Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wrong, wrong, and wrong again
For sale on eBay are a pair of vintage product cards, each of which were likely packaged along with candy, chocolates, cigarettes, or some other small item. The card on the left is without a doubt Louise Brooks. We know that image. However, the card on the right is identified as depicting Maurice Chevalier and Louise Brooks, but is wrong. The woman next to Chevalier is not Brooks, despite the card's identification.
First, we know that Brooks and Chevalier never appeared in a film together; they could have posed with one another for publicity purposes, though were not known to have. Ultimately, it comes down to this: the woman on the card is only an attractive look alike, and not a match. Having looked at countless image sof the actress, I am 100% certain this vintage card is incorrect.
Since the card is French, I would guess it was issued sometime around 1929 or 1930, and perhaps around the time Brooks' only French film was released, the popular Prix de Beaute (1930). The Clovis Chocolate company guesses it was Brooks, then popular in Paris, as was Chevalier, but got it wrong. Here is an image of the back of the cards.
To confuse matters a little more, here is a YouTube video of Maurice Chavelier singing the popular hit "Louise," from 1929. That song, from the soundtrack of the Paramount film Innocents of Paris, is not known to have had anything to do with Louise Brooks, though it had become associated with the actress in later years. Can anyone identify the women in the card standing next to Chevalier?
And while we are on the topic of misidentified Louise Brooks pictures, let me note here that the following two images do not depict Louise Brooks. Each is currently for sale on eBay, and each is identified as being Louise Brooks. The first is just an attractive look-alike, a repro of a vintage image of a showgirl or model. The second is bad photoshop job of an Alfred Cheney Johnston portrait.
Brooks, as readers of the Barry Paris biography know, was photographed in the nude in 1925. She sued to have the photographs suppressed. I have seen those pictures. And this ain't them.
Copyright thomas gladysz / Louise Brooks Society
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