Friday, January 25, 2013

Louise Brooks in Fairbanks, Alaska - better late than never

I am continuously researching Louise Brooks and her films. And recently, I came across a couple of clipping (one of which is shown here) which merit mentioning. My findings are notable on a few accounts.

In January, 1930 two of Louise Brooks' silent films - The City Gone Wild and Now We're in the Air -  were shown in Fairbanks, Alaska. The "Screen Life" column details the event. These screenings are not the first instances of Brooks' films showing in Alaska, then an American territory. (Alaska did not achieve statehood until 1949.) A Social Celebrity (1926), for example, was shown at the Empress theater in Fairbanks in April, 1927.

What is notable about these particular screenings is that each took place long after the films were released. Both films debuted in the Fall of 1927, and these two screenings took place more than two years later. That is a long time for a film to be in circulation during the silent film era. Notably, they are also the very last screenings I have come across for these two now lost films.

What is also notable is that theaters in Fairbanks were still screening silent films well after the sound era had started. For the record, a 1929 sound film featuring Brooks, The Canary Murder Case, was shown in Fairbanks in April, 1930, about 14 months after it first debuted. And another, It Pays to Advertise, also with Brooks, was shown in Fairbanks only nine months after its release in November, 1931. 

For the record, I have also come across a handful of screenings of various Louise Brooks' films in Honolulu in the territory of Hawaii during the 1920s, decades before it gained statehood. Hawaii seems to have gotten films sooner than Alaska. But, better late than never.

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