After collapsing on the set of The Girl from Montmartre (1926) for the final time, Barbara retreats to Altadena, a rural community in the southern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, for an indefinite rest. Assisted financially by Paul Bern and attended by Dr. Galloway, nurses, and William and Rose, her parents, she is kept in seclusion; Sonny, too young to risk exposure to an infectious disease, has been sent away. This chapter provides an account of Barbara’s final weeks, from her hopes of a full recovery and the dreams she has for her life to her struggle to reconcile herself to encroaching death. All the while Arthur Sawyer, unnerved by the public’s tendency to avoid films featuring deceased stars, hustles to getThe Girl from Montmartre into theaters before it’s too late.
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