Saturday, August 31, 2013

Louise Brooks: Two more lovely stills

Here are two more lovely stills from two early Louise Brooks films. Do you know which Paramount films they are from?



Friday, August 30, 2013

Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios

Among the books the LBS highly recommends is Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios, by Frederic Lombardi. The book was published by McFarland in March.


Dwan is a legendary director. His credits include Robin Hood (1922), Stage Struck (1925), and The Iron Mask (1929), as well as Louise Brooks screen test, which was shot in 1925.

Publisher description: "It could be said that the career of Canadian-born film director Allan Dwan (1885-1981) began at the dawn of the American motion picture industry. Originally a scriptwriter, Dwan became a director purely by accident. Even so, his creativity and problem-solving skills propelled him to the top of his profession. He achieved success with numerous silent film performers, most spectacularly with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Gloria Swanson, and later with such legendary stars as Shirley Temple and John Wayne. Though his star waned in the sound era, Dwan managed to survive through pluck and ingenuity. Considering himself better off without the fame he enjoyed during the silent era, he went on to do some of his best work for second-echelon studios (notably Republic Pictures' Sands of Iwo Jima) and such independent producers as Edward Small. Along the way, Dwan also found personal happiness in an unconventional manner. Rich in detail with two columns of text in each of its nearly 400 pages, and with more than 150 photographs, this book presents a thorough examination of Allan Dwan and separates myth from truth in his life and films."

"No wonder it took seven years, and we should be grateful to Fred Lombardi. This is a thoroughly researched book which no film aficionado can afford to be without." -- Kevin Brownlow, 2010 Honorary Academy Award winner

"Exhaustively researched." -- Dave Kehr, The New York Times

"Totally remarkable book on Allan Dwan...so wonderfully dense with information, insights, judicious speculation, etc, etc.--in short it is an instant classic, one of the three or four finest books on film that I have ever read." -- Kevin Thomas, film critic

"Lombardi has done his homework. His Allan Dwan is a revelation, a testament to the fruits of untiring and solid research. Every page reveals the always reliable Dwan as a prolific and versatile filmmaker, whose work touched upon every genre and aspect of the evolving studio system in Hollywood’s Golden Age. He was the architect behind Douglas Fairbanks’s best pictures, from the early comedies to the swashbuckling costume epic, Robin Hood. Gloria Swanson, John Wayne, and Shirley Temple, among so many others, all benefited from his sure touch. We can only wonder why it has taken so long to restore this master director to his rightful place in the Hollywood firmament. We are profoundly grateful to Mr. Lombardi." --John C. Tibbetts, University of Kansas.

Check out the Louise Brooks Society store on Amazon.com. It's stocked with other related Louise Brooks movies, books, music and more.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Louise Brooks, Dismal Desmond and Bonzo

Louise Brooks with two stuffed animals, Dismal Desmond (left) and Bonzo (right), circa 1928. Each was very popular during the Jazz Age.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

RadioLulu: Louise Brooks / silent film themed radio

Just a reminder to be sure and check out RadioLulu - Louise Brooks inspired, silent film themed radio featuring music of the Twenties, Thirties and today - includes Brooks' related film music, early jazz, dance bands, songs sung by silent film stars, and contemporary pop music about the silent film star.


This unique station features music from six of the Brooks' films - including the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beaute (1930), as well as musical snippets from The Canary Murder Case (1929) and Empty Saddles (1936). Other vintage tracks associated with the actress on RadioLulu include Maurice Chevalier's much-loved 1929 recording of "Louise," and rare recordings by co-stars Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Blanche Ring, Grace Moore, and Cary Grant. RadioLulu also plays contemporary musical tributes to the actress by the likes of Twiggy, Rufus Wainwright, Soul Coughing, OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark), Marillion, The Green Pajamas, Ron Hawkins, Sarah Azzara, Paul Hayes, and Clan of Xymox, among others.

Rare recording by Brooks' Hollywood contemporaries are also featured. Among the film world personalities heard on the station are Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Pola Negri, Ramon Novarro, Dolores Del Rio, Lupe Velez, Bebe Daniels, Marlene Dietrich, Buddy Rogers, Jean Harlow, and Tallulah Bankhead. Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell can also be heard singing the charming "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You."

On RadioLulu, you'll also hear Jazz Age crooners, torch singers, dance bands, hotel orchestras, show tunes, standards, and some real sweet jazz! There are vintage recordings from England, France, Germany, and even Czechoslovakia. There are also tracks featuring the celebrated 1930's Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna, the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht (singing "Mack the Knife" in 1929!), and the contemporary cartoonist Robert Crumb (playing on "Chanson por Louise Brooks"). And what's more, you'd be hard-pressed to find a station that plays more tracks with "Lulu" in the title than the always eclectic and always entertaining RadioLulu!

Who else can be heard on RadioLulu? How about the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Abe Lyman, Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, Gertrude Lawrence, Annette Hanshaw, Rudy Vallee, Helen Kane, Paul Whiteman, Ted Weems, George Gershwin, Russ Colombo, Harry Richman, Libby Holman and Xavier Cugart - as well as Camilla Horn, Lillian Harvey, Anny Ondra, Josephine Baker, Lucienne Boyer, Mistinguett, and even Kiki of Montparnase.

RadioLulu plays great music, including numerous rare recordings of movie stars from the silent film and early sound era. Check it out !

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diary of a Lost Spectator

Here is a PDF link to Tracy Cox's essay, "Diary of a Lost Spectator: Carving a Space for Female Desire in Patriarchal Cinema."

It appears in Fall / Winter 1995 issue of Spectator.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shop for Louise Brooks DVDs and Books and More

Check out the Louise Brooks Society store on Amazon.com. It's stocked with Louise Brooks movies, books, music and more.


Among the books in the LBS store, and among the books highly recommended, is Art Deco Hair: Hairstyles from the 1920s & 1930s, by Daniela Turudich.The book was published by Streamline Press in July.


"Art deco has long been associated with uncompromising style and sophistication, and this guide to re-creating the sassy, controversial styles of the 1920s and 1930s offers a glimpse back at the hairstyles of this era. The instructions needed to replicate these fashions on the modern woman—from the controversial bob of the Roaring Twenties flapper to the luxurious finger waves of Hollywood’s early screen stars—are provided, and the techniques behind Marcel and water waves, the simple bob, Eton and shingle cuts, and many more are also included. Hundreds of vintage illustrations, photographs, step-by-step instructions, and diagrams illuminate the history of the hairstyles that laid the groundwork of style for the modern American woman."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rudolph Valentino 1895-1926

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of Rudolph Valentino, who died in New York City at the age of 31 on August 23, 1926. We know from her letters that Louise Brooks had met Valentino, if only briefly, and had observed him at a party in New York sometime in the weeks leading up to his passing. Valentino's death made headlines around the world. An estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City to pay their respects at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home. Here is a picture of one of them.


Valentino's funeral Mass in New York was held at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church, often called "The Actor's Chapel." It is located on West 49th Street in the Broadway theater district, and has a long association with show business figures. In the course of my research, I discovered that Louise Brooks was reported to have been one of the actors allowed to attend the funeral. Valetino's death and funeral received extensive coverage. On August 31, the New York Morning Telegraph, in an article entitled "Pola's Sobs Heard Above Requiem Mass For Rudy As Thousands Pay Tribute," wrote that "Louise Brooks cried unashamed" at Valentino's funeral mass.

Valentino was a fine actor, and a charismatic figure. If you've never seen any of his films, like Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (1921) or The Eagle (1925), which are two of my favorites, do so!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Louise Brooks: Two lovely stills

Here are two lovely stills from two early Louise Brooks films. The first is from It's the Old Army Game (1926). The second is from Love Em and Leave Em (1926). Both are Paramount films. Each captures the actress in an unrehearsed moment, un-posed, relaxed and naturally lovely.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Louise Brooks inspired play to be restaged

I've seen mention on social media that there may be a new production of Janet Munsil's Emphysema / Smoking with Lulu in the works. The play was inspired by true life incident. The synopsis from the author's website reads: "Obsessed by his lifelong erotic fantasies of silent movie icon Louise Brooks' amoral character Lulu in the 1928 film Pandora's Box, legendary theatre critic Kenneth Tynan spent three days with the then-aging star to gather material for a New Yorker profile, as The Girl in the Black Helmet was set to launch the actress once again into the limelight after decades of anonymity."

This 90 minute play, for 1 male and 2 females, has a notable production history: West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds;  Soho Theatre, London; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; Alberta Theatre Projects playRites '97, Calgary; Tarragon Theatre, Toronto; Belfry Theatre, Victoria; Edmonton Fringe Festival; Open Space New Theatre Series, and Lulupalooza (Staged Reading).

Once I find out more, I will be sure and post the news to this blog. In the meantime, you can check out Janet Munsil's work on her website. Munsil's play about Brooks and Tynan was published in book form as Emphysema: A Love Story (Signature Editions), as well as under its UK title, Smoking with Lulu (Oberon Books). Both editions can still be purchased through amazon.com.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cool Pic of the Day: Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case


 Cool Pic of the Day: Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case (1929).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Get social with the Louise Brooks Society

We hope you like the new refinements on the Louise Brooks Society blog, including the Disqus commenting system embedded in every post. Don't be shy. Ask a question, post a link, or leave a comment.

If you enjoy this blog, please don't forget to join this site with Google friend connect. So far, 198 individuals have done so! It would be great to have more than 200 friends following this blog. Google friend connect is located in the right hand column. As is the sign up / subscribe to this blog.  Don't miss a thing.

And don't forget to follow the Louise Brooks Society on twitter at @LB_Society. More than 1,843 individuals are already following the LBS and its 2,327 tweets!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Louise Brooks :: Harvest Rain ~ "Fountain of Night"

Check it out: Harvest Rain ~ "Fountain of Night"  video from the YouTube channel belonging to  HourOfDecision777 ~ featuring Louise Brooks, of course.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An imaginary interview with Louise Brooks

Italian Louise Brooks fan G. Luca Chiovelli, author of the fantastic Italian website devoted to the actress, had penned a two-part imaginary interview with Louise Brooks titled (in translation) "Louise Brooks, the girl with the black helmet."

Part one can be read here. And part two can be read here. (The Google Chrome browser will translate from the Italian automatically.) The interview appears on the blog of the Monteverdelegge cultural association.

I think it is possible that Louise Brooks is as popular in Italy as she is in France, or Germany.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Louise Brooks :: Monsieur Sable (w/ Marion) - La Javanaise

Magnifique ! Versión de "La Javanaise" de Serge Gainsbourg, con imágenes de "La Caja de Pandora" ("Loulou") de G.W. Pabst



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Balboa Theater Kickstarter Campaign to upgrade to digital

I received the following email, copied below, a couple of days ago. It is about the Balboa Theater in San Francisco. Back in the 1920's, it showed a handful of Louise Brooks' films, as did many other neighborhood theaters in San Francisco and elsewhere. In 2006, the Balboa hosted a special event the Louise Brooks Society put on with film historian / critic Peter Cowie (see the August 3rd post) to celebrate the centenary of Louise Brooks' birth as well as the release of Cowie's Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu. It was a memorable event.

I am forwarding this email not so much because of the Balboa's connections to Louise Brooks, but because this neighborhood theater, like others around the country, is facing a situation many theaters  are going through. And we, as film lovers, should be aware. I think this moment in film history may be akin to the time when silent era theaters were forced, by necessity, to "wire for sound."



SFNTF UPDATE, August 6th, 2013
Support the BALBOA THEATRE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN! 

The Balboa Theatre needs your help! After screening movies from film for almost 100 years, the Balboa needs to convert its projectors to digital in order to survive. You can click on the link below to contribute and receive great rewards for your support, or read on below for more information. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063252829/balboa-theatre-go-digital-or-go-dark In addition to contributing we hope you will spread the word about this campaign to family and friends via Facebook, Twitter and email.


"GO DIGITAL OR GO DARK" CAMPAIGN AIMS TO UPGRADE BALBOA PROJECTORS TO DIGITAL! 

The Balboa Theatre opened in 1926 and has served San Francisco's Richmond district continuously since then. Every year, thousands of residents of all ages visit the Balboa to relax and enjoy the magic of the movies in a classic neighborhood setting. We want this tradition to continue, but we need your help.

After 100 years of movies being screened from film, Hollywood is converting to digital. Every theatre must upgrade its projectors and associated equipment and it must be done by the end of this year. Upgrading the projection and sound equipment in both of the Balboa's auditoriums will cost close to $150,000. This goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise the funds to cover the cost of the digital upgrade for one of the Balboa's two auditoriums. Any funds raised above the goal will be put towards upgrading the second auditorium. You can click on this link to contribute: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063252829/balboa-theatre-go-digital-or-go-dark 

Unfortunately, classic cinemas like the Balboa are rarely able to compete against modern multiplexes. The Balboa is able to survive only because the non-profit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation holds the lease for the Balboa and covers many expenses so that the Balboa's operator, CinemaSF, can afford to keep the theatre going. To date, the Theater Foundation has enabled numerous improvements including new paint, new floors, a new heating system and new seats. The expense of the digital upgrade, however, requires this Kickstarter campaign.

If the campaign is successful we will immediately upgrade the Balboa's auditorium 1 to digital and hopefully we'll be able to get work on auditorium 2 going as well. With digital projectors in place we'll be able to keep the Balboa alive offering a modern, first-class movie experience in a classic neighborhood theatre. Once the digital conversion is complete, we plan to work on other upgrades including expanding the concession operation to include beer, wine and food. We also hope to rehab the Balboa's aging restrooms.

And if we're not successful? Without digital the Balboa Theatre can't continue to screen new films and the theatre will likely go dark. We don't want that to happen and we know you don't want it to happen either. So please give what you can and help spread the word to friends and family about this campaign. In exchange for your support we'll give you great opportunities to experience the new and improved Balboa for many years to come. Please pass on this link to family and friends and click through to make your contribution! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063252829/balboa-theatre-go-digital-or-go-dark 

For more info about all the Balboa's programming including showtime information please visit www.cinemasf.com!

San Francisco's Historic Balboa Theatre is located at 3630 Balboa Street (at 37th Avenue) in the Outer Richmond. Plenty of street parking is available and Muni's 31-Balboa serves the theatres directly .

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lehigh University newspaper weighs in on The American Venus

I was stumbling around the Lehigh University website recently when I noticed that the school's newspaper, The Brown and White, had been scanned and put on line in a searchable format. I looked up "Louise Brooks" and found newspaper advertisements for a couple of her films in which the actress was noted as starring. Those films were Now We're in the Air (which showed at the same time as Metropolis - "words can't describe it") in November, 1927 and then again in February, 1928 as well as Beggars of Life in November, 1928.

I then did a search for film titles (where Brooks was not listed), and found advertisements for The Street of Forgotten Men screenings in October, 1925 and January, 1926. I also turned up an advertisement for a three day run for The American Venus in February, 1926. This showing of the film also received a humorous review of sorts which is well worth reading. (Click on the image to view a bigger copy.)



The review suggests that the Thursday afternoon matinee of The American Venus was very, very, very popular - so much so the writer wondered whether classes at Lehigh had been cancelled! The Miss Bay Port referenced in the piece is indeed Louise Brooks, while the Miss America critiqued for her acting was Fay Lanphier - who was Miss America in 1925.

Almost 60 years later, Louise Brooks' best known film, Pandora's Box, was shown at Lehigh. The campus silent cinema series screened what it described as the "one of the most subtly erotic films ever made," presented by Professor Michael Pressler. 


Lehigh University (located in in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) is one of a number of college newspapers I have searched - either over the web on on microfilm - looking for Louise Brooks-related material. They include the University of Michigan, Harvard, USC, UCLA, University of California, Berkeley and others.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Louise Brooks anniversaries

Louise Brooks (actress, dancer, and writer) died on this day, August 8th, in 1985. And in tribute, the Louise Brooks Society was launched on the web in August of 1995.



A major overhaul of the LBS (at www.pandorasbox.com) is coming this Fall.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Don't forget, Diary of a Lost Girl TONIGHT in Los Angeles

DON'T FORGET: The Silent Treatment and the Cinefamily Theater will screen the classic 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, on August 7 in Los Angeles, California. More information here. Showtime is 7:30 - tickets are $12.00.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vintage Hollywood comic books, including Dixie Dugan and Buck Jones, at Digital Comics Museum

The Digital Comics Museum is a wonderful online resource. The site says it is "the best site for downloading FREE public domain Golden Age Comics," and it may well be true. To start downloading, register an account and enjoy reading a great assortment of vintage comic books. The Digital Comics Museum does not charge per download, with the stated goal of the project to archive these comic books online and make them widely available.

There are comic books dating, mostly, from the late 1930s through the early 1960s. Among them are a couple associated with the career of Louise Brooks, as well as many others relating to Hollywood and the movies.

The Digital Comics Museum has a couple of issues of the Dixie Dugan comic book. As fans of Brooks will recall, the actress was the inspiration for this long-running comic strip / comic book character. The early incarnation of the strip, circa 1930, featured a look-alike character, scenes set in the entertainment world, and even a few panels lifted directly from film stills. Follow this link to see these later-day Dixie Dugan comics - http://www.digitalcomicmuseum.com/index.php?cid=244

The Digital Comics Museum also includes a half-dozen issues of a Buck Jones comic book. As fans of Brooks will also recall, Brooks was featured in Empty Saddles, a 1936 Western starring Jones. He started in the silent era, a remained major star throughout the 1930s. Sadly, Jones was one of the 492 victims of the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, Massachusetts, dying two days after the November 28th blaze. For years, legend held that Jones's fatal injuries were the result of his going back into the burning building to save victims, but it is now known that he was one of many trapped in the fire. Follow this link to see the Buck Jones comics, which date from the early 1950s, a number of years after Jones' death - http://www.digitalcomicmuseum.com/index.php?cid=632

And speaking of Western films featuring Louise Brooks, the Digital Comics Museum also has issues of John Wayne Adventure Comics. As fans of the actress will recall, Brooks was featured in an early John Wayne film, Overland Stage Raiders (1938). These comics date, I think, from the early 1950s.

The Digital Comics Museum has numerous other Hollywood-related comic books from the 1940s and 1950s, some of which harken back to the silent and early sound era.

They have runs of Johhny Mack Brown, Bill Boyd Western, Motion Picture Comics, Tom Mix Western, Hollywood Diary, Hollywood Secrets, Abbott and Costello Comics, Three Stooges, Famous Stars, and others. And of course there are many non movie or celebrity related comics.

But wait, there is more! The Digital Comics Museum also has very early issues of Little Nemo (circa 1906 - the year Brooks was born) and Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang (from the early 1920s). As fans of the actress will also recall, Brooks appeared in the cover of this humor journal in the late 1920s.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

MUST READ - Flashback: Louise Brooks By Peter Cowie

Thomas Gladysz and Peter Cowie in 2006
Peter Cowie, film critic and film historian extraordinaire and the author of Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, has penned a wonderful essay for the Criterion website.

The piece is called "Flashback: Louise Brooks By Peter Cowie," and it's about the critic's friendship with the actress during the 1970's. It's a must read.

This is the second in a series of pieces devoted to film figures Cowie has gotten to know in the course of his long and illustrious career. Read his introduction to the series here.

In the comments field, Kevin Brownlow wrote: "As beautifully written and as vivid as a letter from Louise Brooks."

If you are a Louise Brooks fan and don't have a copy of Cowie's pictorial book, Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, then get a copy today on amazon or ABE.com or your favorite used bookstore!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cinefamily screens the Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, on August 7

DON'T FORGET: The Silent Treatment and the Cinefamily Theater will screen the classic 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, on August 7 in Los Angeles, California. More information here. Showtime is 7:30 - tickets are $12.00.


Inside the Cinefamily Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Notice the portrait
of Louise Brooks on the wall!
"There’s a reason the name Louise Brooks elicits sighs every time it’s mentioned at the Cinefamily: her ferocious charisma and otherworldly beauty cemented her status as an icon well before she retired from the silver screen, at the age of 32. From her comic role opposite W.C. Fields to multiple turns as troubled, willful heroines in the films of legendary German Expressionist auteur G.W. Pabst, Brooks shines as an actress capable of endless nuance and versatility — as she understood the impact both her inner and outer beauty could bring to the screen. Here, in her second and final collaboration with Pabst, Brooks gives a delicately restrained performance as the naive daughter of a prosperous pharmacist who stuns her clan by becoming pregnant. After being put through the repressive reform school ringer, she escapes to a brothel where she becomes liberated and lives for the moment with radiant physical abandon. Pabst’s escalating nightmares are heightened by Brooks’ sensitive portrayal of a truly lost girl whose hard-earned redemption is as beautiful a vision as the star herself. Dir. G.W. Pabst, 1929, 35mm, 116 min. - See more at: http://www.cinefamily.org/films/the-silent-treatment/#the-silent-treatment-louise-brooks-in-diary-of-a-lost-girl"



See the movie? Read the book. Check out the "Louise Brooks edition" of Margarete Bohme's controversial bestseller, The Diary of a Lost Girl - available through Indiebound and Amazon.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks

Here is a rather remarkable picture of Louise Brooks, taken most likely in 1925 during her time on the stage in New York City. It is an usual look, wouldn't you say....


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