Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Robert Bly photoplay edition


I hosted a poetry reading tonight for Robert Bly. Afterwords, I asked him to sign a few books, including my copy of The Saga of Gosta Berling, by Selma Lagerlof. (Though not so much read today, Lagerlof was a popular Swedish writer at the turn of the 20th century and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. This novel, her most popular, was made into a film in 1924 by director Mauritz Stiller.)
I own this book because Greta Garbo is pictured on the cover. When I presented the book to Bly, he did not recognize it and said it was not his translation. I showed him his name inside the book. He acknowledged it was in fact his translation, but stated that he had never seen this edition before. It turns out this copy is an English language translation published in Sweden in 1982. I can't remember where I obtained this copy. Most likely, it was at a second hand book store in San Francisco or Berkeley.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Peggy Hopkins Joyce biography

Finished reading Gold Digger, by Constance Rosenblum. This excellent biography, originally published in 2000, tells the story of the "outrageous life and times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce" - a somewhat minor stage and film star of the Twenties and Thirties who led a rather interesting life. She was, certainly, one of the leading personalities of her time. "They don't make courtesans like Peggy Hopkins Joyce anymore - or so worthy of rediscovery - and they don't make biographies any more stylish and definitive than this one." - Barry Paris 

Friday, June 11, 2004

Audience fading for repertory movie theaters

San Francisco Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle has written a really interesting article on the future of repertory movie theaters. Though largely focussed on San Francisco, the article has national implications. This article is about the kind of local movie theaters that show silent films and pre-code films and the films that readers of this blog care about. Check out the article here.

Friday, June 4, 2004

Chicago research


Returned the other day from a work-related trip to Chicago, where I was attending the annual booksellers convention. While in the "Windy City," I spent some time researching Louise Brooks.
I spent a day and a half - about ten hours - at the Chicago Public Library. This is my third trip to the CPL. This time, I managed to more or less complete my survey of Chicago newspapers on microfilm. The papers I've looked at include the Chicago AmericanChicago Daily JournalChicago Daily NewsChicago Evening Post,Chicago Herald-Examiner, and Chicago Tribune. I found additional reviews for Brooks' Chicago-area Denishawn performances, as well as substantial coverage of her nite club appearances in the 1930's. I also dug up a number of film reviews, as well as a handful of other miscellaneous articles, including front page coverage of Brooks marriage to Eddie Sutherland! All together, a good haul. (I also browsed the stacks, where I found a bit of interesting material in a few different books.)
I spent about seven hours at the library at the University of Chicago. There, I was able to look at rare German, Soviet and Japanese film periodicals from the late 1920's and early 1930's. (The Russian and German periodicals were on microfilm. The Japanese film periodical - Movie Times - was a reproduction of the original in bound volumes.) I found a handful of illustrated articles in each periodical! The Russian and Japanese periodicals are especially rare - and it was exciting to actually browse them and find pictures and articles about Brooks and her films.
The University of Chicago library has a lot of microfilm, and I wasn't able to look at everything I wanted. I did spend a little time looking at other publications, including the Daily Worker (this socialist newspaper based in New York City yielded a couple of brief articles), the Charleston News and Courier (found a Denishawn review and a film article in this South Carolina paper), and the Joliet Herald News (found some advertisements for screenings in the 1920's in this Chicago-area paper). Citations for these and all of the above material has been added to the LBS bibliographies.
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