Monday, February 14, 2011

Francis Lederer candid photo

Here's one that gives pause. 

Currently for sale on eBay is a candid photograph of the Austrian-born actor Francis Lederer. He, of course, co-starred in the G.W. Pabst-directed Pandora's Box (1929), with Louise Brooks. In the film, Lederer played Brooks' eventual lover, Alwa.

According to the seller, this candid image was taken in Hollywood in 1940 by a fan named Mary Louise (coincidentally Brooks' actual first and last name). 

It's known that Louise Brooks was in Hollywood at the time. She left in 1940 and returned to Kansas.

I am not saying that this photo was taken by Louise Brooks. It wasn't. But the string of coincidences sure does give one pause. (Insert Twilight Zone theme here.)

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I've done a fair amount of research on this period of Brooks' life - the time she was living and working in Los Angeles in the late 1930s. Lederer lived there, as did many of her  co-stars from her American films. Ruth St. Denis also came to town for performances. However, I never came across any evidence or printed record which indicated that Brooks reached out or associated with individuals from her past. Aside from a small circle of new friends, she really seemed to be a loner.

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