Monday, November 23, 2015

Louise Brooks in Norway, part 2

This post originally appeared on Facebook. The clippings were found by Tor Lier, and he also authored the commentary and provided the translations. It is a great haul of previously undocumented material.


An article in A-Magasinet, the weekly magazine format supplement of Aftenposten.
«Louise Brooks opdager Europa» (Louise Brooks discovers Europe).

Signed anonymously «Correspondent», this appears to be a translation of a syndicated article from another country. From the wording, I’d guess that it’s of German origin. . It would be too much of a task translating the whole thing, but here are some interesting passages: "She was at the top, and great things were expected of her, when the talkies fever broke out in America and made the situation uncertain for the movie stars. Louise Brooks, too, experienced difficulties. Her contract with Paramount had expired, and there were conditions attached to its renewal that the new star did not appreciate.

That’s when Louise Brooks discovered Europe."

 (… A diatribe against American movie people’s dismissal of European films follows…)
"However, Louise Brooks, or her manager — or both of them together — had seen a German film and were amazed at what those poor Europeans were able to achieve.
Negotiations with German companies followed, and one day the lovely Louise found herself in Berlin."

(… The following paragraphs deal with German skepticism of having an American play Lulu, as we’ve heard from Louise herself and other sources.
"It cannot be denied that we had pictured a different kind of Lulu, perhaps a Greta Garbo, or why not Brigitte Helm?"

"The general audiences were ecstatic. This was just how they wanted Lulu, childishly innocent in all her sin, as if apologetic for all the evil she did.
However, the critics were cool. Many of them felt that the performance of the American star was very slight.
And the following day, the papers were furious: What was all this farce about the hunt for the perfect Lulu, when all the while the contract with the American star lay safely in the film company director’s safe? And criticism of poor Louise was as harsh as it can be in Berlin when you’ve accidentally upset the critics.
But in spite of all this, the film is playing to packed houses."
What I find odd here is the bit about Louise and he agent starting negotiations after taking an interest in German films. Unless I misremember, all reports tell of Pabst discovering Louise in A Girl In Every Port, and his offer coming to her out of the blue. Was this concocted by the article writer, or an after-the-fact embellishment from Louise’s agent?

Page two of the article:

And the photos from page 1 in larger size:

Thanks to Tor Lier for permission to reprint this material.

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