Monday, August 31, 2015

Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks screens in Buffalo on Sept. 1st

Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, screens in Buffalo, New York on September 1st. The G.W. Pabst directed film is among the offerings in the fall 2015 edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars, the popular, semester-long series of film screenings and discussions hosted by UB faculty members Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson.

Each session of the Buffalo Film Seminars (BFS) begins at 7 p.m. in the Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St. in the University Plaza, directly across the street from the South Campus. More information on the series HERE.

The series opens tomorrow with Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s controversial 1929 drama Diary of a Lost Girl. Legendary silent screen actress Louise Brooks stars as young girl who is raped by the clerk in her father’s pharmacy. She becomes pregnant, is rejected by her family, and must fend for herself in a cruel world.

Seen the movie and want to read the book? Be sure and check out the Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, by Margarete Bohme. his book was the basis the 1929 film. And what's more, this book contains a long introduction detailing the history of this singular book as well as its relationship to the G.W. Pabst directed film. And there are many illustrations as well. More information HERE.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nominate Louise Brooks films for 2016 National Film Registry

It's that time, once more. The Library of Congress is now soliciting nominees for their 2016 National Film Registry list. Please take a moment to nominate one or both of these two American silent films, The Show-Off (1926) and Beggars of Life (1928). Each is a fine film, very American, and each star Louise Brooks.

You can nominate as many films as you like, so why not add a fave Colleen Moore or Clara Bow film as well. It is easy to do. Just send a simple email with your nominees (reasons optional) to filmregistry@loc.gov

Here is my short list:

The Show-Off (1926)
Beggars of Life (1928)
Why Be Good (1929)
Synthetic Sin (1929)
What Price Hollywood? (1932)

More information HERE: Your voice is important! Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The National Film Registry historically has included only those films that were produced or co-produced by an American film company, typically for theatrical release or recognized as a film through film festivals or film awards. If in doubt, check the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for country of origin. Registry criteria does not specifically prohibit television programs, commercials, music videos or foreign productions, however, the original intent of the legislation that established the Registry was to safeguard U.S. films. Consequently the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress give first consideration to American motion pictures.

Looking for ideas on possible films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. This link will take you to the complete list of films currently on the Registry.

For consideration, please forward your recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to: filmregistry@loc.gov. Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. Listing your nominations in alphabetical order is very much appreciated, too. There’s no need to include descriptions or justifications for your nominations unless they’re films that have not been distributed widely or otherwise made available to the public. For example, if a film is listed in the Internet Movie Database or the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, no further information beyond title and date of release is necessary. Lastly, please tell us how you learned of the Registry.
Email is preferred; however, 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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players

 Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players. Clipping from 1927.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Louise Brooks and F. Scott Fitzgerald - a connection

I recently came across a review of an intriguing book, The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love, by James L.W. West III. The book was published by Random House in 2005. The review, by Fitzgerald scholar/biographer Scott Donaldson, reveals what The Perfect Hour only hinted at --  a previously unknown link between actress Louise Brooks and author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The publisher description of The Perfect Hour summarizes the book this way: "In The Perfect Hour, biographer James L. W. West III reveals the never-before told story of the romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first love, Ginevra King. They met in January 1915, when Scott was nineteen, a Princeton student, and sixteen-year-old Ginevra, socially poised and confident, was a sophomore at Westover School. Their romance flourished in heartfelt letters and quickly ran its course–but Scott never forgot it. Ginevra became the inspiration for Isabelle Borgé in This Side of Paradise and the model for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Scott also wrote short stories inspired by her–including “Babes in the Woods” and “Winter Dreams,” which, along with Ginevra’s own story featuring Scott are reprinted in this volume. With access to Ginevra’s personal diary, love letters, photographs, and Scott’s own scrapbook, West tells the beguiling story of youthful passion that shaped Scott Fitzgerald’s life as a writer. For Scott and Ginevra, “the perfect hour” was private code for a fleeting time they almost shared and then yearned after for the rest of their lives. Now West brings that perfect hour back to life in all its freshness, delicacy, and poignant brevity."

Being something of a F. Scott Fitzgerald devotee, I purchased a copy of The Perfect Hour and read it and liked it. If you like reading about Fitzgerald, you should too!

Deering Davis, 1926
What West reveals is that in the mid-Teens, while being courted by Fitzgerald, Ginerva King was infatuated with a "Chicago boy" by the name of Deering Davis, with the two suitors aware of one another. What Scott Donaldson reveals is that Deering Davis is the same Chicago boy / Chicago playboy who married Brooks in 1933.

Of course, it is known that Brooks had met Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald at a Hollywood party. Brooks described meeting the Fitzgeralds at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles in 1927. “They were sitting close together on a sofa, like a comedy team, and the first thing that struck me was how small they were.” Brooks “had come to see the genius writer,” adding, “but what dominated the room was the blazing intelligence of Zelda’s profile… the profile of a witch.”

What we don't know is whether or not Deering Davis (Brooks' second husband) ever revealed his earlier courtship of Fitzgerald's "first love" to Brooks. I suppose it's unlikely, as the Davis-King romance was one of youth and had taken place nearly 20 years earlier.

It has always been a mystery to me as to what Brooks saw in Davis. Was it the fact he was tall, dark, and handsome? I am just a straight guy and no judge of men. But to me, Fitzgerald is handsome, Davis not so. I don't think Davis photographed all that well, and he always seemed to have dark rings under his eyes. Ginerva King thought him a very good dancer, as did Brooks, who formed a dance team with Davis for a short time in the early 1930s.

What we do know is that Davis had a reputation as a Chicago playboy, and romanced many women. Evidently, he had what it took. Below is a little known clipping depicting Deering Davis and Louise Brooks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Louise Brooks and the koala bear

We've all seen the picture of Louise Brooks with a koala bear, but did we ever know it's name? Meet Archie.

Monday, August 24, 2015

There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood

"There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood," by the Blue Steele Orchestra, recorded May 1930. Mabel Bateson on the vocal.


There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood... by bigband78

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The other Louise Brooks: Louise Voray

Speaking of other Louise Brooks.... the actress we know had a Hollywood double named Louise Voray. I haven't been able to find out much about her besides this one 1930 clipping. (I also own an original photograph of the image on the right depicted in the newspaper clipping. She is a look-alike.) Since Brooks worked so seldom in Hollywood around 1929 - 1930, I can't imagined there was much need for her doubling. Does anyone know anything else about Louise Voray?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The other Louise Brooks and the Lindbergh baby kidnappers

In the 1920s and 1930s, there were two Louise Brooks whose name popped up in the press.

The other Louise Brooks, the pretty blonde showgirl whose career shadowed that of the actress Louise Brooks, was thought at one time to have been mixed up in the Lindbergh kidnapping case. The Associated Press send out her picture with the following caption in 1932.

"Louise Brooks, former showgirl, was being sought by Boston, Mass., authorities after police learned that the girl's mother, Mrs. Martin Brooks, of Boston, had received a letter from Louise purporting to tell that she knew the kidnappers of the Lindbergh baby, March 31, 1932. It is one of the hundreds of clues that police throughout the country are patiently tracking down."

Was this just a publicity stunt, or some sort of mix-up? I haven't been able to find anything else on this stray bit of information. Are there any Lindbergh baby kidnapping experts who know where this "clue" went - aside from the fact this Louise Brooks wasn't involved.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The LBS recommends these film / film history links

I've been working on rebuilding the Louise Brooks Society website, in particular one of its oldest pages, "Lulu in Cyberspace".  It is a page of links to other Louise Brooks sites and pages as well as recommended links to other silent film, movie history and Jazz Age material.

Here are some recommended film / film history links. Happy exploring:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mary & Louise - a new short film about Mary Pickford and Louise Brooks

Mary and Louise is a 20-minute film about about finding your voice that features characters based on Mary Pickford and Louise Brooks.

The premise is simple, and poetic. After each fail miserably on the set of their first "talkie", the two silent film stars vow never to speak again. Out of work and past their prime, they become roommates in Brooklyn. Mary and Louise is a fantasy and a comedy with dark undertones which explores the ups and down of friendship and the importance of finding one's voice amid the din of great personal and technological change.

Directed by Abigail Zealey Bess and written by Amy Staats (the actress who plays Pickford), the film is now on the festival circuit. It was screened at the Cayman International and Maine International Film Festivals this summer. Last year, it won the Britt Penrod Award for best trailer.

As can be seen in the video clip below, characters based on Marlene Dietrich, Rudolph Valentino, W.C. Fields, Gloria Swanson, Jean Harlow, Nosferatu, and Charlie Chaplin also figure in the film. I for one am looking forward to seeing the entire film.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The LBS recommends these silent film era links

I've been working on rebuilding the Louise Brooks Society website, in particular one of its oldest pages, "Lulu in Cyberspace".  It is a page of links to other Louise Brooks sites and pages as well as recommended links to other silent film, movie history and Jazz Age material.

Here are some recommended silent film era links. Happy exploring:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pandora's Box screened this weekend in Miami, Florida

We missed it. Pandora's Box screened this past weekend in Miami, Floria as part of the Bal Harbour Shops’ Fashion Project celebrating the intersection between fashion and film with “Dressing Down the Movies,” a free retrospective of 24 classic films ranging from the silent era to the present day. The retrospective runs August 15  through September 30.

According to an article in the Miami Herald, "The selection ranges from 1929’s Pandora’s Box, in which actress Louise Brooks popularized (and immortalized) women’s bob hairstyle, to 1994’s Ready to Wear, director Robert Altman’s comical takedown of haute couture."


SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 2:30PM & 7PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 16 3PM
Pandora’s Box

"What else could Louise Brooks possibly play other than a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sensuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself  and those who love her? “When you meet someone like this in life, you’re attracted,” wrote an admiring Roger Ebert, “but you know in your gut she’ll be nothing but trouble.” Pandora’s Box’s impact on fashion is timeless. The Brooks bob is as iconic as the tank dress she slinks around in, courtesy of  Jean Patou. 1929, directed by G. W. Pabst from the play by Frank Wedekind. With Louise Brooks."

As much as we appreciate their enthusiasm, they get details wrong. Brooks wore a Patou dress in Prix de Beaute, not Pandora's Box. More information about the festival can be found HERE.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Louise Brooks in China, part 4

Here is a document I came across while deep mining databases in search of additional material on Louise Brooks and China. It is a 30-page essay titled "Flapper and Femme Fatale In Chinese Mirror: An Intercultural Study of Star Discourse in the 1930s Hollywood and Chinese Industries" by Katherine Hui-ling Chou. I believe the essay dates from 2001. It can be read in Chinese by following this link.

The essay including a long section on Louise Brooks, which begins this way.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Louise Brooks in China, part 3

My research trip to look through old newspapers also turned up a couple of excellent finds from China -- in Chinese. One was a feature photo, the other a bit about The Canary Murder Case. I also found a similar page on Pandora's Box and another of The Street of Forgotten Men. The photo shown below says it was taken in Hollywood at Brook's home while she was having lunch with her sister.

 
Can anyone translate the text on either of these pages? And tell me if the page featuring the image from The Canary Murder Case (shown below) is about the film itself?





Friday, August 14, 2015

Notes from yesterday's research: Finland

Yesterday, I happily spent more than 5 hours looking through microfilm of old newspapers. My search through some rolls of Russian and Ukrainian newspapers was unproductive. I couldn't find any advertisements or indicators that the papers I looked through carried film advertisements.

My search through a Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, was also unproductive, but not without promise. When I have time, I will try and continue my look through Helsingin Sanomat from the 1920s and early 1930s, because the three pages shown below suggest the search will eventually turn up something. Where there is smoke (other advertisements for silent films), there is fire (advertisements for Louise Brooks' films).

It's easy to notice the ads for Vilma Banky, Colleen Moore, Richard Dix, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Billie Dove and others.





Thursday, August 13, 2015

Painting of Louise Brooks featured in art exhibit in Kansas

The Kansas Women Series of Paintings by artist Jennifer Randall are on display at ARTLANDIA (9 West Ave B, Hutchinson, Kansas 67501) in Hutchinton, Kansas through August 31st. An opening reception will be held on August 20th from 5-9 pm. The artist will be present and refreshments will be served.

Paintings of notable Kansas Women such as Louise Brooks, Eva Jesse, Carrie Nation and more will be featured at the exhibit.  Here are links to a couple of earlier articles on the artist and her work, one on examiner.com (from 2010) and the other on Hutchinson News (from 2008). For those who are wondering, it is only some 52 miles from Hutchinson to Wichita, and some 141 miles from Hutchinson to Cherryvale.


Monday, August 10, 2015

William Wellman blogathon coming in September

One month from today, the William Wellman blogathon hits the web! Hosted by Now Voyaging, the blogathon runs September 10-13, and will feature nearly four dozen blogs from across the web covering many of the director's silent and sound films. The Louise Brooks Society plans on participating, and will cover Wellman's Beggars of Life (1928), starring Louise Brooks. And what's more, we'll be posting some amazing and little know material on this singular Louise Brooks film. See you on September 10th.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Louise Brooks Society on GoodReads


Are you part of the smart set? Do you enjoy reading and love Louise Brooks and the Jazz Age? Do you have an interest in the silent film era, pre-code Hollywood, or all that was going on in Berlin and Paris between the wars? How about F. Scott Fitzgerald, flapper fashion, or femme fatales? Are you on GoodReads?

The Louise Brooks Society has its own GoodReads account, and would like to connect with you.  Check out the LBS on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/Louise_Brooks_Society

There, you can see what other related books the LBS is reading (Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer by Cynthia and Sara Brideson ), has read (Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel by William Wellman Jr. ), or wants to read (The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel).

And if you go through the LBS book shelves, you might also pick up a recommendation or two, such as Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture by Bram Dijkstra, or Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily W. Leider, or Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston, by Robert Hudovernik. There is a lot to check out.



And while you are on GoodReads, don't forget to add these key titles to your your own GoodReads bookshelf -- and give them a rating too!

Louise Brooks, by Barry Paris

Lulu in Hollywood, by Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti Star, by Rolland Jaccard

Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, by Peter Cowie

Dear Stinkpot: Letters from Louise Brooks, by Jan Wahl

The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition), by Thomas Gladysz

The Parade's Gone By, by Kevin Brownlow

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Louise Brooks

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Louise Brooks, who died on August 8th, 1985. Her death was reported on in newspapers all over the world. Here is a link to the New York Times obituary. And here is an Australian clipping.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Louise Brooks in China, part 2

Here are a few more items I found while scouring a couple of English-language newspapers from China for any and all Louise Brooks material. As mentioned in the prior post, the actress and her films received a good deal of coverage. Witness these couple of clippings, the first for The City Gone Wild (1927), and the second and third for A Girl in Every Port (1928).




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Louise Brooks in China, part 1

I recently had the chance to look through a couple of English-language Chinese newspapers in search of mention of Louise Brooks and her films. I am pleased to report I found a lot of articles, reviews, captioned photographs and advertisements. Here is just one of the many items I found, Brooks on the front page of the China News in October, 1928.


Brooks and her films were well represented in China, with most films enjoying repeated screenings. In fact, I found material on the exhibition of the following films. (The dates in parenthesis represent the month of the film's American release / followed by the month of the film's showing in China):

Street of Forgotten Men  (8-25 / 7-27, 4-28)
The American Venus (1-26 / 4-27, 11-27, 4-28)
A Social Celebrity (3-26 / 9-28, 6-29, 10-29, 9-30)
It's the Old Army Game (5-26 / 12-27, 1-28, 6-28)
The Show Off (8-26 / 1-28, 7-28)
Love Em and Leave Em (12-26 / 7-28, 8-28, 11-28, 8-29)
Just Another Blonde (12-26 / 10-27, 11-27)
Evening Clothes (3-27 / 8-28, 2-29, 3-29)
Now We're in the Air  (10-27 / 4-29, 4-30)
The City Gone Wild  (11-27 / 3-29, 6-30)
A Girl in Every Port  (2-28 / 5-28, 6-28, 12-28, 1-29)
Beggars of Life (9-28 / 8-29, 9-29, 10-29)
Canary Murder Case (2-29 / 9-29, 10-29, 7-30)
It Pays to Advertise (2-31 / 4-31, 6-31)
When You're in Love (2-37 / 8-37) 
King of Gamblers (5-37 / 10-37)

The Love Goddesses (12-66) documentary

I found a couple of mentions of Rolled Stockings, but never any instances of the film showing in China. Both Now We're in the Air and A Girl in Every Port received a lot of coverage, and proved popular, as did Canary Murder Case. Check out this full page advertisement from November, 1927 for The American Venus.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Louise Brooks a la Valentina news stand in Rome

Gianluca Chiovelli sent this snapshot of a news stand in Rome which features an image of Valentina, the Italian comix character based on Louise Brooks.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Jean Paul Gaultier designed scarf said to depict Louise Brooks

A Jean Paul Gaultier designed scarf (dimensions 63 X 81 cm) for sale on eBay is said to depict Louise Brooks, but IMHO, it does not. Perhaps there is vague resemblance, but to me, that don't look like her. What do you think?


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Louise Brooks film Diary of a Lost Girl coming on Blu-ray

I am pleased to let everyone know that KINO will be releasing the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, on Blu-ray in the Fall. And that this new release will feature audio commentary by yours truly, Thomas Gladysz. 

Below is a sneak peak at the cover art. The print on the Blu-ray is the Murnau Stiftung restoration (the best we are likely to ever get). My commentary will reveal a number of previously unknown bits about the cast and film - like the fact that the actor who plays the elder Count Osdorff was a friend of James Joyce and had a role in the original stage production of Pandora's Box alongside author Frank Wedekind! And then there is the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari connection....

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