Sunday, March 30, 2014

A new project

I've started a new project today. I am creating an index to Lulu in Hollywood. Surprisingly, no edition of the book that I have has an index - and I feel the book cries out for one. I am indexing all of the proper names and place names. My index, when finished, can be used with the original hardback edition from Knopf as well as the more recent University of Minnesota reprint from 2000. The pagination for each of these books is the same. The index will also be useful with two British editions (which I own), the softcover published by Hamish Hamilton in 1982 and a later paperback reprint from Arena published in 1987. Indexing is very tedious work. Nevertheless, I plan to see it through to the end by doing a couple of pages a day. I hope to be done in a couple of months time.

Documentary based on Jim Tully bio nearing release

The documentary based on the book, Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler (Kent State University Press), is nearing release. Here's the opening clip.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Social Celebrity - A Round-up of Reviews

A Social Celebrity, Louise Brooks' third film, was officially released on this day in 1926. The film is a comedy about a small town barber's son who poses his way into New York high society. This Paramount film was directed by Malcolm St. Clair. Adolphe Menjou played Max Haber, Louise Brooks played Kitty Laverne, and Chester Conklin was Johann Haber. The film is lost.




A Social Celebrity proved popular. Here is a round up of magazine and newspaper reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

Marzoni, Pettersen. "Picture Reviews." Birmingham Age, March 29, 1926.
--- "A newcomer also provides color to A Social Celebrity. She is Louise Brooks, who flashed a moment of inspiration in The American Venus." (brief review in Birmingham, Alabama newspaper; the film was also deemed acceptable by the Better Films Committee of Birmingham in an adjunct column)

Tinee, Mae. "Adolphe Menjou Proves He's No One Role Actor." Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks, who plays the small town sweetheart who want to make a peacock out of her razorbill, is a delightful young person with a lovely, direct gaze, an engaging seriousness, and a sudden, flashing smile that is disarming and winsome. A slim and lissome child, with personality and talent."

Hughston, Josephine. "Adolphe Menjou At Liberty in A Social Celebrity." San Jose Mercury Herald, April 2, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks is Kitty, the girl who sets the pace in leaving the small town to dance in a New York night club."

anonymous. "A Social Celebrity." New York Morning Telegraph, April 19, 1926.
--- "Besides Menjou's capital performance, various rosettes and medals should go to Josephine Drake, Louise Brooks, Chester Conklin and Elsie Lawson. . . . Louise Brooks, provocative, alluring, would have been enhanced by better lighting or darker make-up, but that will doubtless come in another picture. She is, Heaven knows, potent enough as it is."

W., M. "Mr. Menjou in Another Cinema Joy on Valentine Silver Sheet." Toledo Times, April 19, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks, who left Mr. Ziegfield's 'Follies' for a career on the shadow stage, has her first important role opposite him and does admirably. She is a captivating little brunette with the figure of a Venus."

McGowen, Rose. "Social Celebrity Shaved Off Nobility by Chance Remark." New York Daily News, April 20, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks would have been ample excuse for making any picture. Here is a young actress who has fresh young beauty reinforced by one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen on the screen."

Pelswick, Rose. "New Pictures on Broadway." New York Evening Journal, April 20, 1926.
--- "It is about 85 per cent top grade entertainment and consequently much better than the average. . . . Louise Brooks is an unusually attractive girl who stirs the hero to ambition by leaving the same small town to do the inevitable Charleston in a Broadway night club."

Fred. "A Social Celebrity." Variety, April 21, 1926.
--- "And in Louise Brooks it looks as though Famous has a find that might rank in the Colleen Moore class providing they handle her right."

anonymous. "Adolphe Menjou in A Social Celebrity." Film Daily, April 25, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks a cutey and with a quantity of good looks. She isn't exactly the heroine type though. She would make a far better baby vamp."

Montfort, Lawrence M. "Menjou Funny in Granada's Screen Farce." San Francisco Illustrated Daily News, April 26, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks, who plays the small town girl who coaxes Menjou to emulate her example and try luck in New York is a comer and awfully good to look upon. Her straight-cut bob, black eyes and not too sweetly pretty face are different, and she displays some acting ability."

B., D. W. "Films of the Week." Boston Evening Transcript, April 28, 1926.
--- "In this instance the manicurist is no less provocative a morsel than Miss Miss Louise Brooks, remembered for her bit in that specious puff-pastry, The American Venus. Miss Brooks has anything but a rewarding task in A Social Celebrity. Yet it would be ungracious not to comment on the fetching qualities of her screen presence. She affects a straight-line bang across the forehead with distressingly piquant cow-licks over either ear. Her eyes are quick, dark, lustrous. Her nose and mouth share a suspicion of gaminerie. Her gestures are deft and alert - perhaps still a shade self-conscious. In body she is more supple than facial play and her genuflectory exertions in the Charleston might well repay the careful study of amateurs in that delicate exercise."

anonymous. "Menjou, Heart Breaker, Tries Hand at Barbering." Portland Oregonian, May 11, 1926.
--- "It introduces to the movie public a new heroine in the person of the sleek and boyish Louise Brooks. A little young, perhaps, but buoyant and of most engaging smile. There is no opportunity to learn whether or not she can act, but in her role of chorus girl she reveals the most beautiful pair of legs in the movies - which is a rather broad statement and a comment which would have been in very poor taste in crinoline days."

anonymous. "The Screen in Review: A Barber-shop Chord." Picture-Play, August, 1926.
-- "Louise Brooks is the young lady with the black hair who saved The American Venus from a fate worse than death. This young lady, very recently from Kansas, is the newest of all those new faces that have been cropping up lately. And the prettiest, too."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 2: The Diary of a Social Celebrity features Louise Brooks


According to the movie herald pictured above and below, March 27th is day two in the diary of a social celebrity - "a bobbed hair barber who bobbed up at the right time." The film it promotes, A Social Celebrity, which starred Adolphe Menjou (as "social celebrity" Max Haber) and Louise Brooks (as Kitty Laverne), was officially released on March 29th, 1926. (A round-up of reviews will run on this blog in two days. Please check back.) In the meantime, here is the Paramount herald for the film.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Check out those wheels . . . .

Two seldom seen photographs of Louise Brooks looking over an automobile, taken in France in 1929 while the actress was working on Prix de Beaute.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks

Cool pic of the day: Louise Brooks

Monday, March 24, 2014

A cubist drawing of Charlie Chaplin

Just because it is: A cubist drawing of Charlie Chaplin from the book Bonjour, Cinéma (1921), by Jean Epstein.


Epstein was a French filmmaker, film theorist, literary critic, and novelist. Although he is remembered today primarily for his adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher (1928), Epstein directed three dozen films and was an influential critic of literature and film from the early 1920s through the late 1940s. He is often associated with French Impressionist Cinema. In July 2012, a book of Epstein's critical essays was published in English translation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Love Letters of an Interior Decorator - 1928 fiction which mentions Louise Brooks

Show Girl, by J. P. McEvoy, is well known among devotees of Louise Brooks as the first novel to feature a major character or storyline inspired by the actress. First serialized in Liberty magazine in 1928 (and quickly published in book form by Simon & Schuster), Show Girl told of the life and adventures of a character named Dixie Dugan.

The novel and its two follow-up books, Show Girl in Hollywood and Show Girl in Society, proved popular. So much so that they spawned a long-running comic strip which lasted into the 1960s, "Dixie Dugan," as well as a stage play, Show Girl, and two movies which unfortunately did not star Louise Brooks.

This sort of buzz makes one wonder if there were other works of fiction which either featured or named-checked the actress. There were, of course, the various fictionalizations and novelizations of the films in which Brooks' appeared.

Just recently, I came across another work of fiction which mentions, and even pictures, Louise Brooks. And that's not all, as it also notes her appearance in Beggars of Life!

The work in question is Love Letters of an Interior Decorator, by Bert Green; he also drew its illustrations. (Bert Green worked as a film animator in the teens, drew comic strips including "Kids," wrote fiction and scripts, and even directed a Hollywood short.) Like Show Girl, this novel was first serialized in Liberty magazine before being published in book form by Frederick A. Stokes, a leading publisher of the time.

Green's comedic novel has been described as a zany romp and as a cornerstone of Prohibition and Jazz Age fiction. Written in the manner of Gentleman Prefer Blondes, the malaprop-dropping narrator is a bootlegger in love with the flapper depicted on the cover. Subtitled "Romantic Outbursts of a Bootlegger," the story concerns, among other things, the tricky task of providing alcohol (then banned) to the Hollywood community, including its directors and actors. The bootlegger in question, Mike Shea, is known as an "Interior Decorator," as his job involves "plastering." For the uninitiated as well as the sober, the slang is explained on the book's back cover.


The chapter that came to my attention, "Rough Stuff Among the Stars," was published in Liberty magazine in July of 1928 (a few months before the release of the William Wellman directed film, Beggars of Life); it is the chapter which mentions Louise Brooks and her role as girl who dresses as a boy and goes on the run in Jim Tully's story.

This work of fiction certainly counts as one of the earliest works which mentions the actress. What follows is "Rough Stuff Among the Stars." For those interested, vintage copies of the book can be found on amazon.com, ebay, abebooks.com, and elsewhere.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Polish edition of Laura Moriarty's Louise Brooks novel, The Chaperone

The Polish edition of Laura Moriarty's novel, The Chaperone, has been published by Bukowy Las. In Poland, the book is titled Przyzwoitka. Alas, there is no Louise Brooks cover art. Here is the publisher supplied description:

"Inspirowana życiem gwiazdy filmu niemego Louise Brooks opowieść o dwóch diametralnie różnych kobietach oraz o nowojorskim lecie, które je odmieniło W 1922 r., jeszcze zanim stała się sławną aktorką filmową oraz ikoną swojego pokolenia, piętnastoletnia Louise Brooks wyjeżdża latem z Wichita w stanie Kansas do Nowego Jorku, by pobierać naukę w awangardowej szkole tańca Denishawn. Ku jej wielkiemu niezadowoleniu towarzyszy jej trzydziestosześcioletnia przyzwoitka. Cora Carlisle nie jest ani matką, ani przyjaciółką, a po prostu szacowną sąsiadką, którą rodzice Louise wynajmują przez wzgląd na przyzwoitość. Tradycyjna i zacna Cora, która udaje się w tę podróż także z powodów prywatnych, nie zdaje sobie sprawy, na co się zdecydowała. Louise, olśniewająco piękna już w tak młodym wieku i paradująca w słynnej krótkiej fryzurze, znana jest z arogancji, nierespektowania konwenansów oraz z żywej inteligencji. Zanim pociąg zatrzyma się na nowojorskim dworcu Grand Central, Cora nabiera obaw, że pilnowanie Louise będzie co najmniej wyczerpujące, a w najgorszym wypadku wręcz niemożliwe. Ostatecznie jednak te wspólnie spędzone z młodziutką dziewczyną tygodnie okażą się najważniejszym czasem w jej życiu."

Translation: "Inspired by the life of silent film star Louise Brooks, a tale of two radically different women and the New York City summer that changed in 1922, even before she became a famous film actress and icon of his generation, fifteen year old Louise Brooks leaves in summer, from Wichita, Kansas to New York to get enrolled in school by Denishawn dance. To her great disappointment of trzydziestosześcioletnia is accompanied by a chaperone. Cora Carlisle is neither her mother nor her friend, and simply distinguished neighbor, Louise's parents rent for the sake of propriety. The traditional zacna and Cora, who goes on this journey with private reasons, does not realize what you decided. Louise, drop-dead gorgeous already at such a young age and paradująca in the famous short hairstyle, is known for its arrogance, to become sources of conventions and with living intelligence. Before the train stops at New York's Grand Central station, Cora takes on fears that ensure Louise will at least be comprehensive, and at worst impossible. Ultimately, however, these jointly spent with young girl weeks will prove to be the most important time in her life."

And for those keeping track, here is the cover of the 2013 German edition. Laura Moriarty's  novel was translated into German by Britta Evert, and titled Das Schmetterlings mädchen

The publisher's description reads: "New York in den Goldenen Zwanzigern: Eine turbulente Metropole voller Leben, Musik, Abenteuer - ein aufregendes Versprechen. Als die fünfzehnjährige Louise aus dem verschlafenen Kansas dorthin reist, um Tänzerin zu werden, geht für sie ein Traum in Erfüllung. Hals über Kopf stürzt sich das neugierige, unkonventionelle Mädchen in diese berauschende Welt - sehr zum Missfallen ihrer Anstandsdame Cora, einer Frau mit traditionellen Wertvorstellungen. Doch hinter Coras korrekter Fassade verbirgt sich ein trauriges Schicksal, von dem niemand ahnt. Die Reise nach New York ist für sie eine Reise in die Vergangenheit."

Translation: "New York in the Roaring Twenties: A turbulent metropolis full of life, music, adventure - an exciting promise. As a fifteen year old Louise from the sleepy Kansas travels there to be a dancer, she goes for a dream come true. Head over to the curious, unconventional girl falls into this intoxicating world - much to the displeasure of their chaperone Cora, a woman with traditional values​​. But behind Cora's correct facade hides a sad fate from which no one suspects. The trip to New York for them is a journey into the past." 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Evening Clothes - A Round-up of Reviews

Evening Clothes, Louise Brooks' eighth film, was officially released on this day in 1927. The film is a comedy-drama about a French gentleman farmer who, spurned by his bride, goes to Paris in order to become sophisticated enough to win her back. The film is lost, as are all of Brooks' films from 1927.

Evening Clothes was directed by Luther Reed. Adolphe Menjou played Lucien d'Artois, Virginia Valli was Germaine, Noah Beery played Lazarre, and Louise Brooks was Fox Trot. Notably, this is one of the rare silent films films in which Brooks did not appear in her signature bob. And not surprisingly, many reviewers and critics of the time commented on the actress' different hair style.


Evening Clothes proved popular in its day. Here is a round up of newspaper and magazine reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.

Parsons, Louella O. "Evening Clothes an Entertaining Story." Los Angeles Examiner, March 5, 1927. --- "When you see the show girl, Louise Brooks, cavorting about with a frizzled top you will see why Famous Players Lasky is grooming her for bigger and better things. She fares much better than either Miss Tashman or Mr. Beery, who only appear at long intervals."

Yorke, Hal. "Evening Clothes Presents Menjou at Metropolitan." Los Angeles Daily Illustrated News, March 5, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks - yes, the one you dream about - is as alluring and pert as ever."

anonymous. "Menjou Picture Outstanding for Hirsute Effects." Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1927. --- "Louise Brooks, who plays one of the featured roles in the picture, has sacrificed the distinctive bob."

Taylor, Ken. "You'd Hardly Know Menjou with a Beard." Los Angeles Evening Express, March 7, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks, whose haunting vivacity has necessitated the restringing of more than one male's heartstrings." - review in Los Angeles, California newspaper

Kreisman, Louise. "Evening Clothes At the Metropolitan." Daily Bruin, March 10, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks, as a curely headed chorus girl . . . The rest of the time she excells in flippancy and heartlessness." - review in UCLA student newspaper

Beaton, Welford. "High School Girls Select Mr. Menjou." and "Some Good and Not So Good Direction." Film Spectator, March 19, 1927.
--- "There are three girls who do very well in Evening Clothes - Virginia Valli, Louise Brooks and Lilyan Tashman. . . . I was glad to see further evidence of Paramount's dawning consciousness that Louise Brooks is not composed solely of legs. They work her from the knees up in this picture and it begins to look as if she were headed for a high place."

anonymous. "Adolphe is Himself Again." New York Telegram, March 21, 1927.
--- "It is a delightful little comedy. . . . Virginia Valli and Louise Brooks (permanently waved) appear both provocative and Parisienne as the leading ladies." 

Hall, Mordaunt. "Bankruptcy and Love." New York Times, March 21, 1927.
--- "Ms. Brooks, with a change in her eyebrows and curly hair, is stunning."

Cannon, Regina. "Menjou's Beard Surprise in Film Evening Clothes." New York American, March 22, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks is again cast as a 'lady of the evening' and makes her role pert and amusing. You won't recognize Miss Brooks at first, for she is wearing her hair curled over her head. This is too bad, for it makes her look just like a thousand other attractive girls. Louise achieved distinction with her straight-banged bob."

C., O. "The Current Cinema." New Yorker, March 26, 1927.
--- short mention in film column "Louise Brooks makes herself more able than usual by the aid of a trick haircut."

O., H.H. "Stage and Screen." Ann Arbor Times News, April 10, 1927.
--- "Louise Brooks, as Fox Trot, a pert little inhabitute of the Parisian cafes, adds her usual snappy characterizations."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Seeking a copy of BBC program, Icons: Louise Brooks

Does anyone have a copy of the 15-20 minute BBC program called Icons, specifically the Louise Brooks episode?

It first aired on the BBC in 2001, and was repeated in 2002, 2003, and 2004. It also aired on MSN on May 1, 2001 in the USA. See this link http://tv.msn.com/tv/episode/icons/louise-brooks.1/

The TV listing from English newspapers of the time describe it as "Fans explain the appeal of actress Louise Brooks."

I gotta see it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Watch a Rare Louise Brooks Documentary II

Here is a rare British television documentary about Louise Brooks from 1986, shown the year after the actress died and three years before the release of the Barry Paris biography. Except for a couple of factual errors (such as Louise Brooks married Eddie Sutherland in 1926, not 1927), it is excellent. Contains a bunch of little seen material. Parts one and two were be posted yesterday.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Watch a Rare Louise Brooks Documentary I

Here is a rare British television documentary about Louise Brooks from 1986, shown the year after the actress died and three years before the release of the Barry Paris biography. Except for a couple of factual errors (such as Louise Brooks married Eddie Sutherland in 1926, not 1927), it is excellent. Contains a bunch of little seen material. Parts three and four will be posted tomorrow.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nominate Louise Brooks films for the National Film Registry

The United States Congress first established the National Film Registry in the 1988. Along with mandating continuing implementation of a plan to save the American film heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress (after reviewing public suggestions and consulting extensively with film experts and the 44 members and alternates of the National Film Preservation Board) to select up to 25 films each year for inclusion in the Registry. The 625 films chosen to date illustrate the vibrant diversity of American film-making.

The Library of Congress is currently seeking nominations. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian of Congress and Film Board are considering their selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Recommendations are due in September. And new selections are usually announced at the end of December.

The  Louise Brooks Society suggests you recommend these Louise Brooks films (and other silent films):

Beggars of Life (1928)

The Street of Forgotten Men (1925)

The Show Off (1926)

A Girl in Every Port (1928)

Love Em and Leave Em (1926)



Please forward your recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to: dross@loc.gov


Looking for other films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. And if you would, tell how you learned of the Registry.Email is preferred; to submit via regular mail, send your nominations to:

National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beggars of Life screens in Scotland at Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema

The 1928 Louise Brooks film, Beggars of Life, will be shown today at the 4th annual Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, which takes place in Scotland's oldest purpose-built cinema – the Hippodrome in Falkirk. This special event has already sold out.

The Dodge Brothers, a skiffle and rockabilly band led by film critic Mark Kermode, will accompany the 1928 Brooks' film. The Dodge Brothers will be joined by Neil Brand.

The event description reads thus: "Country blues, rockabilly and skiffle four-piece The Dodge Brothers are joined by one of the world's leading silent film piano accompanists, Neil Brand, to perform their live score for this glorious railroad romance starring icon of the silent era: Louise Brooks, looking more beautiful than ever in men’s clothing. Taking their inspiration from the music of the American Delta blues and country musicians of Depression-era USA, the Dodges have created the perfect accompaniment for this adventure of a couple of vagabonds jumping freight trains to escape the law."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A few more images of Asta Nielsen

Here are a few more images of the divine Asta Nielsen.... To learn more, check out her Wikipedia or IMdB pages.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Asta Nielsen as Lulu

Asta Nielsen and Charlie Chaplin
as Adam and Eve
Lately, I have been reading about the great Danish actress Asta Nielsen (1881-1972). Though she worked mostly in Germany, her fame transcended that nation's film industry and Nielsen is and was widely considered one of the first international movie stars.

About her, the great French poet Guillaume Apollinaire once exclaimed, "She is everything! She is the drunkard's vision and the lonely man's dream."

Notably, Nielsen played Lulu in Leopold Jessner's 1923 film  of Frank Wedekind's play Erdgeist. However, she may best be known to film buffs for her role as an aging prostitute in the 1925 German film Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street), which was directed by G. W. Pabst and starred then newcomer Greta Garbo.

Years later, Pabst stated "One has long spoken of Greta Garbo as 'the divine' – for me Asta Nielsen has always been and will always remain 'the human being' par excellence." Wow.

I don't know that Louise Brooks and Asta Nielsen ever met. And I don't know that Brooks was even much aware of actress, an actress who in so many ways set the stage for Brooks' own performance as Lulu in Pabst's Pandora's Box (1929). Nevertheless, the two actresses had much in common. At various times in the 1920's, including for her role as Lulu, Nielsen sported a severe Dutch bob not unlike Brooks.

Asta Nielsen, 1930
And like Brooks, Nielsen was known for her erotically charged style of acting as well as for her occasional androgynous appearance. (One of her best regarded film roles was as Hamlet, from 1921.) Not surprisingly, some of Nielsen's German films were censored when shown in the United States, where she failed to become well known.


 Below is an image of Asta Nielsen, as Lulu in Erdgeist. It is a striking, and very stylized image.


And here below is another image of Asta Nielsen as Lulu in Erdgeist. It is less stylized, though still striking. The studio who took this image is Binder. They also photographed Brooks.


And finally, here is a seven minute excerpt from Erdgeist. It features a new score by Luke Styles  commissioned by and premiered at the Stummfilmtage 2009 in Karlsruhe, Germany, by ensemble Amorpha under the direction of Luke Styles.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lulu7 a new take on Frank Wedekind's Lulu

Lulu7, a new work for the stage, is described as a sharp and witty take on Frank Wedekind's Lulu written by Abi Zakarian. In a series of interlinked monologues seven women play Lulu, charting her passage from rags to riches to prostitution to her final fatal encounter with Jack the Ripper.

Lulu7 will be staged at the Drayton Theater in London, England on March 11-15 and again March 18-22. More information on ticket availability here.

Lulu7 is directed by veteran actress Sarah Berger, whose production of Dwina Gibb's Last Confessions of a Scallywag will be produced at the Mill at Sonning this August. Lulu7 was written by Abi Zakarian, who has just been commissioned by the RSC as part of their season of new writing.

Lulu7 is the third production produced by the so and so arts club, a global internet based group of artists from across disciplines.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sale on Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl

Between now and March 10everything on Lulu.com is 20% off - use code SUPER20. That  includes the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, and essential title for every fan of silent film. The sale doesn’t last long. Grab some great reads before this sale is gone!


Friday, March 7, 2014

RadioLulu is streaming Louise Brooks music of the 1920s, 1930s and today

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 week, in order to help spread the word, the Louise Brooks Society has established a Twitter feed for RadioLulu @Radio_Lulu as well as a Facebook page. Please check 'em out.


RadioLulu 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.

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 be heard singing the charming "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You."

On RadioLulu, you'll 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 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!

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.

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, March 4, 2014

On this day in 1927, Evening Clothes had its world premiere

On this day in 1927, Louise Brooks' eighth film, Evening Clothes, had its world premiere at the Metropolitan theater in Los Angeles, California. Adolphe Menjou was in attendance at that special event, as was the noted poet and then current French ambassador to the United States, Paul Claudel. Brooks was not reported to have been there.

Evening Clothes was officially released on March 19, 1927. The film is a comedy-drama about a French gentleman farmer who, spurned by his bride, goes to Paris in order to become sophisticated enough to win her back. The film is lost.

Adolphe Menjou played Lucien d'Artois, Virginia Valli was Germaine, Noah Beery played Lazarre, and Louise Brooks was Fox Trot. The film was directed by Luther Reed, and notably, the film's cinematographer was Hal Rosson. The great cameraman was once married to actress Jean Harlow (from 1933 to 1934), and is best known for his work on the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. Ah, to be able to watch Evening Clothes today!



Monday, March 3, 2014

Alain Resnais, Acclaimed French Filmmaker, Dead at 91

French film director Alain Resnais has died at age 91. The New York Times obit for Resnais mentioned Louise Brooks.



Resnais' famous 1961 film, Last Year at Marienbad  was based on/inspired by Adolfo Bioy Casares' 1941 novella, The Invention of Morel, whose key character, Faustine, was in-turn inspired by Brooks. Perhaps that is why the New York Times wrote, "The film achieves its hypnotic force through repeated lines and situations, a time scheme that folds back on itself, and ominous, black-and-white wide-screen images that evoke both surrealist paintings (human figures cast long shadows, but not the decorative shrubbery that frames them) and the society dramas of silent film. (Ms. Seyrig is costumed to resemble the enigmatic silent star Louise Brooks.)"



For more on this little known, but fascinating connection see Thomas Beltzer's "Last Year at Marienbad: An Intertextual Meditation."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks screens in Scotland on March 13

The 4th annual Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema takes place in Scotland's oldest purpose-built cinema – the Hippodrome in Falkirk – this March.

This year, the festival offers up screenings of several rare and cult classic films from the silent era and beyond. Highlights include a 1933 Japanese gangster movie Dragnet Girl (Hijôsen No Onna), which gets an all-new soundtrack and Oscar-winner Kevin Brownlow's documentary about the legendary 'man of a thousand faces', Lon Chaney. Also, the Dodge Brothers, a skiffle and rockabilly band led by film critic Mark Kermode, will accompany the 1928 Louise Brooks film Beggars of Life on Thursday, March 13th. The Dodge Brothers will be accompanied by Neil Brand.



As well as gala screenings with unique live soundtracks, the festival offers workshops, including New Found Sound, which sees local schools collaborating on an improvised score with composer Thomas Butler. In "Home Front Picture Houses: Cinema And The Great Warc," Prof. John Caughie  and María Vélez (both University of Glasgow) and Dr. Mike Hammond (University of Southampton, and lead guitar for the Dodge Brothers) examine the legacy of picture houses like the Hippodrome and the role they played in the Great War.

Other films by greats of the silent era being screened this year including work by Buster Keaton and a F.W. Murnau, along with a Laurel and Hardy triple bill. The festival runs March 12 through the 16th – visit the festival site to find out times, prices, and full listings.

Yasujirô Ozu's Dragnet Girl

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Event for The Vanity at Orinda Books

Great turn out today (some 50 people) for Robert Murillo's event for The Vanity at Orinda Books in Orinda, California. I introduced Louise Brooks and participated in the Q & A, and even autographed a copy of my book for a curious attendee. It was lovely seeing and meeting new & old friends, including Beth Ann Gallagher. Robert Murillo signed some extra copies of his novel, which may be ordered through the store.
 
 

LinkWithin