Wednesday, March 4, 2015

William Wellman's Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks screens in NYC

The terrific William Wellman directed film, Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen, will be shown at the Film Forum in New York City on Monday, May 4th.  And what's more, William Wellman, Jr (son of director) will introduce his father’s 1928 film. Copies of  Wellman’s new book Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel will be on sale at the Film Forum concession, with a book signing to follow the screening. Start time is 7:50 pm.

Who knows the subtle link between Beggars of Life and the film depicted on the cover of William Wellman Jr.'s new book?

Here is the publisher description of Wellman's new book, coming from Pantheon on April 7, 2015: "The extraordinary life−the first—of the legendary, undercelebrated Hollywood director known in his day as "Wild Bill" (and he was!) Wellman, whose 82 movies—many of them iconic, many of them sharp, cold, brutal, others poetic, moving—all of them a lesson in close-up art—ranged from adventure and gangster pictures to comedies, aviation, romance, westerns, and searing social dramas: His pioneering, daring picture-making forever changed Hollywood and the way movies were made.

Now, William Wellman, Jr., drawing on his father's unpublished letters, diaries, notes, and unfinished memoir, gives us the first full portrait of the man—the son, the husband, the father, director, artist.

Wellman directed Hollywood's biggest stars during three decades, including Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Clint Eastwood, Robert Mitchum. He made pictures with producers like Darryl Zanuck, Nunnally Johnson, David O. Selznick, Howard Hughes among them . . .

David O. Selznick called him, "One of the motion pictures' greatest craftsmen." Robert Redford described him as, "Feisty, independent, self-taught, and self-made.  He stood his ground and fought his battles for artistic integrity, never wavering, always clear in his film sense . . . He has left a great gift in the annals of film achievement."   

Among Wellman's iconic pictures: the pioneering WWI epic, Wings (winner of the first Academy Award for best picture); Public Enemy (the toughest gangster picture of them all); Nothing Sacred (the classic social screwball comedy satire); the original A Star is Born (Wellman co-wrote and directed it); Beggars of Life; The Call of the Wild; Beau Geste; The High and the Mighty . . . and many more of equal distinction and greatness."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Louise Brooks by Rick Geary

Comix great Rick Geary posted this drawing of Louise Brooks to my Facebook page, and I wanted to share it with everyone. (Geary is actually a distant relation of Brooks.) I for one can hardly wait for his new book, Louise Brooks, Detective (NBM Publishing - June 1, 2015) to be released in a few months.

Here is the publisher description of Louise Brooks, Detective: "A fictional story centered on actress Louise Brooks, this graphic novel by Rick Geary is spun around her actual brief meteoric career as a smoldering film actress who popularized bangs. Geary fantasizes about her coming back to her home town of Wichita where she becomes intrigued by a murder involving a friend, a famous reclusive writer and a shady beau. Not before she gets herself in great danger will she emerge with the solution the police fail to grasp."

Another of Rick Geary's earlier books is of related interest and also well worth checking out. Famous Players: The Mysterious Death of William Desmond Taylor (NBM Publishing) was published in 2009. Check it out.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cineteca di Bologna announces a multi-year project to restore Buster Keaton works

Big news for fans of Buster Keaton....

After dedicating over a decade to Charlie Chaplin's films and archive, Cineteca di Bologna and l'Immagine Ritrovata have announced they will restore Buster Keaton's silent films. The first restorations will be presented next summer in Bologna during the XXIX edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival.

The unforgettable works of another great master of silent cinema will be brought to life again thanks to Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna: after devoting more than a decade to Charles Chaplin, now Buster Keaton's entire silent works will be the focus of a multi-year restoration project which will allow audiences from around the world to rediscover Buster Keaton's genius.

The first restorations of the Keaton Project, launched and promoted by Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection, will be presented during next edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato festival (June 27th through July 4th): the 1920 short comedy One Week, which encapsulates perfectly the American collective imagination of prefabricated housing and Sherlock Jr. made in 1924 and listed in by the "Time" as one of the best 100 films ever.

Louise Brooks admired Buster Keaton (a fellow Kansas-native), and wrote about him.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks and Wurlitza screens tonight in the UK

Included on the embedded image below are the remaining dates on Wurlitza's Diary of a Lost Girl tour. Wurlitza performs tonight, February 28th at The Zone in Downberry, England.

You can learn more about the band and their music by checking out the previous post on this Louise Brooks Society blog, by visiting the band's Facebook page, or listening to their soundtrack via Soundcloud.  The band and their new CD were also the subject of an article in a local newspaper, the Plymouth Herald, and website, Tuned Cornwall.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wurlitza releases new soundtrack to Louise Brooks film

Wurlitza, a five piece band from South East Cornwall (in the UK), have released a CD featuring their new soundtrack to the 1929 Louise Brooks' film, Diary of a Lost Girl. The band has been specializing in adding live soundtracks to silent films since 2006.

Here is what the band's website says about their new release: "New for 2014, after two years in the making, is Wurlitza’s soundtrack for GW Pabst’s 1929 movie Diary of a Lost Girl. Fast moving and at times shocking, Diary of a Lost Girl traces the story of Thymian, played by the mesmerising screen idol Louise Brooks, as her life yoyos between episodes of lightness and innocence, darkness and despair. Moments of great comedy involve life in a reform school for fallen girls headed by a villainous nun, and a modern dance lesson with an incompetent buffoon. This gripping film defies convention, confounding expectations as joy and compassion are found in the most unlikely places. Repertoire for the soundtrack of Diary of a Lost Girl includes music by Django Reinhardt, Fun Boy Three, Portishead, Wire, Chopin, Leonard Cohen, Madonna and Grace Jones."

The new CD is available now. Recorded live at Goodmerry Farm Studios in Cornwall, it features 20 tracks from Wurlitza's Diary of A Lost Girl soundtrack. It will be on sale at upcoming performances (see list below), or you can order by post by emailing to £8 (+£2 p+p). The band also accepts PayPal.

Saturday 28th February 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. A Film Kitchen event in association with Carn to Cove at The Zone, Downderry, Cornwall.

Saturday 14th March 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. A Calstock Arts event at The Old Chapel, Calstock, Cornwall

Sunday 22nd March 2015 - Diary of a Lost Girl. Wadebridge Cinema, Cornwall. 7:30pm.

You can learn more about the band and their music on their Facebook page, or listen to the soundtrack via Soundcloud.  You can also listen below.

Band members are Dave Stroud - bass guitar; Lizzy Stroud - piano/keyboard, clarinet, vocals; Lil Lanyon - guitar, vocals; Claire Abbott - drums/percussion, vocals.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks screens in Toronto, Canada

The Revue Cinema in Toronto, Canada has announced it will be screening the classic 1928 silent, Beggars of Life, on Sunday, March 8th. The film, which will be shown with live musical accompaniment at 4:15 pm, stars Louise Brooks. Here is what the Revue Cinema website says:

"Celebrate International Women's Day in style with our ultra-rare screening of Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks (1928), starring the silent era's most memorable rebel, Louise Brooks!

Brooks plays Nancy, who, on the lam after killing her abusive guardian, disguises her identity in hope of escaping to Canada. Tucking those signature bangs under a cap (don't worry -- they fall out from time to time) she passes as a boy among a gang of rail-riding hobos, where the threat of being revealed a killer takes a back seat to a more pressing danger: being exposed as a woman!

Co-starring Wallace Beery and Richard Arlen, Beggars of Life is frequently cited as Brooks's best American film, and under the direction of "Wild Bill" Wellman (Wings), it is no wonder.

See it the way it was meant to be seen - at the historic Revue Cinema with live musical accompaniment performed by Jordan Klapman.

Beggars of Life is preceded by the short film Suspense (1913), directed by one cinema's greatest pioneers, Lois Weber.

This special event is part of 'IT GIRLS: Sirens of the Silent Screen', Silent Revue’s on-going tribute to the first ladies of Hollywood.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in Rochester, NY

The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York has announced it will be screening the classic 1929 German silent, Pandora's Box, on April 21st. The film, which will be shown in the Dryden Theater at 8pm, stars Louise Brooks as Lulu. Here is what the GEH website says:

(Die Büchse der Pandora, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Germany 1929, 133 min., 35mm)

"For James Card, there was only one Louise Brooks. The cineaste referred to his lifelong infatuation as an emotional devotion that had begun at the age of 14, calling Brooks an inadvertent femme fatale who could in no way be coquettish or even deliberately seductive—ideal for the role of Lulu in Pandora’s Box, heroine of Frank Wedekind’s beloved German plays. An innocently immoral sexual predator, Lulu discards and destroys men as she tries to get ahead, until she meets Jack the Ripper. The steamy story is a tangled web of intrigue and deception—the camera work, sets, and direction brilliantly economical, powerfully simple."

“Pabst’s was the keyhole system: I’ll put your eye to the keyhole—become a voyeur of this scene and make of it what you will. A viewer is forced to participate intellectually in a Pabst film.” – James Card

Live piano by Philip C. Carli.