Judy's Reviews > Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue: Rediscovering a 1930s Movie Star and Her 32 Films

Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue by Cliff Aliperti
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Dec 28, 2015

really liked it
Read from December 24 to 28, 2015

As a fan of pre-Code movies, I was excited at the release of this book, which traces the career of an actress who deserves to be better remembered. Author Cliff Aliperti runs the Immortal Ephemera blog, where he reviews many 1930s movies and writes detailed biographical postings on actors from the era.

This fascinating book contains a well-researched account of Helen Twelvetrees' sadly short life, together with detailed reviews of all her films. Even where a film is no longer in existence, the author has done painstaking research to give an idea of what the film was like. There are also numerous stills included from his own collection. The book is very well-written and easy to follow, and also contains many notes to refer to.

Before reading this biography, I'd seen Helen Twelvetrees opposite John Barrymore in the legal drama State's Attorney, as a prostitute rescued by a drunken lawyer who sets out to rescue him in turn. I'd also enjoyed her role in the little-known marital drama Young Bride, where she plays a lonely young librarian. I've written about both of those films at my own film blog.

I've now watched two more of her films online in between reading sections of this book, Unashamed, a powerful courtroom drama based on a real-life scandal, where Helen is cast as a glamorous heiress, and Her Man, where she is a poor prostitute eking out a living in a Cuban bar. The contrast between these two shows just what a versatile actress she was. I'm now looking forward to seeing more of the films described in this book.
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message 1: by Teresa (last edited Dec 28, 2015 03:04PM) (new)

Teresa Though the face on the cover of the book looks familiar, I don't recognize her name at all. I'll be paying more attention next time I see one of these films. Thanks, Judy.


Judy Thanks, Teresa. As a fan of the films from this era, I love to discover more about the actors whose names aren't remembered.


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