, but she also was a secret inventor whose idea of “frequency hopping’ provided a way to develop and revolutionize mobile communications all over the world. Her work directly led to the creation of secure communications for wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and Wifi technology, but in several ways, her beauty often derailed the results of her efforts.

Dean deftly and doggedly pursued interviews with Lamarr’s son and daughter, and grandchildren, as well as garnering the final onscreen interview that popular Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne gave in order to honor his close friend, Hedy Lamarr. During the fascinating Q & A after the film, Dean revealed how much effort went in to revealing, explaining, and highlighting Lamarr’s detailed invention. Working with graphic artists to create visual renderings of Lamarr’s work took collaborators through several versions of the final visual interpretations seen during the film, but make the description of her inventive process easy for the unscientific audience member to understand. Dean’s determined manner and focused approach forced her to modify and restructure the narrative of her documentary several times until the final product became a more complete rendering of the true character and amazing accomplishments of an actress who was also a genius.

Director Alexandra Dean visits with a fan after the 7 p.m. screening….

Lamarr’s father, her muse and inspiration throughout her life, imbued her with an interest in invention and engineering, and as Lamarr admits during one of her taped interviews, chemistry was her favorite subject in high school.

Dean enjoys documentary filmmaking because she was trained as an investigative journalist, and she loves the treasure hunt and finding the wonderful pieces of archives that no one has seen before. Sometimes they shock even you. The beauty of history is really when you find that piece of primary research that no one has ever seen before. What we were so lucky with during the making of Bombshell is that we found these tapes that no one had ever heard before. That is what her story is based on. Hedy Lamarr is telling her story in her own words that the public had never heard before. That’s what fuels the work for me-trying to do something that no one has ever done before because nobody has found it.

Dean was happy to be in Dallas, Texas, for the very first time….

First stop for Director Alexandra Dean and adorable husband Chris, who live in New York City, was a BBQ feast with Publicist Kelly Wickersham, husband Mark, and yours truly at Pappas’ restaurant near the Studio Movie Grill prior to the screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story… Chris works for the BBC and one of his pet projects is the Brit Box…

(All photos by Christy)




Hedy Lamarr in Houston: http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2012/02/when-hedy-lamarr-called-houston-home/
BritBox: https://www.britbox.com
Reframed Pictures: http://www.reframedpictures.com
Bombshell Review-The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-997292