Friday, January 18, 2019

Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, screens in Hungerford, England

The celebrated 1929 Louise Brooks film, Pandora's Box, will be shown in Hungerford, England on January 18, 2019. The special event will take place at The Croft Hall, and will feature an introduction by journalist and early film expert Pamela Hutchinson (author of the 2018 BFI book on the film). Information on the event and ticket availability can be found HERE.

According to the venue: "The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naïve young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.

One of the great silent films, G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box is renowned for its sensational story line, sparkling Weimar-period setting and the legendary, lead performance from its iconic star Louise Brooks.

Following the rise and fall of Lulu (Brooks), a spirited but innocent showgirl whose sheer sexual magnetism wreaks havoc on the lives of men and women alike, the film was controversial in its day, then underappreciated for decades. Pandora’s Box now stands as an incredibly modern movie, and few stars of any era dazzle as bright as Louise Brooks.

Before the film Pamela Hutchinson a freelance journalist and film critic and former Guardian production editor will give a short presentation on the significance of this classic film and of Louise Brooks the amazing leading lady. Listen to a short piece on BBC Radio 4 "The Film Programme." CLICK HERE from 17:36 mins

1929 Cert PG 1 hour 49mins. Crime/Drama/Romance In German with subtitles."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Louise Brooks portrait on an American 25 cent piece

I thought I had seen it all until I came across this painted 25 cent piece on eBay... featuring a color portrait of Louise Brooks. The description reads:

"Louise Brooks - Colorized Bicentennial U.S. Quarter - 1776-1976 Coin

You are purchasing the coin shown - Painted and colorized - Louise Brooks

No returns or refunds so please ask before purchasing

Very Nice !!"

Here are the pictures from it's eBay page, where the buy it now price is $11.95 (including free shipping). The same seller (not me) has one or two other painted quarters for sale.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks screens in Nottingham, England on March 17

Thanks to longtime Louise Brooks Society member Meredith Lawrence for letting us know about this Sunday, March 17th screening of Beggars of Life at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, England. The acclaimed 1928 silent film will be shown with live musical accompaniment by acclaimed The Dodge Brothers together with acclaimed musician Neil Brand. More information on this can be found HERE.

From the venue website:

Presented in partnership with the Royal Concert Hall

BEGGARS OF LIFE is an intense and entertaining story about oppressed and desperate people on a dangerous journey through the dark underworld of pre-depression America. Cinema icon Louise Brooks plays a girl on the lam after killing her lecherous adoptive father. Dressed in boy's clothes, she navigates through the dangerous tramp underworld with the help of a handsome drifter and encounters the hobo legend, Oklahoma Red. Loaded with stunning visuals and empathetic performances, this dark, realistic drama is Brooks' best American film and a masterpiece of late-silent era feature films. All aspects of his rollercoaster of a story are enhanced by the live soundtrack, composed and performed by skiffle/bluegrass combo The Dodge Brothers, together with silent film pianist Neil Brand.

Tickets: £15 full / £13 memb+conc

This event takes place as part of Soundstage, Nottingham's Festival of Music and the Moving Image.

Want to learn more about this acclaimed silent film, one fo the best of 1928. Check out the Beggars of Life page on the Louise Brooks Society website, or check out Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, an illustrated and informative book by Louise Brooks Society director Thomas Gladysz. The book is available at both amazon USA and amazon UK.

This first ever study of Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. Based on Jim Tully’s bestselling book of hobo life—and filmed by Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar), Beggars of Life is a riveting drama about an orphan girl (screen legend Louise Brooks) who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. She meets a boy tramp (leading man Richard Arlen), and together they ride the rails through a dangerous hobo underground ruled over by Oklahoma Red (future Oscar winner Wallace Beery). Beggars of Life showcases Brooks in her best American silent—a film the Cleveland Plain Dealer described as “a raw, sometimes bleeding slice of life.” With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by the director's son, actor/author William Wellman, Jr.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Why We Need to Keep Searching for Lost Silent Films

"Who in the 1920s would have predicted that Louise Brooks, while certainly popular at the time, would be considered an iconic figure and one of the greatest actresses of her era some nine decades later?" writes Fritzi Kramer in the current issue of

Kramer, the
founder of Movies, Silently, a website dedicated to the lost art of silent films, has penned a thoughtful, even provocative article, on the value of early film. The article is titled "Why We Need to Keep Searching for Lost Silent Films: Early motion pictures give us an important window into our collective past." While Louise Brooks is given only a passing mention, the LBS recommends everyone interested in early film to read this piece. Check it out today!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Pandora's Box at the Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon on January 29

Thanks to longtime Louise Brooks Society member Camille Scaysbrooks for letting us know about this screening of Pandora's Box at the Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon. The acclaimed 1929 silent film will be shown on 16mm with a live score performed by Abronia -- a Portland group composed of two guitars, bass, pedal steel, saxophone, and one giant drum. More information can be found HERE.

Castle Thunder Cinema presents a special night of MUSIC and FILM. PANDORA’S BOX (1929, 16mm) will be accompanied LIVE by the music of Portland-based sextet ABRONIA.

PANDORA’S BOX is director G.W. Pabst’s best-known masterwork, crafted especially for the  ineffably vibrant Louise Brooks. Brooks effortlessly electrifies the folkloric story of hustlers, lovers, pimps, fathers, gamblers, murderers, judges, prostitutes, schemers and decadent wealth.

Crafted at the end of the Silent Era, the film brings together the best techniques of Weimar cinema in a tapestry of archetypes. Raw humanity glimmers among theatrical trappings and bewildering
Brechtian travesties displaying the ‘gaiety that comes from desperation’ for which Weimar-era Germany was known.

Portland-based sextet Abronia’s atmospheric stir of angular psychedelic western sound blasts a call to arms perfectly suited to Pandora’s Box and the film’s contest between love and violence.

Castle Thunder Cinema specializes in unique experiences in cinema—bringing unorthodox formats to unexpected spaces. Alleys, warehouses, clubs, theaters, scratches, splices, lights in the dark.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society (

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society (
The Louise Brooks Society website is the oldest and biggest Louise Brooks site on the internet.
Launched in 1995, the LBS is a pioneer among silent film sites.

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society (

And don't forget to follow the Louise Brooks Society on Twitter @LB_Society.
 As of today, the LBS is followed by more than 4800 individuals. Are you one of them?
Why not join the conversation? Be sure and visit the official LBS Twitter profile, and check out the more than 5,550 LBS tweets! For those who like to follow the flow, the LBS twitter stream can also be found in the right hand column of this blog.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Books: Two fascinating women, and more

There are two new books out which silent film buffs, Jazz Age enthusiasts, and those interested in social history and women's herstory will want to know about. Each tell the story of a little known woman from the early decades of the 20th century. Each are fascinating accounts, and each reveals that there still many undiscovered stories left to be told. Each book are recommended reading.

The Lives of Justine Johnstone: Follies Star, Research Scientist, Social Activist (McFarland)
by Kathleen Vestuto

From the publisher: As a Ziegfeld Follies girl and film actress, Justine Johnstone (1895-1982) was celebrated as "the most beautiful woman in the world." Her career took an unexpected turn when she abruptly retired from acting at 31. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to medical research and social activism. As a cutting-edge pathologist, she contributed to the pre-penicillin treatment of syphilis at Columbia University, participated in the development of early cancer treatments at Caltech, and assisted Los Angeles physicians in oncology research. As a divorced woman in the 1940s, she adopted and raised two children on her own. She later helped find work for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters and became a prominent participant in social and political causes.

The first full-length biography of Johnstone (who travelled in the same social circles as Louise Brooks in 1925 New York City) chronicles her extraordinary success in two male-dominated fields--show business and medical science--and follows her remarkable journey into a fascinating and fulfilling life.

"Here is a book that might otherwise escape you, but if you're lucky you'll find it and read it.... From her humble upbringing in New Jersey to her days as a Broadway and Hollywood fixture to her life as a research scientist and social activist, Johnstone emerges as a fascinating person. Vestuto sprinkles her life story with anecdotes that include some of the people in Justine's world which included, among many others, Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx, Marion Davies, Joan Blondell and W.C. Fields...." – Jeff Still, amazon review

About the Author
: Kathleen Vestuto is a former theatre professional working in the nonprofit social services sector. She lives in New York City.

Southern Belle To Hollywood Hell: Corliss Palmer and Her Scandalous Rise and Fall (BearManor Media)
by Jennifer Ann Redmond

From the publisher: Winning the Fame and Fortune Contest of 1920 made Corliss Palmer a star. It was the worst thing that ever happened to her. Come along as the author of Reels & Rivals: Sisters in Silent Film charts Corliss and publisher Eugene Brewster’s attempt to fashion a Jazz Age empire, only to end up ruling the gossip columns. Over 70 images, including never-before-seen photos from the Palmer family scrapbook, illustrate this incredible tale of obsession, glamour, and why you should always be careful what you wish for.

“Remarkably intimate and detailed… author Jennifer Ann Redmond offers a juicy account of the short but colorful and tumultuous life of a southern beauty queen-turned model and actress who ‘wasn’t the angel people think she was.” – Paula Uruburu, History Channel consultant and author, American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the “It” Girl, and the Crime of the Century

About the Author: Longtime Louise Brooks Society member Jennifer Ann Redmond found her calling at age 7, when her essay won a countywide contest. Since then, her passion for writing, especially poetry, has been rivaled only by her love of the 1920s and 1930s. Silent and pre-Code (1929-1934) films are a particular favorite, and she counts Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, and Jean Harlow among her muses. She currently resides on Long Island, NY.


And for good measure, consider this worthwhile book as well. It contains a bit of material on Frederica Sagor, the silent era screenwriter who penned the story for the 1927 Louise Brooks film, Rolled Stockings.

When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry (McFarland)
by Rosanne Welch; Foreword by Cari Beachamp

From the publisher: This collection of 23 new essays focuses on the lives of female screenwriters of Golden Age Hollywood, whose work helped create those unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences--but whose names have been left out of most film histories. The contributors trace the careers of such writers as Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Lillian Hellman, Gene Gauntier, Eve Unsell and Ida May Park, and explore themes of their writing in classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ben Hur, and It's a Wonderful Life.

About the Author: Rosanne Welch teaches the history of screenwriting and one-hour drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting. As a television writer/producer, her credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. Her other books include Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture (McFarland, 2017) and Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection (ABC-CLIO, 2017), named to the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List, by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association. Welch has also published chapters in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television (I.B.Tauris) and The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color (Lexington Books, 2018) and essays in Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology and Outside In Makes it So, and Outside in Boldly Goes (both edited by Robert Smith). She lives in Los Angeles, and is the book reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Around the World with Louise Brooks - Chinese Movie Magazines

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am at work on a new book, Around the World with Louise Brooks, which I expect to have ready sometime early next year. The book, as it looks now, should run at least 500 pages. It will be a multilingual and multinational look at Brooks and her films and how they were perceived around the world in the1920s and 1930s.

With that in mind, I have been looking at all sorts of material related to my book's topic. And that's when a remarkable new book, Chinese Movie Magazines: From Charlie Chaplin to Chairman Mao, 1921-1951 (University of California Press), by Paul Fonoroff.

About the book (from the publisher): "Showcasing an exotic, eclectic, and rare array of covers from more than five hundred movie publications from a glamorous bygone age, Chinese Movie Magazines sheds fresh light on China’s film industry during a transformative period of its history. Expertly curated by collector and Chinese cinema specialist Paul Fonoroff, this volume provides insightful commentary relating the magazines to the times in which they were created, embracing everything from cinematic trends to politics and world events, along with gossip, fashion, and pop culture.

The cover designs reflected the diverse contents of the publications, ranging from sophisticated Art Deco drawings by acclaimed artists to glamorous photos of top Chinese and Hollywood celebrities, including Ruan Lingyu, Butterfly Wu, Ingrid Bergman, and Shirley Temple. Organized thematically within a chronological structure, this visually extraordinary volume includes many rare illustrations from the Paul Kendel Fonoroff Collection in Berkeley’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the largest collection of Eastern movie memorabilia outside China."

I have spent more than a few hours enjoyable browsing the many image laden pages of Chinese Movie Magazines: From Charlie Chaplin to Chairman Mao, 1921-1951. It is a visual feast, and is a book which should appeal to anyone interested in film history, graphic design, or early Asian cinema.

Alas, there aren't any images of Louise Brooks in the book, but other silent era stars can be found. Among those I spotted are Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Richard Dix, Harold Lloyd, Lupe Velez, Anna May Wong, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Norma Shearer, Jean Harlow, Maurice Chevalier, Tallulah Bankhead, Janet Gaynor & Charles Farrell, and Charles Rogers & Nancy Carroll. Here are a few page scans from this highly recommended book.

Monday, December 24, 2018

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