Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diary of a Lost Girl - A round up of reviews

Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, Louise Brooks' sixteenth film, was officially released on this day in 1929. Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, or Diary of a Lost Girl, is the story of a young girl who is seduced and sent to a brutal reformatory. She escapes to a brothel, comes into money, and changes her life.

The film stars Louise Brooks as Thymiane, Fritz Rasp as Meinert, Andrews Engelmann as Director of the reformatory, Valeska Gert as the Director's wife, Edith Meinhard as Erika, Josef Rovenský as Thymiane's father, André Roanne as Count Nicolas Osdorff, Sybille Schmitz as Elisabeth, the Governess, Vera Pawlowa as Aunt Frieda, Arnold Korff as Elder Count Osdorff, Siegfried Arno as a Guest, and Kurt Gerron as Dr. Vitalis. Also appearing in the film are Hedwig Schlichter, Hans Casparius, and Michael von Newlinsky.

This 8 real German silent film is drawn from a screenplay by Rudolf Leonhardt, as adapted from the famous book by Margarete Böhme. The director was Georg Wilhelm Pabst. The film was not as widely shown as Brooks' earlier Pabst directed film, Pandora's Box. Here are a few English language  reviews drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

anonymous. "Diary of a Lost Girl." Variety, November 20, 1929.
--- "This time he has also been unfortunate in the choice of his heroine. Louise Brooks (American) is monotonous in the tragedy which she has to present."

anonymous. "Famous Hollywood Thrillers." London Times, March 9, 1961.
--- ". . . and the two films in which Pabst directed that now almost legendary star of the twenties, Louise Brooks" (announcement of screening of Diary of a Lost One and Pandora's Box at the National Film Theater in London)

Milne, Tom. "Das tagebuch einer verlorenen." Monthly Film Bulletin, December, 1982.
--- "And Louise Brooks, of course, is divine."

Kauffmann, Stanley. "Two Anomalous Careers." New Republic, October 10, 1983.
--- "Because Brooks's personal qualities completely suffuse the screen, a lot of critics have written a lot of nonsense about her acting ability."

Cosford, Bill. "A 'lost' actress found in 'Diary'." Miami Herald, November 14, 1984.
--- " . . . is thus a fascinating piece of evidence for speculation on the career that never was."

Christie, Ian. "Film Guide." Daily Express, February 21, 1986.
--- "Lovely Louise Brooks stars in G. W. Pabst's silent German classic about a girl who goes to the dogs after being seduced by a chemist."

Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide. New York: Signet, 1998.
--- "Pabst and Brooks' followup to their Pandora Box's is even more sordid, yet in some ways more intriguing: Louise is, in succession, raped, gives birth, is put in a detention home, then a brothel, inherits money, marries, is widowed... and writer Rudolf Leonhardt claims only the first half of his script was filmed. Fascinating nonetheless, with an explicitness that's still surprising; a must for devotees of German stylistics (and of course, Brooks). Fully restored version was reissued in 1984."

Thomajan, Dale. "Diary of a Lost Girl." TV Guide Online, circa 2001.
--- "Despite its conventional, abrupt, and unsatisfying ending, it is still valuable for its frequent audacity, its scathing dissection of bourgeois selfishness and hypocrisy, and its showcasing of the incomparable Louise Brooks in her prime."

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