Thursday, March 30, 2017

Now We're in the Air - Lost Louise Brooks Film Resurfaces!

A Louise Brooks film previously considered "lost" has just been found!
Now We're in the Air (1927) will be shown June 2 in San Francisco
at the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. This is what
Louise Brooks fans have been waiting for for a long time.
The film was a smash hit in San Francisco back in 1927,
and a large turn-out is expected for this
historic screening 90 years later.

Read all about it HERE on the Huffington Post.


Thomas Gladysz and Christy Pascoe of the Louise Brooks Society had a hand
in the restoration of this new discovery. To mark the occasion, a related 100
page book by Thomas Gladysz is in the works, and should be available at
the San Francisco Silent Film Festival June event.

Read all about this BIG news on the Huffington Post.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Louise Brooks -- photo of the week

Here is a publicity portrait of Louise Brooks taken for Now We're in the Air (1927). It is the Louise Brooks Society blog photo of the week!


Monday, March 27, 2017

Forthcoming Louise Brooks projects

I have been busy lately.... within the next four months, four Louise Brooks-related projects with which I have been involved will come to fruition. Three have been completed, and one is nearing completion. I can only speak of a couple of them in any detail right now.

One of these projects, in which I had a hand, will be announced within a few days. It has been in the works for a number of months. I made my small contribution earlier this year. I cannot say more about it at this time, but be assured, it is BIG news. Louise Brooks fans everywhere will be thrilled.

After it is announced, I will announce my related project, a 100+ page book which I am currently editing / compiling.

But for now, I can announce the forthcoming publication of a small book which I have recently completed, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film. The publication of this work, within the next two months, will more-or-less coincide with the release of the DVD / Blu-ray of Beggars of Life from KINO Lorber, which is due out this summer. [Another project I have just recently completed is a 9,000 word audio commentary which will accompany the DVD / Blu-ray as bonus material.]

Here is a mock-up of the cover for my forthcoming book, which was superbly designed by my wife, and which will feature more than 13,000 words of text and 35 images, many of theme rare. I am proud of this little book, as I think it breaks new ground and reveals a good deal of information and analysis on what I feel is a significant silent film. The book will be approximately 72 pages long.

Copies will be available through amazon.com, as well as other online sources. And for those who might want an autographed copy, those will be available directly from yours truly, the author. Details to come. I also hope to sign books at a few events in California sometime this year, should things work out.

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Book: The W.C. Fields Films by James Neibaur

Coming soon from film historian James Neibaur, The W.C. Fields Films (Mcfarland & Co).

I, for one, am looking forward to this new book, which I expect will include information on the 1926 film, It's the Old Army Game, which starred W.C. Fields and Louise Brooks.

From the publisher: "W.C. Fields was one of the top comedians during Hollywood's Golden Era of the 1930s and 1940s and has since remained a comic icon. Despite his character's misanthropic, child-hating, alcoholic tendencies, his performances were enduringly popular and Fields became personally defined by them. This critical study of his work provides commentary and background on each of his films, from the early silents through the cameos near the end of his life, with fresh appraisals of his well known classics. Pictures once believed to be lost that have been discovered and restored are discussed, and new information is given on some that remain lost."

James L. Neibaur is a film historian and educator with more than a dozen books and articles in Cineaste, Classic Images, Film Quarterly, Films in Review, Filmfax, and Encyclopaedia Britannica. Among his books are James Cagney Films of the 1930s (2014), Buster Keaton's Silent Shorts: 1920-1923 (2013), The Charley Chase Talkies: 1929-1940 (2013), The Silent Films of Harry Langdon (1923-1928) (2012), Stan Without Ollie: The Stan Laurel Solo Films, 1917-1927 (2012), Early Charlie Chaplin: The Artist as Apprentice at Keystone Studios (2011), The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for MGM, Educational Pictures, and Columbia (2010), Chaplin at Essanay: A Film Artist in Transition, 1915-1916 (2008), and Arbuckle And Keaton: Their 14 Film Collaborations (2006).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

If you could find one of Louise Brooks' lost films, which would it be?

It is a well known and regrettable fact that the majority of films made during the silent era are lost. The percentage of lost films has been estimated to be as high as 75% or 80%.

That percentage, which is shockingly high, does not apply to the films of Louise Brooks -- at least not by much.

The actress appeared in only 14 silent films during her brief career, and only 7 of these productions are considered lost. (One of them, Just Another Blonde, is partially extant. I have seen what remains, and it looks rather fun. Another, The Street of Forgotten Men, is largely extant, but is rarely shown.) Please note, I am counting both Beggars of Life and The Canary Murder Case among Brooks' silent films, as each was released in both silent and sound versions.


All this leads me to wonder which lost Louise Brooks film YOU would most like to see. It is something to think about or even fantasize about.

If I had to pick one, I might picked Rolled Stockings, simply because Brooks likely had the most screen time in it among the lost films. Or, I might pick The City Gone Wild, because it is a gangster picture and it would be kinda cool to see Brooks as a moll. Of course, I would be thrilled to see any lost Brooks' film. Wouldn't you?

Here is a list of films featuring Louise Brooks which are considered lost. If you wish, post your pick in the comments section below.


The American Venus (1926)
A Social Celebrity (1926)
Just Another Blonde (1926) *

Evening Clothes (1927)
Rolled Stockings (1927)
Now We're in the Air (1927)
The City Gone Wild (1927)




Monday, March 20, 2017

W.C. Fields brief appearance in Love Em and Leave Em

I came across this still from the 1926 Louise Brooks film Love Em and Leave Em for sale on eBay. And in doing so, I spotted something I have never noticed before, the portrait of comedian W.C. Fields pinned to the wall of the bedroom belonging to the two sisters, played by Louise Brooks and Evelyn Brent. Of the three images on the wall above a sleeping Louise Brooks, the Fields portrait is to the right. I can't make out the other portraits seen in this scene still.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

New book includes chapter on a Louise Brooks film

A recently released and rather expensive new book, Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema, by Austrian scholar Christian Quendler, contains a chapter on the 1929 Louise Brooks film, The Diary of a Lost Girl, and its literary source material, Margarete Bohme's book of the same name. The book was published by Routledge Advances in Film Studies in November, 2016.

I haven't yet seen the book, nor have I come across any reviews, so I can't say much about it except what I read online. According to the publisher's description, "This book explores the cultural, intellectual, and artistic fascination with camera-eye metaphors in film culture of the twentieth century. By studying the very metaphor that cinema lives by, it provides a rich and insightful map of our understanding of cinema and film styles and shows how cinema shapes our understanding of the arts and media. As current new media technologies are attempting to shift the identity of cinema and moving imagery, it is hard to overstate the importance of this metaphor for our understanding of the modalities of vision. In what guises does the 'camera eye' continue to survive in media that is called new?"

Warren Buckland, of Oxford Brookes University in the UK, said this, "The metaphor of camera as eye is fundamental to both everyday discussion as well as more academic theories of cinema: it is a pervasive metaphor through which we understand cinema on several levels. Christian Quendler’s detailed study of the camera-eye metaphor is therefore a significant and erudite contribution to scholarship. But, more than this, Quendler’s study takes a truly interdisciplinary approach to this metaphor. The Camera-Eye Metaphor in Cinema is not dogmatic in limiting itself to one or two theoretical positions; far from it. This book encompasses a broad array of theoretical approaches – from the philosophy of mind to art theory, narratology, and gender studies. It therefore has a potentially wide appeal, not only in film studies, but also cultural and media studies more generally."

Thought you might want to know . . . .

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New book mentions Louise Brooks on the cover

A just published Italian-language book, Guida al cinema erotico & porno. Dal cinema muto a oggi, by Alessandro Bertolotti, mentions Louise Brooks on its cover. (The actress' name can be found on the lower left hand side.) The 383-page book, published by Odoya library, looks at erotic and pornographic films from the silent era to today.

The publishers description, in Italian, reads: "Nella storia del cinema l'amore, l'erotismo e la pornografia si intrecciano continuamente: dal cinema muto a oggi, il romanticismo, il vizio e la trasgressione si danno la mano malgrado la censura, l'ipocrisia e il perbenismo. Per Alessandro Bertolotti, l'erotismo non esiste come genere cinematografico, ma in tutti i film possiamo trovare momenti erotici: in ogni scena dove due persone si incontrano, nei loro gesti, negli sguardi, nelle parole. Ma cosa rende un film erotico? La bellezza può essere un motore erotico, ogni attrice diventa bella nel momento dell'amplesso, ma puntare solo su un approccio estetizzante, ad esempio attraverso una fotografia ricercata e raffinata, non è sufficiente. Ci vuole un intreccio, una regia. Louise Brooks e Marlene Dietrich sono diventate star perché guidate dal talento di Pabst e Sternberg; Brigitte Maier e Constance Money si sono distinte dalla pletora di attricette porno grazie alla fantasia di Lasse Braun e Radley Metzger. I migliori registi creano un intreccio, per lo meno un'atmosfera, ritardando quanto più possibile l'evento tanto atteso: l'arto sessuale. È la costruzione di una storia a creare le premesse necessarie a una delle principali molle erotiche: l'infrazione dei tabù. Non c'è erotismo senza trasgressione o senza un colpo di scena. Passione, Matrimoni e Tradimenti, Primi amori, Orge, Sesso e Violenza: cinque capitoli tematici aiutano il lettore a scoprire i film più importanti della storia del cinema erotico e porno tra drammi d'amore, commedie e parodie scollacciate, film underground, horror e thriller, sadomaso e a tematica omosessuale, fino agli originalissimi capolavori giapponesi."

According to Wikipedia, the author of this book, Alessandro Bertolotti, "has worked as a director of variety shows for the Italian television channel RAI for twenty-five years. He is also a photographer of female nudes and author of two works on Capri. His photographs are included in the archives of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. He is one of the largest collectors of erotic books and nude photographs in Europe. A portion of his book collection has been exhibited in the fall of 2007 at the Maison européenne de la photographie in Paris. His Books of Nudes (2007), features published studies by photographers, both famous and forgotten, who have taken the naked body as their subject."

I haven't had a chance to see a copy of this new title, which was released this month, so I don't know how much Louise Brooks figures in the book. Have any of the Italian readers of this blog seen the book? Here is a LINK to a blog about the book from last month.

The book seems to be available throughout Europe. Here is a LINK to its page on amazon France.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New book with Louise Brooks on the cover

Thanks to Louise Brooks devotee Darkwoods France, a (perhaps new) Chinese-language book (published in Taiwan?) with Louise Brooks on the cover has come to the attention of the Louise Brooks Society. The book is titled 100 Years of Fashion, and the author is Cally Blackman. An English-language version of this title was published in 2012, but without Brooks on the cover.

Eugene Robert Richee's iconic portrait of the actress holding a single strand of pearls has been features on a number of book covers over the years. And no matter which book it is, it always looks great. Simply said, Brooks makes for a great cover girl.



Here is a picture of the book without its pink wrap around band. 


Cally Blackman is a writer and lecturer with degrees in Fashion Design and History of Art, and an MA in History of Dress from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She teaches at various institutions, including Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design. Her previous publications include 100 Years of Menswear, 100 Years of Fashion Illustration, Costume: From 1500 to the Present Day and, of possible interest to members of the LBS, The 20s and 30s: Flappers and Vamps.

Monday, March 13, 2017

WTF: Margins will be thinner than Louise Brooks' negligee

Naturally, I have a keyword alert for "Louise Brooks" set on google news. And just about every day for the last few months I have received news alerts for financial or economic outlook type stories which use the phrase "Margins will be thinner than Louise Brooks' negligee."

I believe that is a quote from Mr. Burns, the parsimonious cartoon character in The Simpsons television show. The actress was referenced once or perhaps twice on the iconic TV show.

But WTF? Why in h-e-double hockey sticks is it showing up on all of these financial news websites? And, do they even know who Louise Brook is?


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Beggars of Life screens in Chicago on March 11

Beggars of Life (1928) will be shown at the Music Box Theater in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, March 11. This special screening features a 35mm print courtesy of the George Eastman Museum, with permission of Paramount Pictures. The screen will also feature a live musical score on the famous Music Box organ by Dennis Scott, Music Box House Organist. General Admission Tickets – $11 // Senior Tickets – $9 // Music Box Members – $7. More information about this event may be found HERE.

Beggars of Life

DIRECTED BY: William A. Wellman
WRITTEN BY: Benjamin Glazer and Jim Tully (screenplay), adapted from the book by Jim Tully; titles by Julian Johnson
STARRING: Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen, Robert Perry, Roscoe Karns, Edgar "Blue" Washington
 

"After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl (Louise Brooks) tries to escape the country with a young vagabond (Richard Arlen). She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal a car in their attempt to escape the police, and reach Canada. Released more than a year before The Great Depression, the film was loosely based on Jim Tully’s novel Beggars of Life: A Hobo Autobiography, published in 1924, which describes his hardscrabble existence on the rails during the recession years of the 1890s and 1900s."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Beggars of Life and Wild Boys of the Road

If you appreciate the  charm and realism of the 1928 William Wellman film, Beggars of Life, than you simply must see Wellman's 1933 film, Wild Boys of the Road. I just watched the later for the first time, and was WOWED.


From Wikipedia: "Wild Boys of the Road is a 1933 Pre-Code Depression-era American film telling the story of several teens forced into becoming hobos. The film was directed by William Wellman from a screenplay by Earl Baldwin based on the story Desperate Youth by Daniel Ahern. The film stars Frankie Darro. In 2013 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant'."



But what's more, like Beggars of Life, this latter film also features a young woman (Dorothy Coonan) who dresses as a boy as she rides the rails. It is a terrific, unapologetic, and at times harrowing film.  And like Beggars of Life, it is also in the words of review for Wellman's earlier film, "pungent, powerful, appealing, masterfully directed and superbly acted."



Dorothy Coonan as Sally is real cute, Sterling Holloway as Ollie, another hobo, is oh so likeable, and Grant Mitchell as Mr. Smith is also pitch perfect. The film also has Claire McDowell as Mrs. Smith. She had a similar, motherly role in The Show-Off (1926), which featured Brooks.

The film is available on DVD as part of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Three (which includes Other Men's Women / The Purchase Price / Frisco Jenny / Midnight Mary / Heroes for Sale / Wild Boys of the Road). Each is a Pre-Code film directed by William Wellman, one of my very favorite directors. Copies are available through amazon.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

Guest Post: Philip Vorwald on Louise Brooks' Sordid Affair

Guest blogger Philip Vorwald has authored this interesting look at "Louise Brooks' Sordid Affair," which took place during the filming of Beggars of Life.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Diary of a Lost Girl shows March 5th in Rosendale, New York

The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, will be shown at 3 pm on March 5th at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale, New York. This Sunday afternoon screening will feature live piano accompaniment by Marta Waterman. More information about the event can be found HERE.

The historic Rosendale Theatre is a three-story, 260-seat movie theater and performance venue in Rosendale Village, a hamlet and former village in the town of Rosendale in Ulster County, New York. The building was opened as a casino in 1905, and began showing films in the 1920s. By the 1930s, a stage had been installed for live vaudeville and burlesque acts. In 1949, the venue was converted back into a movie theater. Today, the theater is run by the Rosendale Theatre Collective.


If you are wondering about Brooksian triangulation... the closest she came to Rosendale back in the day was Poughkeepsie, when she danced there as a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. Later in life, of course, Brooks lived in Rochester, New York.

Diary of a Lost Girl may well be making its debut in Rosendale. The 1929 film, directed by Georg W. Pabst (not Joseph Pabst), was the second Brooks made in Germany, following Pandora's Box. Controversial in its day, and poorly regarded, the film was not shown in the United States until the 1950s. Those screenings took place in Rochester, at the George Eastman House, under the eye of James Card, the museum's film curator. Diary of a Lost Girl made its theatrical debut in the early 1980s. More about the film and its eventful history can be found HERE.

A bit of trivia: In 1961, acclaimed director John Huston was beginning work on a biopic about Sigmund Freud. In an archive of correspondence about the film, Huston’s longtime assistant Ernie Anderson wrote to the director that Freud had no direct involvement with the making of Diary of a Lost Girl.
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