made a slew of silent movies, mostnfamously the German G.W. Pabst’snPandora’s Box (1929), in which shenplayed Lulu, the guileless hedonist,nirresistible to men (among others) until,nlucklessly, she picks up Jack thenRipper. (Talk about Mr. Goodbar!)nLouise was an erratic, arrogant, dissipatednbeauty. She refused to sleepnwith the moguls (though she conferrednher favors on almost everyone else) andnridiculed Hollywood while taking itsnmoney. The industry was run, she laternwrote, by “coarse exploiter[s] who propositionednevery actress and policednevery set. To love books was a bignlaugh. There was no theater, no opera,nno concerts — just those goddamnednmovies.” A has-been at age 33, Louisenfled the glitz.n”^z-^m iM^mxsr^^n..a^-“n__^ rMnI ‘^^^h’lb^’mm^^^^lKKhnI Ik ;V^”«’hi UN^;HN’^nShe ended up back in Wichita,nteaching dance, until a scandal involvingnthe better part of a high-schoolnfootball team made it best for her tonmove on. She drifted downward untiln1956, when she settled in Rochester atnthe invitation of the curator of thenEastman Museum of Photography,nwhose archives she mined to write anseries of razor-sharp essays later combinednin Lulu in Hollywood.nLouise Brooks and Henry Clunenbegan a fitful, exasperating friendship.nShe swam in gin on dinner dates,nHenry remembers, but her bile wasn. . . well, bewitching in a way. Shenlived in a dingy apartment on GoodmannStreet, paid for by William Paley,nan old love; Henry hated to stop by herntenement because “she’d never stopntalking. You could never get out.”n(I repeat this to a friend, a Brooksnfancier. He is aghast. “She was castingn50/CHRONICLESnpearls before swine!” he exclaims. Inrelay this to Henry, who is delighted.n”Swine: oh, that’s great. I’ve beenncalled worse”—not least by Louise,nwho frequently execrated him as an”goddamn bourgeois.” He asks me tonextend to my friend an open invitationnto “stop by and hear all about Louise.nI’ll tell him she wasn’t any great beauty.nShe reminded me of general housework.”)nLouise reentered the Celebrity Nationnin 1979, thanks to KennethnTynan’s lengthy paean in the NewnYorker. European cineastes had longninsisted, “There is no Garbo! There isnno Dietrich! There is only LouisenBrooks!”; finally, cisatlantic adulationnwas hers. She died in 1985; four yearsnlater, Knopf published Barry Paris’sn609-page biography. (“Mose,” Henryngrowls, his saltiest imprecation. “Sixnhundred pages for an actress? Thatnmovie Pandora’s Box bored me tontears.”)nHenry showed us some poison-pennbillets-doux he’d received from Louisenin the final crippled years of her life.nMiss Brooks soaked even her Christmasncards in vitriol: under the stenciledn”Season’s Greetings” her chickenscratchnlacerated Humphrey Bogartn(“a gentleman and a bore”); Will Rogersn(a stone-drunk who avoided humanncompanionship: “no wonder he nevernmet a man he didn’t like”); and thentalented writer who had renovated hernreputation (“Tynan was no fag — justnyour usual upper-class English pervert”).nLouise refused to indulge Henry’snprovincialism. “I hated you,” she fondlynreminisced in one Christmas letter,ntypically devoid of Christian charity.nHenry was too . . . too . . . “Rochester.”nShe airily dismissed Clune’snclaim that Phil Barry was the equal ofnO’Neill and Coward. She revilednRochester as her Coventry. “To be anrebel is to court extinction,” Louisenonce said in a boozy self-dramatizingnfog, and for all her tartness and determinedndebauchery and undeniablenpulchritude, I wonder if she ever realizednthat Henry, doggedly and faithfullyncreating a Rochester literature ofnplace, was more of a rebel than shenever dreamed of being.nHollywood never tempted Henryn(although Frank Capra borrowed hisnnovel Monkey on a Stick, which be­nnncame Meet John Doe); neither didnprogress. His writings have had annelegiac air since I don’t know when.nSixty years ago he was wondering “ifnthe old spirit of neighboriiness thatngave such a distinct character to thenaverage residential street before thenadvent of the motor car, the movie andnother institutions of the present era thatntend to take people out of and awaynfrom their homes, anywhere exists.”nYou can imagine what he thinks ofnthe six decades since.nIt’s no longer safe for a woman tonwalk after dark down the street onnwhich Henry Clune grew up. PhilipnBarry’s alma mater. East High, oncenthe city’s swankiest public school, isnnow among its most dangerous. I attendednan East basketball game lastnseason and tried to picture Phil Barrynin a fur coat waving a pennant, amidstnall the black leather jackets and Raidersncaps. I couldn’t. East High no longernbelongs to languid swells who addressntheir parents in Barry idiom. (“Wot,nMums? Oh, you are a wench!”) Butnlet’s look on the bright side: East Highnhas graduated from Cole Porter to rap.nDeft wordplay and rhyming have becomencool in today’s inner-city schools,nand I don’t know about you but I thinknthat this is marvelous news.nHenry is pessimistic about the bignthings, but in the private realm, whichnafter all is what matters most, he reallynhas had a wonderful life. He is anrevered figure in Rochester, his hometown.nHe was ever loyal to his city,nwhich outsiders often find gray andnunfriendly, and his sense of rootednessnis as profound as is humanly possible.nAn optimist might even say thatnthings are looking up in Rochester.nWilliam McFeely’s biography has renewedninterest in adopted son FredericknDouglass. The Susan B. Anthonyndollar may circulate again. You cannrent The Philadelphia Story at anyndecent video store. The Louise Brooksnhair helmet is back in style. HenrynClune is 101 and still writing. Thencircle is unbroken, sort of, and in thatnsea of Raiders caps I’ll bet there is onenboy or giri who will grab the baton andncontinue along the path that isnRochester’s, and Rochester’s alone.nNovelist Bill Kauffman writes fromnBatavia, thirty miles from the city thatnHenry Clune wrote.n