Thursday, September 23, 2004

"Oh, Canada"


Canada is one area of research I have been pursueing as it relates to Louise Brooks.
The Denishawn Dance company performed in a handful of Canadian cities during their 1922/1923 and 1923/1924 tours - the two seasons Brooks was a member of that dance group. Over the last year and a half, I have managed to acquire a few reviews of performances in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec. I hope to acquire more, but the process of obtaining microfilm of newspapers from north of the border is slow and a little complicated. Few American libraries, seemingly, own Canadian newspapers on microfilm from that time period. (Any Canadian citizen who reads this and wants to help is encouraged to send me an email.)
I have also, slowly, been collecting reviews and articles about Brooks' films which appeared in Canadian papers in the 1920's and 1930's. So far, I have managed to gather a handful of reviews from each of the following periodicals: Calgary HeraldManitoba Free PressToronto StarToronto GlobeMontreal Gazette, and Ottawa Citizen. And again, I have plans to acquire more in the coming year.
It's interesting to get the Canadian perspective! A brief write-up in the Toronto Star from 1931, for example, is one of the very few newspaper items I have ever found regarding Windy Riley Goes Hollywood, then and now one of the most obscure films in which Brooks appeared.
Perhaps the most intrigueing item I located was an article in the Toronto Star from 1927 which told the story of a young Canadian swimmer - a star athlete - who went to Hollywood to test for motion pictures.
He recounted his experiences - visiting the studios, having make-up applied, the glare of the bright lights, etc... and, his chance encounter with a friendly young actress named Louise Brooks. Two long paragraphs are then given over to their meeting, his observations of her character and appearance, and the "love scene" he had to play with her. From the description of Brooks' hair as being in ringlets, I assume their encounter took place at the time of Brooks was making Evening Clotheswith Adolphe Menjou.
That article, and others from Canada, are cited in the various bibliographies on the LBS website.

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