Friday, September 4, 2015

Ex-Sex Pistol John Lyndon of P.I.L. name checks Louise Brooks in new lyric

John Lyndon of Public Image Limited (P.i.L.) name checks Louise Brooks in the lyrics to his new song, "Betty Page."

Lydon and the band released their 10th studio album on September 4th in the UK and September 11th in the USA. The new album, titled What The World Needs Now…, is the follow-up to This is PiL, from 2012. The 11-track album follows the critical success of that earlier album, which was the band's first album in 17 years. Commenting on the new album, Lydon says, ''Buy now while stocks last.'' Lydon also painted the cover for the new record.

"Betty Page" is the B-side to "Double Trouble, the first single from the new album. The single was released on August 17.

Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential bands of the last few decades, PiL's music earned them 5 UK Top 20 singles and 5 UK Top 20 albums. With a shifting line-up and unique sound, Lydon guided the band from their debut album First Issue in 1978 through 1992's That What Is Not. After a 17 year hiatus, Lydon reactivated PiL in 2009. Last year, the band returned to Steve Winwood's Wincraft studio in the Cotswolds in the UK to record this new album, What The World Needs Now…

In an interview with  journalist Thomas H. Green, Lydon commented on the song:

THOMAS H GREEN: In the song “Betty Page”, you refer to Page, Mae West, Louise Brooks and the “greatest pornographic country in the world” – what’s behind the song?

JOHN LYDON: Becoming an American citizen. America more than happily accepted me. I now carry an American passport. That’s three to my name – Irish, English and American. I hope they knew what they were inviting in. I like the history of a place to be accurate and this is the greatest pornographic country in the world but it pretends to be an evangelist state. Those women were absolute individuals and, for me, there’s a sense of hero worship around what they did and what they achieved in very severe times. They’re the people that gave women the vote, much more so than “burn the bra”.
PiL have also announced details of an upcoming tour of the UK and Europe, with North American shows to be announced.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#TBT Wired magazine on the Louise Brooks Society

#TBT : Journalist Steve Silberman's brilliant new book on autism, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, is number 8 on the New York Times bestseller list; yesterday he was on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.

Back in 1998, Silberman wrote an article, "Fan Site Sparks Biopic," about the Louise Brooks Society for Wired magazine. It's a great piece. I encourage everyone to check it out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New UK stage play about Louise Brooks "American Venus"

The Stage, an English theatrical publication, has an article about a new stage play about Louise Brooks which has just opened in the UK. The play is titled American Venus and it's by Leslie Mildiner, a Canadian playwright.

The article starts this way: "One of the most luminous stars of the silent era, Louise Brooks has been all but erased from cinema history. Only a handful of movie buffs keep her memory alive, mostly through the 20-year-old Louise Brooks Society, whose aim is to honour the charismatic actor and stimulate interest in her life and work."

American Venus opens September 2 and runs through September 27th at 6 Frederick’s Place, London, as part of the Ever Hopeful Rep Season. More information at

The description of the play on the theater's website reads this way: "'Fictionalized' from the true life story of Louise Brooks, the silent movie queen, star of 1929's Pandora's Box and lover to Charlie Chaplin, AMERICAN VENUS, is a moving and funny exploration of growing old...ungracefully. Set in 1985 Louise, now a recluse in her shuttered apartment, does daily battle with her primary care-givers, neighbours Phyllis and Frank. To her chagrin, the more she rejects her past, the more her mistakes of youth come back to haunt her."

The older Louise Brooks is played by Susan Penhaligon, while the younger Brooks is played by Angharad George-Carey.

Pictured here is an image of Angharad as Louise. I'm convinced.

The Louise Brooks Society would love to hear from anyone who attends this play. And of course, you are encouraged to do so!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks screens in Buffalo on Sept. 1st

Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, screens in Buffalo, New York on September 1st. The G.W. Pabst directed film is among the offerings in the fall 2015 edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars, the popular, semester-long series of film screenings and discussions hosted by UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson.

Each session of the Buffalo Film Seminars (BFS) begins at 7 p.m. in the Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St. in the University Plaza, directly across the street from the South Campus. More information on the series HERE.

The series opens tomorrow with Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s controversial 1929 drama Diary of a Lost Girl. Legendary silent screen actress Louise Brooks stars as young girl who is raped by the clerk in her father’s pharmacy. She becomes pregnant, is rejected by her family, and must fend for herself in a cruel world.

Seen the movie and want to read the book? Be sure and check out the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, by Margarete Bohme. his book was the basis the 1929 film. And what's more, this book contains a long introduction detailing the history of this singular book as well as its relationship to the G.W. Pabst directed film. And there are many illustrations as well. More information HERE.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nominate Louise Brooks films for 2016 National Film Registry

It's that time, once more. The Library of Congress is now soliciting nominees for their 2016 National Film Registry list. Please take a moment to nominate one or both of these two American silent films, The Show-Off (1926) and Beggars of Life (1928). Each is a fine film, very American, and each star Louise Brooks.

You can nominate as many films as you like, so why not add a fave Colleen Moore or Clara Bow film as well. It is easy to do. Just send a simple email with your nominees (reasons optional) to

Here is my short list:

The Show-Off (1926)
Beggars of Life (1928)
Why Be Good (1929)
Synthetic Sin (1929)
What Price Hollywood? (1932)

More information HERE: Your voice is important! Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The National Film Registry historically has included only those films that were produced or co-produced by an American film company, typically for theatrical release or recognized as a film through film festivals or film awards. If in doubt, check the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for country of origin. Registry criteria does not specifically prohibit television programs, commercials, music videos or foreign productions, however, the original intent of the legislation that established the Registry was to safeguard U.S. films. Consequently the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress give first consideration to American motion pictures.

Looking for ideas on possible films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. This link will take you to the complete list of films currently on the Registry.

For consideration, please forward your recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to: Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. Listing your nominations in alphabetical order is very much appreciated, too. There’s no need to include descriptions or justifications for your nominations unless they’re films that have not been distributed widely or otherwise made available to the public. For example, if a film is listed in the Internet Movie Database or the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, no further information beyond title and date of release is necessary. Lastly, please tell us how you learned of the Registry.
Email is preferred; however, to submit via regular 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, August 28, 2015

Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players

 Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players. Clipping from 1927.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Louise Brooks and F. Scott Fitzgerald - a connection

I recently came across a review of an intriguing book, The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love, by James L.W. West III. The book was published by Random House in 2005. The review, by Fitzgerald scholar/biographer Scott Donaldson, reveals what The Perfect Hour only hinted at --  a previously unknown link between actress Louise Brooks and author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The publisher description of The Perfect Hour summarizes the book this way: "In The Perfect Hour, biographer James L. W. West III reveals the never-before told story of the romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first love, Ginevra King. They met in January 1915, when Scott was nineteen, a Princeton student, and sixteen-year-old Ginevra, socially poised and confident, was a sophomore at Westover School. Their romance flourished in heartfelt letters and quickly ran its course–but Scott never forgot it. Ginevra became the inspiration for Isabelle Borgé in This Side of Paradise and the model for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Scott also wrote short stories inspired by her–including “Babes in the Woods” and “Winter Dreams,” which, along with Ginevra’s own story featuring Scott are reprinted in this volume. With access to Ginevra’s personal diary, love letters, photographs, and Scott’s own scrapbook, West tells the beguiling story of youthful passion that shaped Scott Fitzgerald’s life as a writer. For Scott and Ginevra, “the perfect hour” was private code for a fleeting time they almost shared and then yearned after for the rest of their lives. Now West brings that perfect hour back to life in all its freshness, delicacy, and poignant brevity."

Being something of a F. Scott Fitzgerald devotee, I purchased a copy of The Perfect Hour and read it and liked it. If you like reading about Fitzgerald, you should too!

Deering Davis, 1926
What West reveals is that in the mid-Teens, while being courted by Fitzgerald, Ginerva King was infatuated with a "Chicago boy" by the name of Deering Davis, with the two suitors aware of one another. What Scott Donaldson reveals is that Deering Davis is the same Chicago boy / Chicago playboy who married Brooks in 1933.

Of course, it is known that Brooks had met Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald at a Hollywood party. Brooks described meeting the Fitzgeralds at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles in 1927. “They were sitting close together on a sofa, like a comedy team, and the first thing that struck me was how small they were.” Brooks “had come to see the genius writer,” adding, “but what dominated the room was the blazing intelligence of Zelda’s profile… the profile of a witch.”

What we don't know is whether or not Deering Davis (Brooks' second husband) ever revealed his earlier courtship of Fitzgerald's "first love" to Brooks. I suppose it's unlikely, as the Davis-King romance was one of youth and had taken place nearly 20 years earlier.

It has always been a mystery to me as to what Brooks saw in Davis. Was it the fact he was tall, dark, and handsome? I am just a straight guy and no judge of men. But to me, Fitzgerald is handsome, Davis not so. I don't think Davis photographed all that well, and he always seemed to have dark rings under his eyes. Ginerva King thought him a very good dancer, as did Brooks, who formed a dance team with Davis for a short time in the early 1930s.

What we do know is that Davis had a reputation as a Chicago playboy, and romanced many women. Evidently, he had what it took. Below is a little known clipping depicting Deering Davis and Louise Brooks.