Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sacramento

Just back from Sacramento, and my research trip to the California State Library . . . . I went through a few more reels of the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA. Impressively, this college newspaper ran signed reviews of then new films by student-journalists. These pieces were pretty good - extensive and thoughtful, and the equal of reviews found in many other big city newspapers. I scavenged three reviews, as well as a smattering of articles on other films. About Louise Brooks, UCLA student Louise Kreisman declared "she excells in flippancy and heartlessness" in her write-up of the Menjou vehicle, Evening Clothes.While Doris G. Taylor described the actress as sleek and graceful - but only adequate in her role of the Canary in the murder mystery based on the van Dine novel. And interestingly, the piece on Now We're in the Air has a bit of an interview with Wallace Beery about the role he plays in that film! Another curiousity I noticed was a May, 1931 advertisement for the nearby Beverly theater, which on a particular Saturday was running an odd double bill of It Pays to Advertise and White Hell of Pitz Palu (the German mountain film directed by G.W. Pabst and featuring Leni Riefenstahl). And yet another curiousity was the fact that the great Jazz pianist Art Tatum was one of the opening stage acts for When You're in Love, the 1937 Grace Moore musical in which Louise Brooks had a bit part.

I also looked as the Venice Evening Vanguard (from Venice Beach), which proved to be a goldmine of articles, reviews and advertisements. I found something on every American Brooks' film from The American Venus (1926) to It Pays to Advertise (1931). There was a nifty caricature of the actress from Love Em and Leave Em, an article about director Alfred Santell which noted the recognition he received for his work on Just Another Blonde, an unusual staged portrait of Brooks, James Hall and Richard Arlen from Rolled Stockings, and an article about Beggars of Life which mentioned that live election results (for the 1928 Presidential race) would be announced during the screening. One other article I found was a ridiculous puff piece, "Miss Brooks Almost Inspiration for Popular Song," which tried to associate the actress with the song with the refrain "five foot two, eyes of blue, and oh, what those eyes can't do . . . ." The author of the article, however, admitted that Brooks' eyes were in fact dark brown.

Besides the Daily Bruin and Venice Evening Vanguard, I also continued my day-by-day look though the film and society columns of the Hollywood Daily Citizen. I managed to get through a few months, but didn't find anything mentioning Brooks - this time. I will continue my survey on my next visit to Sacramento, July 1st. (Then, I also plan to tackle the Bakersfield newspaper and perhaps the Riverside newspaper.)

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