Monday, July 31, 2006

First review


The first review of Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever appeared in today's issue of Publisher's Weekly. The review can be found here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Gaze of Admiration

Here's another interesting clipping which I came across this week at the library. It is an advertisement from Havana, Cuba from 1926. The figure in the ad is a Louise Brooks look-alike. I especially like the text - "the gaze of admiration always lingers on that which is beautiful and distinctive . . . ."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pandora's Box DVD

This week, I received an email from Criterion, the company which will release Pandora's Box on DVD here in the United States. I had emailed them asking when the disc would arrive, and whether or not there would be any bonus material. The fellow who wrote to me stated that he could only say that Criterion was working on it, and couldn't say when it might be released (because they were still working on it) nor if any bonus material would be included (because they were still working on it). So, that's the non-news!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Decent Girls Plea for Chance Against Flappers


Came across this clipping while looking through microfilm and thought everyone might enjoy it. The article dates from 1924.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nice and expensive

A rather nice, though expensive, coming attraction glass slide for the 1928 Louise Brooks film, Beggars of Life, is for sale oneBay. Such slides were shown in theaters during the teens, twenties, and thirties to attraction attention to forthcoming films. I'm not sure where this one came from, but one can tell that Beggars was going to be shown on Saturday, March 16th (most likely 1929).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pandora at Pordenone . . . And Vienna too

Word has just arrived that the Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Sacile, Italy will show G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box, with a newly commissioned orchestral score. The festival takes place October 7 - 14th. Who wants to go ?

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I have also heard that some sort of Louise Brooks retrospective will be taking place in Vienna, Austria later this year. Details to come . . . . Don't forget to check the Louise Brooks centenary page for the latest info. The page can be found at www.pandorasbox.com/features/centenary.html

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kylie

According to the British website metro.co.uk, the Australian-born singer Kylie will be changing her look. "Great news for fans of Kylie ' her UK dates may have sold out in minutes but fans are in for a treat as I reveal she is planning various stage and theatrical looks for her latest stage show, including a nod to the 1920s via Louise Brooks & Jean Harlow."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Movie Made America


Recently finished reading Movie Made America, by Robert Sklar. Its a "cultural history of American movies." Its also one of the best, and most interesting histories of film I have ever read. Highly recommended!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More in Film of the Golden Age

The previous issue of Films of the Golden Age contained an illustrated article on Louise Brooks (by the acclaimed children's book author Jan Wahl). I hope everyone got a copy. It's a swell article.

The current issue, dated Summer 2006, contains three references to the actress, or her films. The first is a letter to the editor by author Dan Navarro commenting on Wahl's piece. The second is an article on Hollywood's Geraghty family. Thomas Geraghty co-wrote the screenplay for the 1926 Brooks' film It's the Old Army Game, and Brooks was acquianted with his wife, actress Carmelita (though that is not mentioned). The third reference comes in an interview with author Richard Lamparski, author of the well known Whatever Became of . . . ? series of books. In the interview, Lamparski comments, "I couldn't have used any of them in the old series. People didn't want to know the things in these stories about their stars. Louise Brooks told me that people don't want the truth about the stars." Lamparski had profiled Brooks in the third book in the series.

[ The magazine also contains an advertisement for a new book on Ford Sterling, who appeared in two films with Brooks. I am looking forward to that book. ]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Incomparable song styles of Louise Brooks

The incomparable song styles of Louise Brooks - cocktail lounge singer in the Chicago area circa 1968. Distinctly different. Who knew?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bibliographic notes

A few inter-library loans have come in recently - though just as many were "declined" as there were no libraries or archives who had the material I requested. The publications I looked at included two small-town newspapers from Missouri, the St. Joseph News-Press and the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian - each of which yielded Denishawn articles and reviews. The Cape Girardeau was especially rich in material - there was even a large front page article on the Denishawn dancers on the day of their performance, and an even larger front page review the day after. I also got some Denishawn articles and reviews from the Niagra Falls Gazette. I also found reviews for a few films in this New York newspaper. I also looked through Nyugat, a publication from Budapest, Hungary - but found nothing. And, my request for the Ottumwa Daily Courier was declined. Does anyone who read this blog live near that Iowa town?

Lately, I have spent a bit of time adding to and updating the bibliographies for The Street of Forgotten Men and Just Another Blonde, as I have acquired a number of scattered articles, reviews and advertisements from other sources.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Anti-Chaplin cartoon

And here's yet another interesting item I ran across at the library last week, and anti-Chaplin cartoon from 1927.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pandoras Box at the SFSFF

I've finally recovered from an exhausting and exhilirating weekend at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. It was great fun, and it was great to meet or say hello to some of you. . . . My friend lullaberry took this picture of the Castro Theater marquee. Thanx Kasia!


Pandora's Box sold out before the Festival began. It was my great pleasure to introduce the film before a packed house - more than 1400 people. And there was only one heckler! I was also honored to introduce artist / filmmaker / Louise Brooks admirer Bruce Conner, who spoke before the film. (I came across a blog about his introduction which contains a very brief video clip.) A couple of days later, a local columnist ran this bit in theSan Francisco Chronicle.
A sellout crowd at Saturday night's screening of "Pandora's Box'' at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was tantalized and seduced by Louise Brooks, whose sexiness 77 years ago makes Jennifer Lopez look like Marge Simpson. Artist Bruce Conner, who hails from Brooks' hometown, Wichita, Kan., talked before the showing about how after Brooks' short movie career, she'd returned to Kansas, where she not only turned down his father's invitation to dance but later on took a swing at him and "walloped him hard.'' (Don't feel so smug about the exciting nightlife here; hot times in Wichita, too.)
Organist Clark Wilson's music was meticulously cued to dramatic highlights, in keeping with the emotions, historically respectful and tuneful all at once. He also shared a principle of his craft that could be useful in all sorts of situations: When in doubt, trill. 
Besides a number of Brooks fans, I had the chance to meet  the head of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York - who was on hand to introduce a couple of movies and speak about film preservation. We spoke about the Eastman House's Louise Brooks plans. I also met Sam Gill, the legendary archivist. And Hugh Munro Neely, director of the outstanding Louise Brooks documentary, Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, was also on hand. We had not seen each other in a number of years. Hugh's latest project is a documentary about Theda Bara.

I should mention that the Festival published a rather nice program with Louise Brooks on the cover. There was also a poster which featured the actress, as well as a really nifty t-shirt. The image on both the poster and the black t-shirt can be found on the festival homepage. I understand that the t-shirts were very popular. I bought two! For those wanting to read more about the Festival, a local news website, the San Francisco Sentinel , ran a long review. Check it out.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Updates

The Louise Brooks Centenary page - listing Louise Brooks events happening around the world - has been updated. I've added a a few new happenings, as well as dates and details regarding other events which I have just learned.

I will be at San Francisco Silent Film Festival (one of the very few ALL SILENT film festivals in the world!) pretty much all weekend, and thus may not have time to post any entries to this live journal. Hope to see some of you there.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I noticed this piece as well

I noticed this piece as well because it also mentions "Beggars of Life."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

German edition of Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever

I just came across this webpage, which announces the German edition of Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, by Peter Cowie. The cover varies slightly from the American edition. And the descriptive text - copied below - reads with an interest. The book will retail in Germany for 49,80 euros and according to this page, will be available on September 15 (before the title is available in the United States).
Silent movie star and femme fatale Louise Brooks, who made 24 films between 1925 and 1938, is best known for her role as Lulu in the 1929 German classic Pandora’s Box. Lulu Forever is the opulently illustrated chronique scandaleuse of this seductive, rebellious nymphet with bob. Too intelligent for Hollywood, she was rediscovered in the 1970s and has become a 20th-century icon. German edition.

Schirmer/Mosel. With introductions by Dan Brooks and Jack Garner. 240 pages, 169 duotone plates. Size: 21,5 x 31,7 cm, hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-3-8296-0257-0.
Louise Brooks - Lulu forever

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A cartoon history of James Cagney


Here is something else I came across recently, a cartoon history of James Cagney. I noticed it because it mentions Beggars of Life. (Cagney starred in the stage production of Jim Tully's book which played in New York City in 1925.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Berkeley Daily Planet article

An article on the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet. The festival is screening Pandora's Box, and thus the article mentions the film and pictures Louise Brooks. Unfortunately, the article repeats the suggestions that Louise Brooks is largely remembered today because she slept with the right film historians - a rather stupid spin on the notion of the casting couch.
Saturday night will see a screening of Pandora’s Box, a German film directed by G.W. Pabst and starring the iconic American actress Louise Brooks. Brooks was not a great success in American films and she eventually made her way to Germany where she made three films in an effort to resuscitate her career. It is those films upon which her reputation rests today. Returning to America, she found herself blacklisted and never again had much success.
But later her talent for self-promotion, including at least one romantic relationship with a film historian, led to rekindled interest in her career and helped to retroactively establish Brooks as a great and important figure of the silent era. Her credentials as a great actress may be debatable, but her charisma, beauty and sexual appeal are undeniable, and Pandora’s Box presents her in her signature role as a seductive and dangerous woman who brings ruin to those she encounters.
I would suggest that the author was only repeating things he read elsewhere.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A cartoon history of Lillian Gish

Here is something I came across recently, a cartoon history of Lillian Gish from 1931.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Kansas City screening


The Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, will be shown in the Film Vault of the Kansas City Public Library on July 24 at 6:30 p.m. (A DVD of the film will be screened.) The library, which has a regular program of classic films, is located at 14 West 10th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, see this library webpage.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

SFSFF article

There is a good article detailing the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in tomorrow's San Francisco Chronicle. The article can be found here.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Lulu in Boston

There is an article about Pandora's Box in today's Boston Globe. The article, by Wesley Morris, is titled "Decades later, 'Pandora's Box' is still enticing."
"No offense to the cast of Superman Returns, but you'd have your work cut out for you trying to find a more heroic star at a movie theater this weekend than Louise Brooks, who in 1929 showed up as Lulu, the free-spirited single woman inPandora's Box, G.W. Pabst's vital and timeless silent tragedy. It wasn't merely that Brooks, with her short, dark, razor-sharp haircut, had screen presence. She had her own gravitational pull, which even today defies resistance. And, in so many ways, that's the force powering this movie, which runs at the Brattle today through Monday in a pristine new print."
The article can be read in full here. Do check it out.

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From Boston's WeeklyDig.com (which can be found online here)

Pandora’s Box  //  July 7, 2006 - July 10, 2006

Helen of Troy’s face may have launched a thousand ships, but Louise Brooks’s Lulu made men buy expensive love nests, commit suicide, break off engagements, gamble their money away, commit brutal murders and even join the Salvation Army. And that’s just the first half hour. The Brattle is unveiling a new 35mm print of this 1929 German masterpiece, which includes a scene where Lulu encounters cinema’s very first lesbian.   $9.00

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St.
Harvard Sq.
Cambridge, MA 02138
http://www.brattlefilm.org
(617) 876 - 6837

Thursday, July 6, 2006

National Film Registry

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington seeks nominations for the  2006 National Film Registry. To be eligible for the Registry, a film  must be at least 10 years old and be "culturally, historically, or  aesthetically significant." The number of public votes a film receives is a significant factor weighed by the Librarian and members of the National Film Preservation Board during the selection process.

Congress first established the National Film Registry in the 1988  National Film Preservation Act, and most recently extended the Registry  with passage of the National Film Preservation Act of 2005 (part of the  Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005, Public Law 109-9).  Along with mandating continuing implementation of a plan to save the  American film heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress  (after reviewing public suggestions and consulting extensively with  film experts and the 44 members and alternates of the National Film  Preservation Board) to select up to 25 films each year for inclusion in  the Registry.

The 425 films chosen during the first seventeen years illustrate the  vibrant diversity of American film-making, and range from well-known classics (CasablancaThe GeneralSunrise, and A Night at the Opera)  to landmark independent, documentary and avant-garde masterpieces  (Nothing But a ManLouisiana Story, and Meshes of the Afternoon).  More information can be found at: http://www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html

To be considered for the 2006 National Film Registry, votes should be  submitted on or before September 1, 2006.  For consideration, please  forward recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to:  s...@loc.gov.    Email is strongly preferred given security issues on Capitol Hill and  resulting extensive delays in postal delivery. To submit via regular mail:

National Film Registry
Attn: Steve Leggett
Library of Congress, MBRS Division
Washington, D.C. 20540

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I am going to recommend Beggars of Life and The Show Off.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

SFSFF update

Good news for those of you planning on attending the San Francisco Silent Film Festival next weekend. Just added to Saturday night's program are rare two-strip Technicolor trailers from Louise Brooks' lost film The American Venus, which will be shown prior to Pandora's Box.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Naked Tango

The Tallahassee Film Society will be screening Naked Tango on July 14 - 15. Set in the 1920's, the film features Mathilda May as a Louise Brooks inspired character named Alba. The event is sponsored by the Tallahassee Film Society and Argentine Tango Society of Tallahassee. (There will be Tango dancing as well.) TFS will also be screening Something Wild - another film with a Louise Brooks inspired character. That screening takes place in August. For more info, check out the TFS website.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Pandora's Box screens in San Francisco

The 11th annual San Francisco Silent Film festival will take place July 14-16, 2006 at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. They have a great line-up of films and special guests (see www.silentfilm.org for more info). Among the films they will be showing is Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks. Bruce Conner, the celebrated film maker and artist, will introduce the film. Conner grew up in Wichita, Kansas - and has a story to tell about almost taking dancing lessons from the actress. (Any fans of Bruce Conner's work out there?) I will also be introducing the film, and will try to say something intelligent. (Pandora's Box will show on Saturday night.)

Louise Brooks’ fans will want to attend this event for a number of reasons. The festival will be screening a brand new 35mm print of Pandora's Box. If you've never seen it on the big screen, this is a great opportunity to do so. And, as well, there will be a special selection of Brooks-related music played in the theater prior to the screening. I will be programming the music, and can promise some rarities including the theme songs from Beggars of Life and Prix de Beaute. I believe there will also be some sort of informational slide show about Brooks prior to the screening. And that’s not all…. There will also be a very cool Festival t-shirt for sale featuring Louise Brooks. I can’t wait to get one. (For those keeping track, the glossy fliers for the event open up into a mini-poster featuring the actress.) The program for the festival should have some neat stuff inside as well.

If you want to say “hey” (please do), I will generally be positioned at the book table in the lobby throughout the festival. I am sure the table will have some LB stuff for sale – books, buttons, postcards, etc…. I have also heard from Hugh Neely, who directed the excellent documentary Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu. He will be at the festival. The table will have a few of his DVD’s for sale at reasonable prices. (I understand the Louise Brooks documentary sells for big bucks online.) Neely also directed the Clara Bow, Marion Davies and Mary Pickford films – all of which aired on TCM. The Festival is also showing Davies and Pickford films.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

On Revivals

Film critic Jeffrey M. Anderson just published an article about revivals - older films currently being shown around the country. His thoughts appeared on Cinematical - a film blog. Anderson had this to say.
I'd like to take a moment, if I may, to talk about revivals. It's a dirty word to most critics, and an even greater number of editors. "Why should we bother reviewing an old movie?" they ask. You'd think it would be a prerequisite for the job, but the sad truth is that most critics have very little notion of film history; they're out there flying blind. . . .

There are four older movies currently on the charts: Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol (1948) is on 2 screens with a $104,000 gross after 20 weeks. Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows (1969) is on 6 screens with a gross of $330,000 after 9 weeks. Claude Sautet's Classe tous risques (1960) is hanging on after 30 weeks with $91,000, and G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box (1928) just opened on 1 screen. . . . 

Right now, I can't think of a better current release than Melville's Army of Shadows (except maybe Hou Hsiao-hsien's Three Times). It's an exciting, if grim and unflagging portrait of war and the ultimate fruitlessness of it all. Its more brave and clever than nearly any war movie made since. Similarly, Pandora's Box is one of the most vivid, luminous pictures from the silent era, thanks mostly to the presence of Ms. Louise Brooks. Each time I see the film, I find it difficult to suppress a gasp when she appears on screen. She's still more striking than many of today's stars. . . .
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