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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Facebook fan page for the Louise Brooks Society

I've set up a new Facebook fan page for the Louise Brooks Society. It can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-Brooks-Society/117328855002736

Fan pages are more robust, and have more functionality than the old group pages on Facebook. Eventually, this new fan page should replace the longstanding LBS group page. Please check it out.

I've set up this new page as part of my long planned rebuild of the Louise Brooks Society website. Part of the rebuild includes integrating web 2.0 functionality - as well as lots of new content!

And don't forget, Pandora's Box airs tonight on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Check your local listings.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Democrat & Chronicle article on Louise Brooks

Jack Garner, film critic for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York - and an old friend of Louise Brooks, has published an article about the actress and Turner Classic Movies' upcoming showing of Pandora's Box. The article, "TCM celebrates Louise Brooks, Oscars," can be found at http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20110128/LIVING0107/101280305/-1/rochesterarts/TCM-celebrates-Louise-Brooks--Oscars

The Democrat and Chronicle doesn't archive their articles online for very long, so be sure and check it out soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lulu's reputation

Pandora's Box (1929), which airs this Sunday on Turner Classic Movies, is now considered a classic of the silent film era - one of the last great films released before the talkies took over. However, its reputation has not always been so well regarded; as fans are aware, both the film and Louise Brooks role in it were once harshly criticized.

The fluctuating fortunes of Pandora's Box and Lulu are considered in my new column on examiner.com. Please check it out.

Also, please be aware that the long and otherwise informative article on the TCM website about Pandora's Box does contain a handful of errors. Here are a few: Brooks made 24 films between 1925 and 1938, not "1928." The director of the French Cinematheque was Henri Langlois, not "Andre Langlois." And wasn't it Brooks who wrote that "Dietrich would have been all wrong for Lulu," not director G.W. Pabst ?

Nevertheless, its great that TCM is playing Pandora's Box. I would also like to see them show Diary of a Lost Girl and the silent version of Prix de Beaute.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New song video includes Louise Brooks

"Hang onto yourself" is the new single from Silent Pictures, a San Francisco Bay Area band with a special affection for early film and Louise Brooks. The new video which accompanies the single, available on youtube and elsewhere, features a few scenes from Diary of a Lost Girl among its various layers of imagery. I like it.

"Hang onto yourself" won't be officially released by Green Fuse Records until February 1st, but here is a sneak peak at the video.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pandora's Box airs on TCM Jan 30

On Sunday, January 30th, Turner Classic Movies will air the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Pandora's Box. An extensive essay on the film can be found at http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article.jsp?cid=354711&mainArticleId=355239

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Journal d'une Fille Perdue

Tonight, in Paris - Journal d'une Fille Perdue
at the Village Voice bookshop and Action Christine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

SF360 write-up

Thursday's event at the Village Voice bookshop got a write-up on SF360, the newsletter of the San Francisco Film Society. In "Notes from the Underground," Michael Fox wrote "Thomas Gladysz, director of S.F.’s Louise Brooks Society, appears at the Village Voice Bookshop in Paris on January 13 to talk about The Diary of a Lost Girl. Gladysz penned a lengthy introduction to the new edition of Margaret Boheme’s 1905 novel. …"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

At Village Voice Bookshop

This snapshot was taken outside the Village Voice bookshop in Paris. I will be speaking there on Thursday, and you can spot a small poster for the event in the shop window, as well as a collection of Louise Brooks books in the lower right hand corner of the window.

My wife and I came across the shop while wandering the streets on our first day here in the City of Lights. After introducing myself, we were told that the famous French writer Roland Jaccard had been in earlier and had purchased a copy of The Diary of a Lost Girl. I believe he will be attending the Thursday event, along with a few others associated in some way with the actress and her legacy.

Jaccard, of course, is the author of the very first book on the actress, Louise Brooks: Portrait of a Anti-Star (1977). He also authored a not yet translated book, Portrait d'une flapper (2007). [Someday, we should start an American publishing company to publish it and the handful of other LB related books French-language books in English translation. I can think of a half-dozen titles right off.] If you don't already have a copy of Anti-Star, second hand copies can still be found online and on eBay on occasion. (I am proud of the fact that during my past tenure as a bookseller, I was able to sell more than 800 copies of that book.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks, 20th century icon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Polish film mag cover

For sale on eBay is this 1993 Polish film magazine featuring Louise Brooks on the cover. And according to the seller description, there is also a 2 page article inside on the actress. The name of the magazine is ILUZJON. As someone of Polish descent, I enjoy coming across stuff like this.

There is also an article on Harrison Ford - not the silent film star Harrison Ford, but rather the contemporary film star of the same name. (If Harrison Ford were to appear in a bio-pic about the first Harrison Ford, would he then be playing himself?)

OK, enough kidding around. There are also articles on Federico Fellini and Jack Nicholson and others. The seller emphasizes these latter stars - but I would be willing to wager that it is the lovely picture of Louise Brooks on the cover which causes it to sell. Here is a scan of the back and front covers: the exotic and the erotic look across at one another through time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Action Christine Cinema

On January 13th, the Action Christine Cinema in Paris (France) will screen the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl. Here is the theater page listing for the event. And below is the press release announcing the event. [please note: The 8:30 event at the Action Christine will be preceded by a 7:00 author talk at the nearby Village Voice bookshop.]

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cinémathèque Française article

France Today ran an article on the Cinémathèque Française which mentions Louise Brooks. The famous French film museum, founded by Henri Langlois, has at least a few items related to the actress on display, including " Louise Brooks's spangled silver flapper dress."


I plan on visiting the Cinémathèque Française when I visit Paris in the coming weeks, in conjunction with an author event for The Diary of a Lost Girl at the Village Voice Bookshop / Action Christine Cinema on January 13.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Girl in Every Port: a review of reviews

As part of its month long tribute to director Howard Hawks, the British Film Institute will twice screen the 1928 Louise Brooks film, A Girl in Every Port. The film, by consensus the best of Hawks' early efforts, is set to play on January 2 and January 7, 2011.

Following its February 18, 1928 world premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York City (where on February 22 of that year it set a record for the highest ever single day gross), the Fox film received glowing reviews in New York's many daily newspapers. Read more on this story on examiner.com

The film also received positive reviews in newspapers elsewhere around the country. 
Mae Tinee, writing in the Chicago Tribune, stated "A Girl in Every Port is a good little yarn that suits Mr. McLaglen better than other things he has had since What Price Glory? . . . Various damsels rage through the action, but to Louise Brooks falls, as should, the plum feminine characterization. She pulls it off in her customary deft fashion - and the enchanting bob in which she first appeared before the movie camera."

Arthur Sheekman, in the cross-town Chicago Daily Journal, echoed those sentiments.  “Your correspondent, partial to all the McLaglen performances, had a grand time watching A Girl in Every Port, in which so much loveliness is contributed by that dark young venus, Miss Brooks.”

The critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, “The picture fairly overflows with feminine near-stars. The outstanding feminine role is played very well, indeed, by Louise Brooks.”

The most extravagant praise Brooks received came from the critic for the Washington Times, who went so far as to state, “The girl is Louise Brooks, who could supply half the so-called stars of Hollywood with ‘IT’ and still have enough left to outclass Clara Bow.”
LinkWithin