Friday, June 30, 2006

BFI tribute?

Vochi, a Louise Brooks fan in the UK, wrote to me to say he had emailed the British Film Institute to enquire about their plans for the Louise Brooks centenary. Their response was "We are planning a Louise Brooks programme at the NFT for December this year and there maybe a new print  of one of her best known films screening across the UK. Watch the BFI site for further details."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More bibliographic updates

Yesterday, I went through microfilm of the Reading Eagle (from Reading, Pennsylvania) and Atlanta Georgian (from Atlanta, Georgia). I found a bunch of Denishawn clippings and a few film reviews in these publications. I also went through some reels of the Denver Express (from Denver, Colorado), but strangley found nothing. It was a pretty slight paper. A few other interlibrary loan requests came back "negative" - meaning I won't receive them because the institutions which were supposed to have them will not lend them (for whatever reason). This happens sometimes. . . . I was also able to go through issues of the Olean Evening Times (from Olean, New York) and Lincoln Star (from Lincoln, Nebraska) - each of which yielded Denishawn articles and reviews. Citations have been added to the bibliographies for all of the material I found.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

LB letter for sale

A letter from Louise Brooks is for sale on eBay. The sellers are asking alot. . . .  too much for me! Nevertheless, do visit the auction page to read the letter.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Diary of a Lost Girl shows in Palo Alto, CA

Diary of a Lost Girl will be shown at the historic Stanford Theater in Palo Alto, California on August 4th. For more info, visit the theater's website.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever

Yesterday, I finished reading Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, the new book by Peter Cowie. I had been sent the page proofs, because I will be writing something about the book prior to publication. (The book is due in stores October 31st - a couple of weeks prior to the 100th anniversary of Louise Brooks' birth. BTW: want to get a signed copy? Contact the Booksmith in San Francisco. They will be hosting an event with the author in early November.)

This new book is heavily illustrated (it is a coffee table book), though it contains a long essay on Brooks, her life, and her films. (I think Cowie distills the myth of Louise Brooks = the myth of Lulu - in a satisfactory way.) Most fascinating to me are the anecdotes about Brooks (Cowie visited with her in Rochester) and the excerpts from the correspondence that Cowie and Brooks had over the course of a number of years. Page proofs are a little "rough" - I can't wait to see a finished copy. I think Louise Brooks fans will like this book.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

ILL findings

Only a few inter-library loans have arrived lately, and during my last couple of trips to the library, I looked at only a few newspapers and magazines on microfilm. These included the San Antonio Express and Minneapolis Daily Star, as well as the Motion Picture Herald. I found some interesting material on Brooks' later films (from the 1930's) in the Motion Picture Herald - a trade journal.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Female of the Species

I just found out about this series in the Westwood Village area of Los Angeles at the Armand Hammer museum.

The Female of the Species

Friday, Jul 7  at 8pm
Pandora's Box
Pandora's Box is the tragedy of Lulu, an irresistible femme fatale whose sexuality entices and eventually destroys the men around her. The film made Louise Brooks an icon of the Jazz Age.
Friday, Jul 14  at 8pm
Siren of the Tropics
Josephine Baker makes her debut in this silent film as Papitou, a young native girl from the tropics who follows her love interest to Paris and becomes a music hall performer.
Friday, Jul 21  at 8pm
Piccadilly
Anna May Wong mesmerizes as Shosho, the scullery maid who becomes an overnight dance sensation in London, in this simple tale of ambition, desire, and jealousy.
Friday, Jul 28 at 8pm
Salome
After Russian actress Alla Nazimova rose to stardom, she began producing scandalous and experimental films, like Salome, that were tapped as monumental failures at the time, but are seen today as artistic achievements.
Friday, Aug 4  at 8pm
It
Clara Bow stars as a shop girl whose romantic relationship goes awry when local rumors pin her as an unwed mother. Influential in redefining the mores of sexuality on screen, Bow became the 'It' girl and one of the most famous flappers of the '20s.
Friday, Aug 11 at 8pm
Metropolis
A science fiction classic, Metropolis is set in a futurist urban dystopia where humans are divided into the thinkers and the workers. When the leader of the workers falls for the son of the thinkers, order unfolds into chaos and revolution begins.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Aldeburgh Festival

I just found out - the Aldeburgh Festival in England will be mounting a program called "Lulu and Louise" on June 22nd - that's tomorrow! The festival will be showing Pandora's Box and Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu. The festival was begun by composer Benjamin Britten shortly after World War II. This year marks the 59th annual event. For more info see the festival website at www.aldeburgh.co.uk/

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Yorker illustration

FYI: There is a very nifty illustration of Louise Brooks (in a scene from Pandora's Box) in the June 19 isue of the New Yorker. See page 24.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Box Office coverage from indieWIRE

According to an article by Steven Rosen on indieWIRE, the Pandora's Box screening at the Film Forum in NYC is doing well.

The second-place film on this week's iWBOT did $9,950 at New York's Film Forum -- which frequently is a launch pad for movies that rank well on this chart. But that figure is especially good for Kino Releasing's "Pandora's Box," since it's a 77-year-old silent film. This re-release, a newly struck print from a negative at the George Eastman House, is part of the centennial celebration of the birth of "Pandora" star Louise Brooks, whose role as the Jazz Age free-spirit and prostitute Lulu in G.W. Pabst's film has come to be regarded as one of the most important in cinema. Her bobbed hairstyle has been equally influential.
"It was a chance to see Brooks at her most dazzling that turned out the crowd," said Gary Palmucci, Kino's general manager for theatrical sales. "It's really about her," he said. "She's just jumping off the screen with her effervescence and sexuality. She's so bubbly and so voracious at the same time."
Palmucci traces the revival of interest in Brooks to a New Yorker article by the late critic Kenneth Tynan from 1979, "The Girl With the Black Helmet." In 1983, Kino first re-released "Pandora" on a double bill with Brooks' "Diary of a Lost Girl" at Manhattan's old Regency Theatre. Now this new print of "Pandora" -- on its own -- will play at Cambridge's Brattle Theatre, Hartford's Cinestudio, San Francisco's Castro Theatre and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A DVD release also is slated for later this year.
I hope all those who not yet seen Pandora's Box on the big screen take the opportunity to view one of  these screenings.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musical

On Saturday July 15th, a new 35mm print of Pandora's Box will be shown at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, as part of the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. (See www.silentfilm.org for details). Also showing earlier that day is a French film, Au Bonheur Des Dames (1930). I haven't seen that film - but it looks very promising.

I will be introducing Pandora's Box. I have also been asked to program a short musical selection to be played in the theater prior to Pandora's Box and Au Bonheur Des Dames. I plan to put together a Louise Brooks-themed set and a French musical set (featuring Parisian music of the 20's and early 30's) - each lasting about 25 minutes. There will be some musical rarities to be heard, and some selections from RadioLulu. If you are there, it will be a treat for the ears. I promise.

Ooodles of pulchitrude and other clippings

Despite this being a national holiday (Groundhogs Day) for some, I spent the morning at the San Francisco Public Library. A couple of inter-library loans were waiting for me. I had requested microfilm of two newspapers from Springfield, Missouri in hopes of tracking down reviews of the Denishawn performance there in January, 1924. The Springfield Republican turned-out to be a goldmine of articles, images, advertisements, and a review. The paper ran six articles in advance of the performance, and each carried a picture eithor of Ruth St. Denis or of the Denishawn company. One depicted Louise Brooks. Very nifty! TheSpringfield Daily Leader, on the other hand, did not run a review. And only ran two short articles on the Denishawn company on the page devoted to "Automobile News." Very odd!

I also found some Denishawn material in the Times-Union, from Albany, New York. Denishawn performed there in April, 1924. And this would be one of Brooks' last performances with the company. The Times-Union ran a review, and article in advance, some ads, and a write-up in Marie Avery Myers local column, "Dramatic Driftwood." All together nothing outstanding, but good to have for the record.

Along with the Denishawn-period microfilm, I also requested reels from late 1925 and early 1926 in hopes of scoring some film reviews from Albany. Unfortunately, the Times-Union (a Hearst paper ?) was a third rate publication. I found advertisements, listings and very brief notices for three Brooks' films - though they are hardly worth citing in the bibliographies. The problem with the Times-Union was that it just was not a very good newspaper, editorially speaking. I've seen better papers from much smaller towns.

However, while scanning the September, 1925 Times-Union for material on a local screening of The Street of Forgotten Men, I did come across a number of articles on the Miss America beauty contest, which was then being held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (The contest was the background for Brooks' second film,The American Venus.) "Prettiest Girls Vie for Title" one article was headlined, as it detailed the field of beauties. Others spoke of the controversy surrounding the contest. "Miss Pittsburgh" and "Miss Erie" withdrew from the affair, charging that two of the entrants were professional beauties. One of those two entrants turned out to be "Miss Manhattan" - Dorothy Knapp, who was Brooks' friend in the Ziegfeld Follies. Others objected "to an attempt which they said was made by another judge, a motion picture producer, to compel them to sign contracts to appear in the movies if crowned Miss America." Hmmmm.

One article I found mentions a personal appearance by actors Ernest Torrence and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., each of whom had roles in The American Venus. The contest, of course, was won by San Francisco's own "Miss California," Fay Lanphier. She would star in The American Venus. Hmmmm. While looking through all this interesting material, I also came across this captioned photo. It is offered here for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On this day in 1926

In his review of The American Venus, the critic of the New York World declared "I do believe that Louise Brooks, who appears as Miss Bayport, is better looking than any of the other brunettes now acting in films."

Eureka - Hélène Caron

I found it! And at long last, a minor Louise Brooks mystery has been solved . . . . In the early sound film Prix de Beauté, Louise Brooks is seen singing "Je n'ai qu'un amour, c'est toi," a charming chanson of love and jealousy. As she did not speak French, Brooks' dialogue is dubbed. And the song she is seen singing at the end of the film is actually sung by someone else. There has been some speculation as to whom that performer might be. The film itself does not credit anyone. And, in his detailed biography, Barry Paris does not state who sings. Some have suggested Edith Piaf. Now, I am 99% sure that Hélène Caron is the singer who performs "Je n'ai qu'un amour, c'est toi" in Prix de Beauté.

In December of last year, while searching the internet, I came upon a compact disc of French music from the Thirties. I ordered a copy from Europe, and it arrived today. The disc contains "Je n'ai qu'un amour, c'est toi" by Hélène Caron, and it is a match for the version found in Prix de Beauté. Additionally, the linear notes state the song is from the film (as well as indicates that this recording was released on the Parlaphone label). "Je n'ai qu'un amour, c'est toi" is a truely charming song. And, as this is one of three versions I have found recordings of, a perhaps popular song in France in 1930. I plan on adding this newly discovered recording to RadioLulu sometime soon.

I did a Google search on Hélène Caron, but turned up nothing. Does anyone know anything about her? Did she ever record anything else?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pandora's Box (Unrated)

More and more articles about LB. This  brief review appears in today's edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Pandora's Box (Unrated)
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst. With Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner. (100 min.)
2006 is the centennial of actress Louise Brooks, and to honor it, her greatest film, "Pandora's Box," is being released in a new 35-mm print in New York's Film Forum before being taken around the country. Brooks was a silent-era starlet of minor stature before appearing, improbably but unforgettably, in two Pabst classics in 1929. In "Pandora" she plays Lulu, the blithe vixen with a boyish bob haircut who drives men to their doom. Brooks's erotic appeal combined clean-cut wholesomeness (she was raised in Kansas) with a devastating sensuality. Happy 100th! Grade: A
- P.R.
If anyone else spots any other articles, please let me know. There is most likely going to be a flurry of material coming out of New York City.

More Pandora's Box articles

Pandora's Box is showing at Film Forum in New York City, and articles are popping up everywhere in the local media. Here are two more of note: "Loving Lulu: A Silent, sexy Louise Brooks at her best" by Armond White (from New York Press) and "Pandora's Box" by Jurgen Fauth & Mark Dermansky (from About.com). I would love to hear from anyone who attends a screening!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New York Times: Then & Now

Today, the New York Times ran an article on Pandora's Box, which is starting a two-week run at the Film Forum in New York City. The new article, titled "Louise Brooks, a 'Pandora' who Transcended Categories," can be found here. That article links to the newspaper's original 1929 review of the film, titled "A Disconnected Melodrama." That old article can be found here. Ah what a difference three quarters of a century make!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Female Trouble: The bewitching Louise Brooks

The Village Voice has an article by J. Hoberman on Louise Brooks and Pandora's Box, which is about to open a two week run in NYC. It mostly reiterates earlier material on the film and the actress, but it is interesting as a kind of "state of the art" review. The article can be found here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Summer events


June 16 - June 29, 2006: A new 35mm print of Pandora's Box screens at FilmForum in New York City.  (more info)
June 19, 2006: Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu will be screened on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Check local listing for exact times. 
July 7 - July 9, 2006: A new 35mm print of Pandora's Box will be shown at Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (more info)
July 12 - July 18, 2006: A new 35mm print of Pandora's Box will be shown at CineStudio in Hartford, Conneticut.  (more info)
July 15, 2006: A new 35mm print of Pandora's Box will be shown at the historic Castro Theater, as part of the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Thomas Gladysz, director of the LBS, and artist/filmmaker and one time Wichita, Kansas resident Bruce Conner will introduce the film.  (more info)
August 2006: The Silent Theater company of Chicago will probably stage their version of Lulu in New York City as part of the city-wide Fringe Festival. Details to come.
August 30, 2006: As part of their Silent Film Series, the Colorado Chautauqua Association will screen Diary of a Lost Girl in the Boulder, Colorado.

Diary of a Lost Girl in Boulder, CO

As part of their Silent Film Series, the Colorado Chautauqua Association will screen Diary of a Lost Girl in the Boulder, Colorado. The screening will take place on August 30th.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Pandora's Box at Film Forum

Jennifer emailed to let me know that tickets go on sale tomorrow for the screening of Pandora's Box at Film Forum in New York City. The film, a new 35 mm print, will be shown for two weeks. Check out this page for further information.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

In Greek

My friend Gianluca (from Italy) sent me this link to a long article about Louise Brooks on a Greek website. It looks to be an article about the actress. Are therer any readers of this blog who read Greek and would be able to suggest the gist of the article ?

Monday, June 5, 2006

Louise Brooks: Looking For Lulu

Amanda alerted me to this webpage about Louise Brooks: Looking For Lulu on the Turner Classic Movies website. They are showing the documentary Monday, June 19 as part of their Leading Ladies celebration. Check it out. Thanx Amanda!

Sunday, June 4, 2006

New soundtrack

This brief article appeared in today's Ann Arbor News

AASO records soundtrack for DVD of silent film

BY JENN MCKEE
News Arts Writer
Recently, for four days, more than 20 members of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and director Gillian Anderson holed up in the Michigan Theater to record a musical soundtrack for the forthcoming DVD version of Georg Wilhelm Pabst's 1929 silent film, "Pandora's Box.''
The German film - based on a play by F. Wedekind, which tells the tragic story of a dancer and prostitute named Lulu - catapulted its star, Louise Brooks, to international acclaim and made her an icon of the Jazz Age.
I wonder if any of the members of the orchestra knew that some of Brooks' silent films were shown at this historic theater in the 1920's?

Saturday, June 3, 2006

On the cover

A vintage poster for A Social Celebrity - featuring Louise Brooks - is on the cover of the June issue of Classic Images.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Author events at SF Silent Film Fest

Along with a great line-up of films, the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival includes a big list of authors who will be meeting with the public and signing books between films throughout the course of the weekend festival. These book signings are a great way for fans and silent film buffs to meet the writers, critics, biographers and film historians who are helping to keep silent film alive. This year's line-up is certainly one of the best yet in the 11-year history of the festival! 

The Booksmith - ­ San Francisco's leading independent bookstore and a longtime supporter of the festival, ­ will be on hand hosting the signings and selling books, including many new releases! 
The booktable is located in the Castro Theater lobby. Admission is by festival ticket. Here is the author line-up (subject to change)
SATURDAY JULY 15

HARRY CAREY, JR. following Bucking Broadway
signing Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company
-- Harry Carey, Jr. has appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows. The son of actress Olive Carey and silent film star Harry Carey, the younger Carey entered films after World War II when he was given a chance to work with his father in Red River (1948). After his father's death, director John Ford gave Carey Jr. a leading role in the film Ford dedicated to Carey Sr., 3 Godfathers (1948). As a full-fledged member of the John Ford Stock Company, Carey Jr. appeared in many of Ford's greatest Westerns - including a number with John Wayne. He also starred in a TV series-within-a-series, The Adventures of Spin and Marty, which aired as part of The Mickey Mouse Club.

JOSEPH McBRIDE following Bucking Broadway
signing Searching for John Ford
-- Joseph McBride is a film historian and critic whose numerous books include Hawks on HawksFilmmakers on Filmmaking and Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. A former reporter for Daily Variety, he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. October will see the publication of his new book Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?

JACK TILLMANY following Au bonheurs des dames
signing Theaters of San Francisco
-- Jack Tillmany's Theaters of San Francisco is based on his personal archive collected during a 30-year career in cinema management. He is the former owner of the Gateway Cinema in San Francisco and a revival programming pioneer.

JIM VAN BUSKIRK following Au bonheurs des dames
signing Celluloid San Francisco: The Film Lover's Guide to Bay Area Movie Locations
-- Jim Van Buskirk is a librarian at the San Francisco Public Library. He is the coauthor of Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Cultures in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has written articles for a wide range of publications.

CARI BEAUCHAMP following Sparrows
signing Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary
-- Cari Beauchamp is the author of Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood, editor of Anita Loos Rediscovered: Film Treatments and Fiction by Anita Loos, and coauthor of Hollywood on the Riviera. She is also an Emmy nominated documentary film writer.

WENDY L. MARSHALL following Sparrows
signing William Beaudine: From Silents to Television
-- In her detailed biography, author Wendy L. Marshall ( the granddaughter of William Beaudine) chronicles the director's rise through the ranks (he started as an assistant to D.W Griffith), his many triumphs (SparrowsLittle Annie Rooney), his fall from fame and his prolific work in television. As a child extra, Marshall watched Beaudine direct the television show Lassieand a number of films for Walt Disney. William Beaudine: From Silents to Television was named one of the best books of 2005 by Classic Images.

BRUCE CONNER following Pandora's Box
signing 2000 BC The Bruce Conner Story
-- Bruce Conner grew up in Wichita, Kansas - where he almost encountered Louise Brooks. In the late 1950s, he began making short movies which established him as one of the seminal figures in independent, avant-garde film-making. Conner's first film A Movie (1958), a visual collage created from bits of B-movies, newsreels and other footage, has been listed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. His assemblages, drawings, photographs and collages have been exhibited around the world.
SUNDAY JULY 16
BILL CASSARA following Laurel and Hardy program
signing Edgar Kennedy: Master of the Slow Burn
-- Bill Cassara founded The Midnight Patrol chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the Laurel and Hardy appreciation society. He has also served on the board of the Monterey County Film Commission. Edgar Kennedy: Master of the Slow Burn is his first book.

SCOTT O'BRIEN following Laurel and Hardy program
signing Kay Francis: I Can't Wait to Be Forgotten
-- Scott O'Brien is a lifelong film buff whose interest in Kay Francis began in 1973. He has made use of his Masters in Library Science degree by writing articles for film publications and guest lecturing. Last year, he introduced two Kay Francis films at the Danger and Despair Noir Festival in San Francisco.

DAVID WALLACE following The Girl with the Hatbox
signing Dream Palaces of Hollywood's Golden Age
-- David Wallace is the author of Lost Hollywood and its equally popular follow-up Hollywoodland. His most recent book is Exiles in Hollywood, which tells the story of European artists and actors in Los Angeles of the `30s and `40s. Wallace has been hailed by columnist Liz Smith as "the maestro of entertainment history."

JOHN BENGTSON following The Unholy Three
signing Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood through the Films of Charlie Chaplin
-- John Bengtson is a Bay Area business lawyer and film historian, and also the author of the widely acclaimed Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

A kimono or Japanese pajamas

This little seen shot of Louise Brooks is for sale on eBay. The photo was taken by Eugene Richee. (Its interesting how many times Brooks was photographed in a kimono or Japanese pajamas.)
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