Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Desperately Seeking Marie Prevost

I like to listen to music while blogging, crawling the web, or working on the LBS website. Today, I listened to Basher: The Best of Nick Lowe. I hadn't listened to it in long time. This Nick Lowe CD contains such great songs as "Cracking Up" and "Cruel to Be Kind" - as well as "Marie Provost." 

The song is about Marie Prevost (Nick Lowe misspells her name). It's lyrics read in part: "Marie Provost was a movie queen / mysterious angel of the silent screen / And run like the wind the nation's young men steamed / When Marie crossed the silent screen." 

It should be noted that Lowe's lyrics inaccurately recount the circumstances around Prevost's premature death, as gleamed from Kenneth Anger's flawed Hollywood Babylon. Don't know why this English pop musician wrote a song about a forgotten movie star, but he did. . . .

Marie Prevost was a Canadian-born film actress. Prevost began her career during the silent film era, and came to fame as a member of Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties. By all accounts, she was a fine comedic and dramatic actress. During her twenty-year career, she made approximately 120 silent and talking pictures.

 . . . . Speaking of Marie Prevost, there is a new book out on the actress, Desperately Seeking Marie Prevost (BearManor), by Richard Kirby. I recently finished reading it. This slim (104 page), poorly written book takes a look at the life and work of a beautiful, talented and ill-fated actress who was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1920s. Its unfortunate, because Prevost deserves better.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Exploring the Library of Congress photo collections


The Library of Congress has an extraordinary collection of images available on-line through its Prints and Photographs division. This database is searchable by keyword, and some of the images are available in high-resolution scans. A search for "Louise Brooks" only turned up one (rather unusual) result. Nevertheless, fans of silent film, theater, dance, etc.... will certainly find other fascinating and seldom seen images. There are thousands of scans available from more than four dozen collections. Try searching under keywords or names such as "actress," "Ziegfeld," "Ruth St. Denis," "Rudolph Valentino," "Charlie Chaplin," etc....


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two

Presented here is the trailer for the feature film Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two - a black comedy science fiction story about obsession, madness and what one man will do to attain perceived happiness. The film stars Adeline Thery, Christian Carroll and Brian Shoop. The cinematography was done by Alexander Drecun. The trailer is set to the music of Margaret Leng Tan.

From the filmmakers: "Loosely inspired by the Argentinean sci-fi novella, 'The Invention of Morel', by Adolfo Boy Casares, this is the story of a young loner named Jorge who has created two inventions: Pandora's Camera, which can duplicate and preserve reality, and a pair of glasses that can inject memories into the viewer's mind."

"Using the camera, Jorge attempts to capture and preserve a perfect moment of happiness between him and his lover in Paris. The story is told through the eyes of Louise, Jorge's lover, as she begins to question the true nature of their relationship and reality. Ultimately it is a film about obsession, in the guise of a sci-fi black comedy. The boyish 'american in paris pursuing his sweet amour' mood at the film's outset is thrown on its head as the movie's big surprise takes you on a dark journey indeed!"

Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two was written, directed, edited, scored and produced by Christian Carroll, who also plays the inventor Jorge, it is a work of imagination shot in a black and white Nouvelle Vague style with nods to the silent movies of Louise Brooks. More info at www.suicidethefilm.com/

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Come on - let's do this! Nominate the Louise Brooks' film Beggars of Life for the National Film Registry

The United States Congress established the National Film Registry in 1988. Along with mandating the continuing implementation of a plan to save America's film heritage, the law authorizes the Librarian of Congress to select up to 25 films each year for inclusion in the Registry. The 625 films chosen to date illustrate the vibrant diversity of American film-making.

The Library of Congress is currently seeking nominations from the public - meaning you! Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian of Congress and Film Board are considering their selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Recommendations are due in September. New selections are usually announced at the end of December.

Attention Louise Brooks fans. Attention silent film fans. Attention William Wellman fans. Attention Jim Tully fans. The  Louise Brooks Society thinks its time a Louise Brooks film be added to the list. The LBS suggests you recommend these Louise Brooks films. Each are worthy of inclusion in the registry:

Beggars of Life (1928)

The Street of Forgotten Men (1925)

The Show Off (1926)

A Girl in Every Port (1928)

Looking for other films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. And if you would, tell how you learned of the Registry. Please forward your recommendations via email to dross@loc.gov  Email is preferred; to submit via postal mail, send your nominations to:

National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cool pic of the Day: Louise Brooks in a bathing suite

Cool pic of the Day: Louise Brooks in a bathing suite

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Ghosts of Hollywood

This short documentary titled "The Ghosts of Hollywood" shows the sad condition of many of the silent movie studios in Hollywood as they appeared in the 1930s. Included are the Keystone and Metro Studio locations. You see Mabel Normand and Rudolph Valentino's dressing rooms among other locations.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A gathering of silent film articles, part two

I've been writing for examiner.com for 5 years. In that time, I've written hundreds of pieces about film and film culture culture in the silent and early sound era. To mark my fifth anniversary as the San Francisco Bay Area silent film correspondent, I've put together this checklist of some of my favorite pieces. Hopefully, you'll like them too. Here is a selection published from 2019 through 2010.

Early films selected for National Film Registry
December 28, 2010

Sherlock Holmes vs Herlock Sholmes, etc….
December 24, 2010

Revamped website celebrates Nita Naldi
December 17, 2010

Local film preservationist does his bit, and more
December 15, 2010

Two new books offer portraits of early film stars
December 9, 2010

Silent film DVDs: Best new releases of the year
December 8, 2010

Ten best silent film books in 2010
December 6, 2010

Early film star Baby Marie dies at age 99
November 17, 2010

A Century Ago: The Films of 1910
November 11, 2010

Vernon Dent shines with new book, screenings in Niles in November
November 4, 2010

Mystery of the Charlie Chaplin cell phone user, solved?
October 28, 2010

Once lost Northern California film now found
October 26, 2010

Early Warner Bros. Studios
October 12, 2010

Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Lady Crook
October 4, 2010

Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol, His Life in Photographs
September 16, 2010

Six questions with novelist Glen David Gold
September 13, 2010

First Ever Oscar to a Film Historian Goes to Kevin Brownlow
August 27, 2010

Chaplin, Chaplin, and more Chaplin
August 19, 2010

Some of the many facets of Polish cinema
August 3, 2010

The art and history of coming attraction slides
July 28, 2010

Six questions with Donna Hill, author of a new book on Rudolph Valentino
July 13, 2010

George O'Brien - a man's man in Hollywood
July 10, 2010

The return of Norma Talmadge
July 5, 2010

Major discovery of silent films announced
June 7, 2010

New encyclopedia of German Cinema
May 19, 2010

Six Questions with . . . now silent film composer Stephin Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields)
April 27, 2010

Georges Méliès - Cinemagician of the early movies
April 23, 2010

Starstruck stunning
April 21, 2010

New book on silent mystery and detective movies
March 23, 2010

Edison's Frankenstein - It's Alive
March 18, 2010

Silent-era actress Dorothy Janis dies at age 100
March 12, 2010

Mack Sennett's fun factory
March 9, 2010

Robert Birchard's universal history
February 23, 2010

Silent film star Karl Dane revealed in new book
February 15, 2010

Kevin Brownlow's Photoplay Productions now online
February 9, 2010

Early Western films featured in new book
January 21, 2010

New book on Portland theaters joins illustrated series
January 1, 2010

Best DVDs of 2009
December 21, 2009

Best film books of 2009
December 15, 2009

Francis X. Bushman - King of the Movies revealed in new book
November 6, 2009

Celebrating Carla Laemmle and early Universal
October 28, 2009

Sad tale of Oakland comedian told in new book
October 8, 2009

Six silent films not on DVD that should be
August 27, 2009

Silent films among new Warner Archive offerings
August 23, 2009

Six questions with . . . film historian Jeffrey Vance
July 9, 2009

Reviving the art of silent film, one note at a time
May 25, 2009

The Silent Cinema in Song
May 19, 2009

Cinematic new novel depicts Charlie Chaplin and silent film era
May 12, 2009

Chaplin biographer to speak in San Francisco
May 8, 2009

When Hollywood came to town
April 28, 2009

Father of JFK recalled as Hollywood mogul
April 10, 2009