Monday, January 31, 2011

Peter Bogdanovich singles out two Louise Brooks films

Acclaimed director and author Peter Bogdanovich wrote a long blog about film in the year 1928, which is headlined "The Last and Greatest Year of the Original Motion Picture Art, B.S. (Before Sound)." His blog can be found at http://blogs.indiewire.com/peterbogdanovich/archives/1928_the_last_and_greatest_year_of_the_original_motion_picture_art_b.s._bef/

Bogdanovich begins his blog with the familiar claim that 1939 was the single greatest year in film history. Perhaps so. When considering the silent era, Bogdanovich thinks 1928 the single best year. In building his argument, Bogdanovich mentions some of the many outstanding films released that year - the last year before sound took over. Among the films mentioned are two starring Louise Brooks. Bogdanovich writes
Howard Hawks, only in his third year as a director, makes his first really Hawksian comedy-drama, A Girl in Every Port, featuring Louise Brooks in the role and haircut that defined her and caught German director G.W. Pabst’s eye, leading to this very American gal being cast in one of Germany’s most famous roles, Lulu in Pandora’s Box (1929).  In the Hawks film, Brooks comes between the two male leads whose camaraderie outlasts all rivals.  (Hawks’ first flying film, The Air Circus, is lost, but Fazil, a totally uncharacteristic novelty in his canon, has survived.)

In 1928, Louise Brooks also appears memorably in what is generally considered director William A. Wellman’s best and most personal film, Beggars of Life (only one of three films he put out that year).... 
It's a long, thoughtful blog well worth reading. And whether you agree or not (perhaps you think 1925 or 1927 the best year for film during the silent era), Bogdanovich's blog is full of excellent recommendations.

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