Friday, November 4, 2016

New 2K Restoration of Beggars of Life Heading to Theaters

BIG news: Kino Lorber Repertory has just announced that a new restoration of the 1928 William Wellman-directed film, Beggars of Life, will be heading to theaters and festivals sometime next year. Based on the 1924 autobiographical novel by Jim Tully, the film stars Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery, and Richard Arlen. This is a new 2K restoration from materials held in the archives of the Library of Congress. Not known is whether or not this new restoration will include an of the film's original audio elements, which are thought to have been lost (but in fact may not be, completely).

Additionally, a Blu-ray release is expected to be announced for next year. According to knowledgeable sources, Beggars of Life is one of a handful of Paramount-produced silent films considered for release. Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

This is BIG news. And not only because Beggars of Life is Louise Brooks' best American silent film, a designation otherwise held by default by the Howard Hawks directed A Girl in Every Port (1928). It's fun, but not really so significant of a work, despite the high regard it is held in France.

Why is Beggars of Life big news? Because with this restoration and revival comes renewed attention to Brooks entire body of surviving work. For years, Louise Brooks was a largely forgotten actress remembered, if at all, only for her role as Lulu in Pandora's Box (1929). Once that film was established as a masterpiece, Brooks other G.W. Pabst directed film, Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), soon followed. Brooks moved from a one-hit actress to an actress with two great films to her credit. In the last few years, Prix de Beaute has also found favor, and now Brooks is known for what she accomplished with her "European trilogy." And now comes recognition for Beggars of Life, a fourth film, further putting Brooks front and center in film history. Now, if only The Show Off (1926) or Love Em and Leave Em (1926) would come back into circulation to round things out..... or one of her best lost films, like The City Gone Wild, were to be found.... or....

ADDENDUM: I for one would like to see Beggars of Life released on Blu-ray with the equally gritty The Street of Forgotten Men (1925), Brooks first film.

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