Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On the road again



Wow! I just received the program brochure (pictured above) for the 2007 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. This year, among other films, the festival is showing Beggars of Life (1928), starring Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen. Set among the hobo-camps of the American west, Brooks plays a girl - dressed as a boy - who murders her abusive step-father and goes on the run. It's a really fine film. And Brooks makes for one terrific cover girl on this brochure! Hope to see you at this year's festival !

Speaking of life on the road, later today I leave for New York City. I'll be attending the annual booksellers convention, as well as taking a few personal days to do some research in the Big Apple. I have an appointment scheduled at the Museum of the City of New, where I will be looking through their files on the 1924 George White Scandals and 1925 Ziegfeld Follies. (Brooks appeared in each show.) I will also be visiting the New York Public Library, where I plan to look through yet more reels of microfilm of the various New York and Brooklyn newspapers. And finally, I plan to spend a couple of days at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, where I hope to look through files, personal papers, and scrapbooks belonging to Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn and Louis Horst - all of which relate to the Denishawn Dance Company and Brooks two-plus years as member of the company. What I'll find, I can't say. . . .  At Lincoln Center, I will also be looking through other scrapbooks and files and microfilm and magazines in search of material relating to Brooks' 24 films.

I will be back in a week's time, and will let everyone know what I find.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lulu Allusions

The debut novel by Danielle Ganek, titled Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, has just been published. There was a big review of the book in today's New York Times. The title of the book refers to a painting on display in an art gallery - the setting for much of the action in the novel. I'm not sure if this Lulu has anything to do with our Lulu. One never knows - I haven't read the book. Has anyone read this new novel ?


Images of film and television actress Mischa Barton can be found in the current issue of the French Elle. The actress is dressed up to look like various cinematic icons - such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and of course, Louise Brooks. This blog has some scans from the magazine. Here is one of them - Mischa Barton as Louise Brooks.

              

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Life's Little Joke



An amusing cartoon strip found while doing research. It dates from 1926.

Friday, May 25, 2007

God's Gift to Women - trailer online

The trailer to the 1931 romantic comedy, God's Gift to Women, starring Frank Fay and a bevy of beauties Louise Brooks, can be found on the Turner Classic Movieswebsite. Wow, I had never seen the trailer before!  Brooks' role in the film is that of a supporting actress. However, in the trailer, she is the most prominent of all the beauties courted by Fay. More prominent even than stars Laura LaPlante and Joan Blondell, I would dare say. (And what's more, she's not wearing her trademark bangs.) Be sure and check it out. If you haven't seen the film, check that out too. It's not half bad.

The trailer is part of a newly announced section of the TCM website devoted to video content. According to a recent article, this  "video portal lives on the TCM.comsite and launched on Tuesday with more than 3,000 pieces of video content in the form of short films, movie clips, trailers and interstitials from TCM programming."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Martin Scorsese's love of old films

According to numerous widely reported wire service articles, Martin Scorcese has launched a new foundation to preserve negelected films. Reuters reported

Director Martin Scorsese launched the World Cinema Foundation on Tuesday in a bid to preserve neglected films for posterity and restore others that have been damaged.

Inspired by a similar venture in the United States that Scorsese launched with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood, the nonprofit foundation was formally unveiled at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

"This goes back to the founding of the Film Foundation in America," Scorsese told a news conference.

"That was started in 1990 and for the past 16 years that actually has changed and things have gotten different there in terms of restoration of films and preservation of archives." 
Let's hope some of his the foundations' preservation efforts go to restoring silent films.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2007

The line-up for this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival has just been announced. And I am very excited, because this year, the festival will be debuting a brand new 35mm print of Beggars of Life (1928), starring Louise Brooks. I hope all Brooks fans can attend this screening of a rarely shown Brooks' film. It's a good one!

"Where can you see a duck wreck havoc in a movie theater, a prince fall in love with a barmaid AND a high school atheist swear allegiance on a monkey?" At this year's festival ! Here's the line-up.

Friday, July 13
7:00 pm THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBERG (1927, Ernst Lubitsch) with Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer, Jean Hersholt, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Philipe de Lacy
With short 28MM to 35MM BEAUTY SPOTS IN AMERICA: CASTLE HOT SPRINGS, ARIZONA (1916)
Co-Presented by Goethe-Institut
Live accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Dennis James

Saturday, July 14
10:30am HAL ROACH: KING OF COMEDY
FAST COMPANY
 (1924) Directed by Robert F. McGowan with Our Gang
JUST A GOOD GUY (1924) Directed by Hampton Del Ruth with Arthur Stone
THE BOY FRIEND (1928) Directed by Fred Guiol with Max Davidson
MOVIE NIGHT (1929) Directed by Lewis R. Foster with Charley Chase
Special guests: Rob Stone of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Leonard Maltin
Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin

Sponsored by Wells Fargo
1:15 THE VALLEY OF THE GIANTS (1927, Charles Brabin) with Milton Sills, Doris Kenyon, Arthur Stone, George Fawcett, Paul Hurst, Phil Brady
With short 28MM to 35MM HOW THE COWBOY MAKES HS LARIAT (1917)
Live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne

3:30 MACISTE (1915, Luigi Romano Borgnetto) with Bartolomeo Pagano, Ada Marangoni, Arline Costello, Louise Farnsworth, Robert Ormand
With short 28MM to 35MM HIS WIFES HERO (1917)
Co-Presented by Center for the Art of Translation
With the generous assistance of Istituto Italiano di Cultura
Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin
(in Italian with live reading of translation)

Special Tribute to Turner Classic Movies!5:45 CAMILLE (1921, Ray C. Smallwood) with Alla Nazimova, Rudolph Valentino, Patsy Ruth Miller, Rex Cherryman, Arthur Hoyt, Consuelo Flowerton
Special guests: Charles Tabesh and Robert Osborn of Turner Classic Movies
With short 28MM to 35MM HER OBSESSION (1917)
Sponsored by McRoskey Mattress Company
Live accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Clark Wilson

8:45 BEGGARS OF LIFE (1928, William Wellman) with Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks, Edgar Blue Washington
Special guests: Patrick Loughney of George Eastman House and William Wellman, Jr.!With short 28MM to 35MM HOODWINKING THE POLICE (1917)
Live accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

Sunday, July 15 
10:30am MORE AMAZING TALES FROM THE ARCHIVESWith Rob Stone of UCLA Film and Television Archive and
Patrick Loughney of George Eastman House
Live piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin

12:45 RETOUR DE FLAMME (Saved from the Flames)French rarities by George Melies, Gaston Velle, Ferdinand Zecca and more from 1900-1928 presented by Serge Bromberg.
Co-Presented by Alliance Fran硩se
With the generous assistance of Consulate General of France in San Francisco
Live piano accompaniment by Serge Bromberg

3:35 MISS LULU BETT (1921, William DeMille) with Lois Wilson, Milton Sills, Theodore Roberts, Helen Ferguson, Clarence Burton
With short 28MM to 35MM IN THE SHADOW OF THE PYRAMIDS (1915)
Live acompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

6:00 A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR (1929, Anthony Asquith) with Uno Henning, Norah Baring, Hans Schlettow, Judd Green, Anthony Asquith
Introduced by Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation
With short 28MM to 35MM LONESOME LUKES LIVELY LIFE (1917)
Co-Presented by Film Noir Foundation
Live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne

8:45 THE GODLESS GIRL (1929, Cecil B. DeMille) with Lina Basquette, Marie Prevost, James Duryea, Noah Beery, Eddie Quillan
Introduced by Scott Simmon of the National Film Preservation Foundation
With short 28MM to 35MM MUSHROOM GROWING (1915)
Live accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Dennis James
_____________________________________________________________
HERE IS TICKET INFO:
ADVANCE TICKETSMAY 21- JULY 12
ONLINE/MAIL/ FAX
JUNE 18 - JULY 12
PHONE 925-866-9530
Mon-Fri 9 AM-5 PM

JUNE 14 - JULY 12
IN PERSONFestival Box Office
Thurs-Fri 11:30 AM- 5:30 PM
833 Market Street Suite 811 (between 4th and 5th Streets) in San Francisco

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cupboards of Curiosity

There is a new book out by Amelie Hastie called Cupboards of Curiosity. Hastie, an Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz may be familiar to fans of Louise Brooks as the author of a long 1997 article on the actress entitled "Louise Brooks, Star Witness." That piece, which serves as the basis for some of the material in this new book, first appeared in Cinema Journal ten years ago.



In this new book, special attention is paid in Hastie book to two singular film stars who share a similar hair style, Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore.

According to the publisher, in "Cupboards of Curiosity Amelie Hastie rethinks female authorship within film history by expanding the historical archive to include dollhouses, scrapbooks, memoirs, cookbooks, and ephemera. Focusing on women who worked during the silent-film era, Hastie reveals how female stars, directors, and others appropriated personal or “domestic” cultural forms not only to publicize their own achievements but also to reflect on specific films and the broader film industry. Whether considering Colleen Moore’s thirty-six scrapbooks or Dietrich’s eccentric book Marlene Dietrich’s ABC, Hastie emphasizes how these women spoke for themselves  - as collectors, historians, critics, and experts - often explicitly contemplating the role their writings and material objects would play in subsequent constructions of history."

"Hastie pays particular attention to the actresses Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks and Hollywood’s first female director, Alice Guy-Blaché. From the beginning of her career, Moore worked intently to preserve a lasting place for herself as a Hollywood star, amassing collections of photos, souvenirs, and clippings as well as a dollhouse so elaborate that it drew extensive public attention. Brooks’s short essays reveal how she participated in the creation of her image as Lulu and later emerged as a critic of film stardom. The recovery of Blaché’s role in film history by feminist critics in the 1970s and 1980s was made possible by the existence of the director’s own autobiographical history. Broadening her analytical framework to include contemporary celebrities, Hastie turns to how-to manuals authored by female stars, from Zasu Pitts’s cookbook Candy Hits to Christy Turlington’s Living Yoga. She discusses how these assertions of celebrity expertise in realms seemingly unrelated to film and visual culture allow fans to prolong their experience of stardom."

Cupboards of Curiosity is published to Duke University Press. I have a copy, and would suggest that the book would an interesting read to those interested.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LOUISE BROOKS, fugitive from Hollywood


LBS member Marlon Ligeon has translated into English "Louise Brooks, trânsfuga de Hollywood" by Mme Buttuller da Costa, an article which appeared in the October 12, 1929 issue of Cinéfilo magazine. This film journal was published in Lisbon (Portugal), and was likely also distributed in Brazil. The original Portugese article - which I think is an important and telling early piece about the actress - can be found here
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I want to express my personal appreciation to Marlon for all of his work. THANK YOU MARLON LIGEON. Here is the translation. 
LOUISE BROOKS, fugitive from Hollywood.
By Mme Buttuller da Costa.

The Cineromans studios, situated on the Mediterranean coast, are the life force of Joinville, a small suburb of Paris alongside the Bosque de Vincennes. It is there that we meet, on a hot September afternoon, the Sofar actors working on Prix de Beaute under the direction of Augusto Genina.

A big studio is, in general, the only place in the world where time and space is arranged according to human fantasy. When one enters into these offices of illusion, a big cave suddenly appears full of bandits from the Middle-Ages on the spot where weeks ago a luxurious cosmopolitan restaurant was built. There one encounters a lunar passage on one side of the hall, on the same side of a large Banco do City. All in big contrast with the pillars and scaffolds crossing the floor on which we find the film equipment and projectors. And here and there, situated as in quiet serene islands in this ocean of excitement, spots full of bright lights, in witch we catch people in the middle of filming a scene, and other personnel waiting for that scene to end, to then add to it just the right atmosphere with cardboard and stucco walls. All to bring the filmed sequences to just the exact level of liveliness, required for the viewing pleasure of the spectator.

But the problem this French production suffers from right now is a period of inactivity. The launching of a sound film leaves the Cineromas studios, even though they are the best equipped in Europe, at a standstill. Therefore, they find themselves in silence, as in a forgotten church, in which dozens of assistants devotedly work on the production. Nobody speaks loudly. All tools have been removed so as not to hinder ones walk through the hall. The floor is polished to a luxurious glow.

Genina, the sympathetic director of many films of worldwide acclaim (Boy or Girl, Careful With The TelephoneLatin Quarter, etc.) and of course the big favorite of our readers, comes to meet us and introduce his actors. Between them is Louise Brooks, the perverse Miss Helena from A Girl in Every Port, a pleasant creature perfectly formed and photogenic to an absolute rare degree.

Her black hair, cut like Joan d’Arc, falls towards her eyes - eyes made of melting brown. There is a sad smile and serious look on her face. Louise Brooks is the prototype of the American girl. Or better yet, the chorus girl, according to her physique. Mostly, she is a girl who recalls distant feelings, leaving one almost cold. She is the antithesis of Dina Gralla, the exuberant, and the sentimental.

We accept a cigarette and sit down beside her. As a good American, Louise only smokes cigarettes from the New World and drinks cold water out of an Evian bottle in front of her, taking small sips while having this conversation.

“Yes, I really like working in Europe,” she responds to one of our questions. “This is the third movie I made in a short time on the Continent. The first and second were in Berlin. I like to say I like this one the best, for interviews, but even more in terms of artistic temperament. I wasn't really please with the others. Pandora's Boxand The Diary of a Lost Girl left me in this strange mystified state of mind.”

“And in this film?”
“This film is a completely different. It’s a simple story that evolves around some normal girls who get deceived by fame and fortune. It’s a story about human nature, daily life.”

The sad, timid, smile returns to Louise Brooks lips. Who’ll speak of the enchanted timidness of the artists of the silver screen while talking to an interviewer? Who’ll talk honestly about those who hardly speak of themselves, they who live in their own world, while working for the big public, the entire world?

Brooks asks us where we are from. Silently we gave her a copy of number 50 of Cinéfilo, opened to page 25. Her caricature, drawn by Cebrian, enlightened our eyes. It is a sketch that will never witness the happiness it caused. A gracious, youthful spirit, as exists in all young Americans, immediately emerges. Louise Brooks, almost applauding with joy, laughs:

“Oh, that is me!”

With a smile only we can see, she asks us to tell her our nationality and that of the artist. She was convinced we were Italians and just now found out that we were Portuguese. It was one of the few instances in which we weren’t taken for Spanish.

“I never been to Portugal,” she says, “but I heard about it through Lily Damita, my Portugese girlfriend who works as a French actress. She told me a lot about Lisbon, a place were I would really like to go.”

This was news to us. We always thought that Lily Damita was French. The conversation turned itself to the New World, especially Hollywood. Louise said:

“Don’t talk to me about Hollywood. I simply hate it. I worked in Hollywood for one and a half years, but the whole lifestyle, the snobbism, everything, it isn’t for me. Give me New York, were I made most of my movies. I really think I’ll never return to Hollywood.”

She turned silent for a moment, and the sad expression returned to her face. Her eyes focused on a point far away. Meanwhile, the light was being adjusted for the scene that she was to film next. The stand-in, who would replace Brooks in this scene, was called.

It is a short scene, in which she walks past the table of the editor of Le Globe. Brooks, typist of the secretary of this major Parisian newspaper, speaks of the big beauty pageant about to take place in Colombo.

An excellent actor, André Nicolle, impressed by the beauty of the petite typist, insists that she takes part in the Miss Europe contest, a contest with which she could trade in her typewriter. The petite girl doesn’t really want to, but on the other hand, her chances for success in life don’t seem too grand either as the bride of a honest, sincere, jealous company typesetter....

She is uncertain. After some thought, and a quick interview, she decides to take a chance in the contest, a contest in which others less beautiful than she don’t dare take part.

Everything about Louise Brooks, the way she looks, her splendidness, her intuition, it all leaves Genina with excitement. But she is not satisfied; she wants it to be perfect. So the scene is done twice. Only then is she satisfied with her performance.

“On tourne!,” laughs the director.

And then the camera films a closing scene, in which André Nicolle’s group leads Brooks to the door of her office, whispering to her the phrase that wraps it up, the perverse phrase:
“Faites cmon, petit, l’avenir est á vons.”

While clutching the copy of Cinéfilo we gave her, Brooks offers us one of her new photographs.

Unsuccessfully, she searches the photographs for one with a smile. But its no use, she can’t find one. She isn’t satisfied with the pictures, with the way she looks. She seems to want to avoid a situation in which she doesn’t look her best in a published photo. However, she seems to make an artistic decision, and offers us one.

We ask about upcoming projects. She’ll go to America after she finishes this movie and settle her divorce. Maybe this is the key to her mood. It is possible that she’ll return to Europe to make more movies, finding some time for a vacation. Up till now, she has seen LondonBerlin and Paris, the beautiful sights of FranceItalyattracts her greatly.

An unforeseen blackout immobilizes the studio. Genina comes over to us while the mechanics look for what caused the problem.

He talks to us about sound film. Louise Brooks believes its progress and in its perfection within a few years. Meanwhile, she finds the female sound of the equipment used to thicken the sound of a male voice silly. Genina agrees.

Concerning Prix de Beaute, Genina is satisfied. The outdoor scenes, where the pageant takes place, were filmed in San Sebastian, the famous beach of the rich. It’s a pageant where a woman will be crowned Miss Europe, a woman born in Wichita.

She smokes another cigarette, in spite of no smoking signs hanging everywhere. But we are in tolerant France. Genina keeps talking to us about his movie, in a passionate way one only expects from a true artist.

I think about the movie. In my opinion it will serve as an excellent introduction to the sound film. It’s necessary that one goes along.

Looking at the beach of Joinville, I can’t stop thinking that the profession of an actor is really not a sinecure.

One thinks of the efforts of the crew who worked on this movie, and their great efforts on this hot afternoon (registering a high of 38 degrees in the shadow). This is work the sunbathers and swimmers, cooling of in the Mediterranean, are unaware. In the end, I can only conclude that life is made of failures to understand unsatisfied needs.

Biattriz, September 1929.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Los Angeles photo archive

UCLA has recently launched an archive of news photographs taken from the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. Of the 5,124 high res images in this database, the oldest dates from 1914. One fun way to search the archive is by entering a year, say "1927," and then browse by date. Other valuable keywords or search terms are "motion picture" and "silent film." Nothing turned up under "Louise Brooks," though I did come across rarely seen images of Clara Bow, Lina Basquette, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, etc.... It's well worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening - the Broadway musical based on Frank Wedekind's play - has received 11 Tony nominations. (see article in today's New York Times) Yes, that's the same Frank Wedekind who wrote the Lulu plays. Can a rock musical adaption of Pandora's Box be far behind ?

In a season rich with contenders, “Spring Awakening,” a dark rock musical based on a 19th century German play about sexually anguished teenagers, led the field of Tony Award nominations this morning with 11, including chances at awards for best musical, director and best actor for two of its cast. . . . 

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What a doll

Joe's Bar - an exhibit space located in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle - has an exhibit on display featuring the work of artist Sara Lanzilotta. The exhibit, “Dolls of the Silver Screen,” features likenesses of various actresses and cultural icons. Among them are Bettie Page, Joan Crawford, Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, and Louise Brooks. The exhibit, which lasts through May 31, has received local coverage. Here is the artist's representation of Brooks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Louise Brooks DVD

It looks like Diary of a Lost Girl will be released on DVD in the UK. The releasing company - Eureka Entertainment Ltd - has set a release date of May 21st. The run time is 115 minutes - pretty much the same length as the American DVD release on Kino. The package includes a 16 page booklet featuring an essay by R. Dixon Smith, vintage photographs, and more. I haven't seen it yet - this is info I found on the internet. [ An essay by R. Dixon Smith - "The Miracle of Louise Brooks" - can be found here. ]

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Brooksie - The Jazz Age Musical


I wanted to let everyone know that Brooksie: The Jazz Age Musical is now available in the United States. A recording can be obtained through CDBaby at www.cdbaby.com/cd/brooksie   There, you can also listen to sample sounds of this enjoyable musical inspired by the life of Louise Brooks. Composed by Sandro Moreni, who lives in Switzerland, this is jazzy music from the Jazz Age, full of swing and interpreted by top European musicians. I would encourage everyone to check it out - as I understand the stage version has proven popular and has been performed in Switzerland and Austria (and perhaps Germany sometime soon).
The composer's website is also well worth checking out. It can be found at www.brooksie.ch    The CD of the musical can also be obtained through such on-line European vendors as Huge Music and amazon.de

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ululu



I've just found out about this new book, which explores the Lulu archetype. Here is what the publisher has to say:

Operatic in scope, ULULU (Clown Shrapnel) is a dramatic, genre-bending narrative and a lyrical cultural biography of the archetypal seductress Lulu. In a furious performance of text and imagery, Thalia Field introduces us to the stock characters of the commedia, the famous plays, operas, and silent films in which Lulu appeared, the artists who brought her to life, and the censorship and controversy that she engendered.

The myth of "Lulu" began during the height of late-nineteenth-century Viennese culture with a sequence of two plays by Frank Wedekind (Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box), and continued through the two world wars with Lulu, an unfinished opera by Alban Berg, and Pandora's Box, a highly acclaimed film by G.W. Pabst, starring Louise Brooks. Throughout all of Lulu's incarnations she met with censure - Wedekind's plays were banned from the stage, Berg's opera, which contained a secret score for his young lover, was kept from the public by his widow, and Pabst's erotic film was too risque for many.

As Field's story peeks into the dressing rooms and back alleys of history, words take the stage, "fictional" and "historical" characters speak side by side, and lyrical symbolism undulates throughout the pages. Original and treated footage from award-winning filmmaker Bill Morrison and illustrations from artist Abbot Stranahan complete this masterful work of avant-garde fiction, presented in a numbered and signed first edition limited to 1,500 copies.
In addition to her multimedia performance work, Thalia Field, an assistant professor at Brown University, is the author of Point and Line and Incarnate: Story Material. Has anyone seen a copy of her new book?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Etch-a-Sketchist Draws Louise Brooks

This blog entry by the Etch-a-Sketchist featuring Louise Brooks drawn on a Etch-a-Sketch just popped up. Isn't it kinda nifty? I could never manage more than a stick figure or two on those things.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Kevin Brownlow's SF visit

John Bengtson - a friend and the author of two excellent books, "Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton" and "Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood through the Films of Charlie Chaplin" - posted a detailed account of Kevin Brownlow's visit to San Francisco. John posted it to the alt.movies.silent newsgroup. It can be read here.

Along with hosting the Brownlow booksigning at the Castro Theater on Saturday, I also attended the two events described by John in his post. And, I had a chance to speak with Kevin Brownlow at a small gathering on Sunday. Of course, we spoke about Louise Brooks - among other subjects. I told Kevin about the Louise Brooks Society and the various projects I have been working on. . . . We also spoke about Louise Brooks' inspired literature. Kevin had seen Smoking with Lulu when it played in London, and recommended I read Jack Finney's novel Marion's Wall. (I've just started the book. It is about a a young couple who move into an old San Francisco house possessed by a screen queen of the twenties who takes over the wife's body.)

It was a thrill to spend time with Kevin Brownlow. And just as you would expect, he "showed himself to be articulate, kind, modest, humorous, and generous. It was a delight to spend some moments in his company."

I took a few snapshots which I hope to post later. . . . My camera is at work awaiting tomorrow night's event with film biographer Steven Bach.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Lulu in Manilla

Louise Brooks is mentioned in an article which appeared in The Philippine Star. Admittedly, the author drops lots of names - but its neat to see Brooks mentioned in an Asian newspaper. The article - which discusses a number of things including the Ziegfeld Follies - reads in part

The Ziegfeld Follies was a series of elaborate theatrical productions inspired by the Folies Bergères of Paris. The Ziegfeld Follies was conceived and mounted by Florenz Ziegfeld, at the suggestion of his then-wife, the entertainer Anna Held. Top entertainers of the period like Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Ann Pennington, Bert Williams, Will Rogers, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, Marilyn Miller, W.C. Fields, Ed Wynn and Nora Bayes, appeared in the shows. Fanny Brice was one of the most celebrated Ziegfeld Girls whose life story was made into a movie entitled Funny Girl that starred Barbra Streisand.
Ziegfeld Follies was such a big hit that many future movie stars of the era once enlisted themselves as Ziegfeld Girls. The list includes Marilyn Miller, Marion Davies, Mae Murray, Paulette Goddard, Joan Blondell, Nita Naldi, Dorothy Mackaill, Eve Arden, Billie Dove, Gilda Gray, Barbara Stanwyck and Louise Brooks. Norma Shearer who became a Hollywood superstar was turned down by Ziegfeld for being "not up to standards." Ziegfeld Girls were usually decked in the most elaborate costumes. Ziegfeld hired the best designers like Erte, Lady Duff and Ali Ben Hagan.
So popular were the Ziegfeld Follies that several movies were inspired by the revue. The Great Ziegfeld, starring William Powell as the master showman, Myrna Loy as Ziegfeld’s second wife Billie Burke, Luise Rainer as Anna Held, (which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress), and Frank Morgan (as a rival showman) won the 1936 Oscar Best Picture. The 1946 feature motion picture entitled Ziegfeld Follies starred Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, William Powell, Gene Kelly, Fanny Brice, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse, Lucille Ball and Kathryn Grayson.
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