Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Forthcoming novel has Louise Brooks character

Louise Brooks is a character in a forthcoming novel, The Roaring Road. The book, whose publication date has not been set, describes itself as "A Story of Adventure and Mayhem on the Highways and Railroads and in the Wineries and Speakeasies of the Roaring Twenties." The picture below comes from the novel's website,, which is worth checking out.

Other Jazz Age entertainment personalities who figure in the book include Wallace Reid - famous silent movie film star, Dorothy Davenport - Wallace Reid's widow, Paul Whiteman - band leader and musician, Billie Dove - lovely silent movie era actress, Douglas Fairbanks - famous movie star, and
W.C. Fields - famous movie star.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The gaze of admiration always lingers on that which is beautiful and distinctive

Here's an interesting clipping I came across at the library. It is a 1926 advertisement from an English-language newspaper from Havana, Cuba. The figure in the ad is a Louise Brooks look-alike. I especially like the text - "the gaze of admiration always lingers on that which is beautiful and distinctive . . . ." Truth is beauty.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Louise Brooks: An invitation to the Commonwealth of Happiness

Check out this rare promotional card from the 1924 George White Scandals. Louise Brooks is not named - she really wasn't important or famous enough to be named - but there she is.

I am not sure what the purpose of the card might have been, except promotional. On the back of the card it reads "Commonwealth of Happiness - G.W.S. - PERMIT.” 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Overland Stage Raiders - A round-up of reviews

Overland Stage Raiders, Louise Brooks' last film, was officially released on this day in 1938. The film, part of the "Three Mesquiteers" series, is a western with a 20th century setting involving hijacked gold shipments, cowboys, and airplanes.

The film stars John Wayne as Stony Brooke, Ray Corrigan as Tucson Smith, Max Terhune as Lullaby Joslin, Louise Brooks as Beth Hoyt, and Anthony Marsh as Ned Hoyt. 

The 55 minute Republic Pictures film is drawn from a screenplay by Luci Ward, adapted from a story by Bernard McConville and Edmond Kelso, based on characters by William Colt McDonald. The director was George Sherman. The film was not as widely shown as other Brooks films. Here is a round up of a few magazine and newspaper reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

Parson, Louella. "Hedy is Excited Over Next Film." August 5, 1938.
--- "Louise Brooks, who used to get glamour girl publicity about her famous legs, is starting all over again as a leading lady in a Western with John Wayne."

anonymous. "Reviews of the New Films." Film Daily, September 28, 1938.
--- "Fast-moving cowboy and bandit story will entertain the western fans. . . . Louise Brooks makes an appearance as the female attraction."

anonymous. "Overland Stage Raiders." Variety, September 28, 1938.
--- "This series improves with each new adventure. . . . Should please juveniles and elders alike."

East Coast Preview Committee. Fox West Coast Bulletin, October 15, 1938.
--- "The production is wellacted and directed and presents several novel touches, as well as excellent photography."

East Coast Preview Committee. "Overland Stage Raiders (Republic)." Selected Motion Pictures, November 1, 1938.
--- capsule review; "The production is well acted and directed and presents several novel touches, as well as excellent photography."

anonymous. "Movie Guide." St. Lawrence Plain Dealer, January 24, 1939.
--- "Fast moving cowboy and bandit story will entertain the western fans. Children, exciting." 

Friday, September 26, 2014

London Symphony of a City - a new silent film

Louise Brooks went to Berlin in 1928 to film G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box. The look and pulse of the city she encountered may be seen in Walter Ruttman's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, released the year before.

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City is an example of the "city symphony film" genre. As such, it portrays the daily life of a city through imagery in a semi-documentary style, though without the narrative thrust of mainstream films; sometimes, the sequencing of visual impressions and events can imply a kind of loose theme. If you haven't seen Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, you should. It is a terrific piece of experimental film-making. 

On Kickstarter, there is a campaign to make a new silent film in the "city symphony film" tradition. Filmmaker Alex Barrett has written to the Louise Brooks Society asking that we help spread the word. And the LBS is happy to do so.

According to its Kickstarter page, "London Symphony is a poetic journey through the city of London, exploring its vast diversity of culture, religion and design via its various modes of transportation. It is both a cultural snapshot and a creative record of London as it stands today. The point is not only to immortalise the city, but also to celebrate its community and diversity."

"The feature-length film is being made in the style of a silent City Symphony, but it is not a pastiche. We believe that by looking at the present through recourse to the past, we can learn something new about life today. We will not parody the style, but be true to the spirit of the filmmakers that came before us, and the theories that fuelled them. We hope to capture the rhythm, the motion and the experimentation that made their films so wonderful, while simultaneously reimagining the City Symphony for the 21st Century."

"In the early days of the cinema, there were several great City Symphonies – for Berlin, Paris, Rotterdam, but never for London. Alex Barrett is going to put that right, and his plans suggest a remarkable picture." – Kevin Brownlow, Film Historian

"The City Symphony is the only art form capable of capturing the music of such a complex entity. It must be done in images that move - you need to see it - you need to feel its tempo. It's time to turn the Kino-eye on London" – Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the BFI National Archive 

Here is short, a bit of what to look forward to.

The Louise Brooks Society encourages you to check out this worthwhile project and consider making a donation. The London Symphony Kickstarter page can be found at

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Look at me now - Electric Light Orchestra - Louise Brooks

Here is a video for "Look at me now" by Electric Light Orchestra. I don't think this is any sort of official video, just a fan made issue. It's here because it features Louise Brooks. (As a kid, I loved the Beatles' music. Still do. And this video reminded me of how much I like the early work by ELO, whose music was indebted to the Fab Four.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mentions of Beggars of Life

A while back, I came across this cartoon history of James Cagney. I noticed it because it  mentions Beggars of Life. Cagney starred in the stage production of Jim Tully's book which played in New York City in 1925. Louise Brooks, together with Charlie Chaplin, attended a performance.

I noticed this piece as well because it also mentions Beggars of Life. Tully's book was well known in the 1920's