Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Prix de beauté - A round up of reviews

Prix de beauté was officially released in France on this day in 1930. The film was shot as a silent, and then adapted for sound. The sound version is available on DVD. On rare occasions, the silent version is screened, as it was in New Zealand earlier this month.

The film stars Louise Brooks as Lucienne, Georges Charlia as André, H. Bandini as Antonin, and Jean Bradin as Prince de Grabovsky. The film was based on the screenplay by Augusto Genina, René Clair, Bernard Zimmer, and Alessandro de Stefani from an original story idea by René Clair (and G.W. Pabst). The film was directed by Augusto Genina and released by SOFAR Film (La Societe des Films Artistiques).Notably, Louise Brooks' costume design was by Jean Patou.

Prix de beauté was very popular in France, where it was made,and it was screened all around Europe. The Louise Brooks Society archive contains reviews and advertisements from Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland, and The Netherlands. The film wasn't shown in the United States until the late 1950s. Here are a few multinational reviews from the LBS archive.


anonymous. Le Journal des Débats Politiques et Littéraires, March 30, 1929. 
 --- "René Clair, le brillant réalisateur de Chapeau de paille d'Italie, travaille actuellement au découpage de son nouveau: Prix de Beauté, qu'il va tourner pour la Sofar. Il compte prendre les premières prises de vues au début d'avril. On sait que la vedette féminine de cette production sera Louise Brooks, l'étonnant interprète de A girl in every port."

anonymous. "Miss Europa." Corriere della Sera, April 13, 1930. 
 --- "II film è pregevole specialmente nelle parti descrittive più adatte alle particolari qualità dello stile geniniano: le scene del concorso di bellezza, la fiera, certe notazioni d’ambiente e d’officina, sentono tutto il suo tipico realismo spontaneo e pulito. . . . Bisogna menzionare Ia trovata finale, esempio di ingegnosa applicazione dci metodi sonori."

anonymous. "Prix de Beauté." Le Figaro, May 18, 1930.
 --- " . . . Une très jolie femme - Louise Brooks - et une tr&ès jolie idée: l'artiste qu'une balle de revolver abat landis qu'elle chante sur l'écran, et vit, et sóurit, et que, truvée, sanglante, morte, continue, à trois mètres de là, sur l'écran, à chanter, à sourire, à vivre"

Vincent, Carl. "Prix de beauté." L’Indépendance Belge, June 13, 1930.
--- article; "C’est Louise Brooks qui interprète le rôle de Lucienne. Elle le fait avec intelligence et le talent dont elle a fait preuve à travers plus d’un film américain et plus récemment dans deux oeuvres de Pabst: Loulou et Trois pages d’un journal."


Gilbert, Morris. "Paris Cinema Chatter." New York Times, June 15, 1930. 
 --- Brooks is mentioned as appearing in Prix de Beauté in article in New York City newspaper  

H., H. "Miss Europa." Lichtbild-Bühne, August 12, 1930.
--- "Louise Brooks' Spiel ist erfüllt von Anmut und Innerlichkeit . . . . Eine Meisterleistung der Regiekunst."


n. "Miss Europa." Film Kurier, August 12, 1930.
--- "Und Louise Brooks, die bei jeder Geste auf den Regisseur angewiesen bleibt, vermag ihn gerade in diesen Momenten nicht zu unterstützen."


Magnus. Variety, September 3, 1930. 
 --- "The acting is very good. Louise Brooks looks charming and she knows how to move."

anonymous. "Premio de Belleza." Popular Film, July 16, 1931. 
 --- illustrated feature; "Dos escenas de Premio de belleza, el film ablado en francés con fragmentos y canciones en español, del programa Gaumont, estrenado con buen éxito en el elegante cinema Fantasio. Los principales intérpretes de Premio de belleza, son la gentil y bonita Louise Brooks y el excente galán George Charlia. La realización es de Augusto Genina".

Palma, A. "Prix de Beauté." La Rivista Cinématografica, March 30, 1932. 
 --- "Augusto Genina . . . da valoroso artista quale egli è, ha saputo intessere una appassionante trama per lo schermo dallo spunto offerto dall'annuale concorso di bellezza muliebre, e prescegliendo a protagonista Louise Brooks, la quale oltre a campione di bellezza si è dimostrata anche una valida interprete cinematografica . . . Ottima la recitazione della Brooks"

Kennedy, James. "National Film Theater Anthology." Guardian, July 24, 1964. 
--- "Augusto Genina's Prix de Beaute (1930), remarkable for the performance of Louise Brooks."

Lundegaard, Bob. "Prix de Beauté offers quintessential Brooks." Minneapolis Tribune, October 21, 1983.
--- "But we don't go to a Brooks film for plausible character studies. We go to see la Brooks, and for that purpose Prix de Beaute doesn't dissapoint."



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