NEW! Read Hecht's newspaper story about an intellectual argument between Herman Rosse and silent film diva Olga Petrova. Petrovivacity .
HERMAN ROSSE IN BEN HECHT'S STORIES
Right, Rosse's drawing from "Wild Roofs" in ART & ARCHITECTURE ON 1001 AFTERNOONS IN CHICAGO. Ben Hecht and Florice Whyte Kovan. Snickersnee Press, 2002.
Hecht's story about Herman Rosse begins, "There were three men sitting on the grass in Grant park looking at Michigan avenue as it stretched itself like a ribboned and languorous cat in the afternoon sun. One of the men was a poet, another a newspaper man. And the third was Herman Rosse, head of the school of design in the Art institute"
Buy the book, in which Rosse's drawings are featured in a two-page gallery spread of six images for film and stage sets, including "The Emperor Jones," the Dutch film "Rubber" by Tobis, "Murders in the Rue Morgue," as well as his visualization of the "melting pot" machine for "King of Jazz" in 1931.
Rosse is the subject of another story by Hecht, "Petrovivacity" which is compiled in Rediscovering Ben Hecht: Selling the Celluloid Serpent. ISBN 0-9667709-3-5. This Rosse/Petrova piece could have gone into either our "art" or "silent film" compilation; but inasmuch as Rosse's debate partner was a film diva, the well-read and articulate Olga Petrova, we couldn't wait to publish it in the first volume. Our illustration for the online story includes a film still of Rosse's set for his Oscar winner, King of Jazz. Of Hecht's version of their debate on modernism and ontology, film historian Anthony Slide said in his review, "Simply put, brilliant." The book is still in print and may be purchased here.
About Rosse's drawings at the top of this page: They are both from the original 1001 Afternoons in Chicago book (Covici 1921), a stunning example of American book illustration. One is a caricature of Hecht; the other is one of his drawings of the gritty city, punctuated by a sign for the Armour meat-packing business.
Copyright Florice Whyte Kovan. All rights reserved.