Sunday, August 2, 2009

It Pays to Advertise screens in Rochester

It Pays to Advertise (1931), which includes Louise Brooks in a bit part - and I do mean bit - will be shown tonight at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The film is being shown as part of Carole Lombard double bill, which is in part of an even larger (and topical) series entitled "What Depression? Musical, Fantasies, and Screwball Comedies of the 1930s." The other film on tonight's program is White Woman (1933).

Jack Garner, the now retired film critic for the local Democrat and Chronicle, noted the screening in yesterday's newspaper: "For the Brooks cult (which includes me), chances to see her films are very rare, except for her G. W. Pabst German classics, Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. It Pays to Advertise is even rare among her few surviving films, however, because Brooks made only about a half-dozen sound-era films, and two of those are B-movie Westerns (including Overland Stage Raiders, with the young John Wayne)."

Its true. This particular Brooks film has seldom been screened since its debut in theaters in 1931. It's just not that good. (It's also not that bad. I have seen it on VHS.) And what's more, those who attend this screening can see this rarely shown film in a theatre Louise Brooks herself used to hang out in. More info on the screening can be found at


  1. I regrettably missed out on this opportunity...I just moved from Rochester to Cincinnati (largely because of the job situation), and only missed this screening by a few days. I was fortunate enough, though, to see the Diary of a Lost Girl screening last November with Philip Carli's fantastic live accompaniment.

  2. Eastman House chose a studio still of Gallagher, Foster, and "Rochester's own" Brooks for their newspaper ad, instead of one with, say, Lombard and Laughton. ... Assistant Curator Jim Healy's introduction concentrated on Brooks. It was nearly excellent, and would have been flawless if B.P. had loaned out L.B. to G.W. ... Of Brooks's talkies, I'd only seen Windy Riley Goes Hollywood; so, discounting the 1930-1 recording equipment and technique, what was most striking about her delivery was that she says the "chiropodist" line scathingly. (Paris, 356) Maybe she knew she had to beat a dissolve!

    It Pays to Advertise is thematically similar to Preston Sturges's Easy Living and Christmas in July (also begun as a play; June, '31), and similar comedically, too, with sprinklings of slapstick and sight gags. Plus, the actor who plays Henry Fonda's rich father in The Lady Eve is Norman Foster's rich father here: Kansan Eugene Pallette (not a Sturges regular).

    Toronto Film Society folk were in attendance as part of a two-day field trip. I saw the Welcome sign, but neglected to inquire about Gerald Pratley. Who's still kicking, apparently. I'd like to know if Lulu's silent image predominates when he thinks of Brooks, as it does with Jack Garner.

    "We have a ghost among us," Jim Healy said, prior to introducing the Laughton movie. "No doubt amongst us quite often." He mentioned the Dryden newsletter sign-up sheet at the theater entrance, and said Louise Brooks's name and address had been written there.

    Lulu forever!



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