Monday, July 31, 2017

Kino Lorber announces release of 1928 Louise Brooks film Beggars of Life

Kino Lorber
Kino Classics Releases William A. Wellman's Beggars of Life
Starring Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen and Louise Brooks

Available on Blu-ray and DVD August 22nd
Digitally Restored from 35mm Film Elements Preserved by the George Eastman Museum With Special Features including Audio Commentaries by William Wellman Jr. and Thomas Gladysz, Founding Director of the Louise Brooks Society


"Exciting and brilliantly parsed action scenes." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker
New York, NY -- July 27, 2017 -- Kino Classics is proud to announce the Blu-ray and DVD release of Beggars of Life, the 1928 American silent film classic directed by William A. Wellman (Wings, A Star is Born, The Ox-Bow Incident) and starring Wallace Beery (The Champ), Richard Arlen (Wings), and silent screen icon Louise Brooks (Pandora's Box). 

This exciting drama, following the adventures of a band of hobos riding the rails, was inspired by the adventures of writer Jim Tully, who spent years on the road traveling across the country on boxcars and railways as a real-life hobo, and who wrote about these experiences in his 1924 autobiography, also called Beggars of Life.

Beggars of Life will become available on Blu-ray and DVD August 22nd, with a SRP of $29.95 for the Blu-ray and $19.95 for the DVD. 



This edition from Kino Classics is digitally restored from 35mm archival film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum, and features a musical score compiled and performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount music cue-sheet.

Special features include audio commentaries by actor William Wellman, Jr., and Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society and author of Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, and a booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton. The Blu-ray and DVD also include reversible cover art.

An American silent film classic, Beggars of Life (1928) stars Louise Brooks as a train-hopping hobo who dresses like a boy to survive. After escaping her violent stepfather, Nancy (Brooks) befriends kindly drifter Jim (Richard Arlen). They ride the rails together until a fateful encounter with the blustery Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery) and his rambunctious band of hobos, leading to daring, desperate conflict on top of a moving train. Based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, and directed with adventuresome verve by William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident), Beggars of Life is an essential American original.


Beggars of Life (1928)
Director: William A. Wellman
Written by Benjamin Glazer and Jim Tully
Starring Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks

Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: August 22, 2017
Blu-ray SRP: $29.95
DVD SRP: $19.95

Special Features:
Audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr.
Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society
Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton
Musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue-sheet

Still images courtesy of the Louise Brooks Society

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Louise Brooks KDVS Playlist

Here is my playlist as heard on KDVS (90.3 FM / Davis, CA) on July 21, 2017. I was a guest DJ on "The Jerk Show," and played nearly 90 minutes of Louise Brooks related music. The show (I think) can be streamed HERE.



Here is my playlist:

000 John Matthew Jones – “Louise Brooks” -- from What Will Survive EP (2013) 1:40
001 Sarah Azzara – “Like Louise Brooks” -- from Revenge of Danger Girl (2000) 3:25
002 Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark – “Pandora’s Box” -- from Sugar Tax (1991) 4:04
003 Soul Coughing - “St. Louise is Listening” -- from el oso (1998) 4:29
004 Ron Hawkins – “Lulu” -- from The Secret of My Excess (1995) 1:49
005 Rhum for Pauline – “Louise Brooks' Lover” – from Miami (2010) 2:43
006 Natalie  Merchant – “Lulu” -- from her self-titled album (2014) 4:15
007 Jen Anderson – “Lulu: The Story” -- from Pandora’s Box: The Soundtrack (1993) 3:56
008 The Prize – “Silence” -- from Silence (2002) 7:00
009 Nouvelle Culture – Actress Louise Brooks Theme – from Fading Pictures (2005) 4:41
010 Olivia Louvel – “Lulu a Hollywood” -- from Lulu in Suspension (2007) 4:09
011 Gosta Berling – “Berlin” -- from Everybody’s Sweetheart (2008) 8:07
012 Javolenus – “Waiting For You (Like Louise Brooks)” – from ccmixter website (2013) 3:12
013 Paul Hayes – “Louise Brooks” -- from Vol. 1 Love Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (2003) 2:13
014 The GrrrL – “Black is the Color (Louise Brooks’ Hair)” -- from Run You Luscious Lesbian (2010) 1:57
015 Tombstone Teeth – “Louise Brooks On The Subway” from Bells of Orchids (2011) 1:30
016 unreal dm – “Bob Your Head Like Louise Brooks” -- from LastFM website (200?)  3:50
017 Lady Godiva – “Louise Brooks” -- from Louise Brooks Avenue (1999) 4:47
018 Les Primitifs du Futur – “Chanson pour Louise Brooks” -- from World Musette (1999) 3:50
019 Maurice Chevalier – “Louise” -- from a 78 rpm (1929) 3:12

That's me, wearing a vintage Clubfoot Orchestra "Pandora's Box" t-shirt
And here are my introductory remarks:

I’ll be playing music from all over the map – electronica, new wave, alt rock, folk rock, prog rock, pop and even a little vintage jazz. But all of it is tied together by some kind of association with the silent film star Louise Brooks. Some of these songs are tributes or homage. Some only name-check the actress. But still, its pretty remarkable that so many contemporary musicians have composed songs about an actress who was working nearly a century ago.

For those who might not be familiar with the actress, Louise Brooks was a silent film star popular in the 1920s. She is thought of as a flapper, and was famous for her bobbed hair. It was a style worn and copied by many women in the Jazz Age, and today you still see is worn by models and actresses and perhaps even a few students around Davis. Among Brooks’ contemporaries were familiar names like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino and Clara Bow – the IT girl. They were all people she knew.

Brooks mostly played in comedies and light dramas and the occasional crime film. Some think of Brooks as a femme fatale. She made a number of films in Hollywood, as well as one movie in Berkeley, a college romance called Rolled Stockings; however, that film, like so many other silent films, is lost.

Had your grandparents been in Davis in the 1920s, they would have seen Brooks films play at the old Varsity Theater. The old Varsity (located at 706 2nd Street) operated from 1921 to around 1949. That building was demolished and replaced by store buildings. A new Varsity Theater, built at 616 2nd Street, still operates today.

Though Brooks was an American actress, she did make three films in Europe. Those include the 1929 German made Pandora’s Box, in which she played Lulu. It is easily her best known role and film. She also made another German film, Diary of a Lost Girl, which is really terrific, as well as an early French sound film, Prix de beaute, or Beauty Prize. Each is a tragedy, and without giving anything away, I’ll say that Brooks’ character comes to a bad end in each. Jack the Ripper is involved in one.

I have about 20 tracks line up, which should fill this time slot. Most of them are pretty obscure. I have other LB related tracks, but these are my favorites and these are the ones I thought listeners would enjoy.


If you want to find out more, look Louise Brooks up online. Chances are you come to my Louise Brooks Society website at www.pandorasbox.com , which is full of information about the actress. There is also a terrific biography by Barry Paris which is available at the UC Davis library. The Shields library also has a copy of Brooks' book Lulu in Hollywood. There is also a documentary.

A handful of her surviving films, including Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl, are available on DVD. Also, her best American film, Beggars of Life, is coming out on DVD next month. [Beggars of Life tells the story of an orphan girl who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. While on the run, she dresses as a boy, hops trains, and hangs out with hobos. It’s transgressive in so many ways....]  BTW, that new release includes an audio commentary by yours truly. I’ve also just published a new book on the film called Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film. It’s available on amazon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beggars of Life screens in Toronto, Canada on July 23

Louise Brooks stars in the new digital restoration of Beggars of Life, screening at 1:30 pm on Sunday, July 23 in Toronto, Canada under the auspices of the Toronto International Film Festival. It is an event not to be missed. Beggars of Life is a riveting late silent directed by future multiple Oscar winner William A. Wellman. Besides Brooks, the film also stars future Oscar winner Wallace Beery and late 1920s and early 1930s leading man Richard Arlen. More on this event can be found HERE.



According to the TIFF website: "Recently rediscovered, this almost-lost silent classic directed by the great William Wellman was a remarkably prescient precursor to the rail-riding reality that would face many during the Great Depression. Loosely adapted from the autobiographical 1924 novel by Jim Tully, which described the author's hardscrabble life during the recession years of the 1890s and 1900s, Beggars of Life stars Wellman's Wings leading man Richard Arlen as Jim, a handsome young hobo who hooks up with abused young orphan Nancy (Louise Brooks) after she perforates her incestuously inclined stepfather. Disguising Nancy as a boy, Jim takes her on the road with him; but when Nancy's identity is eventually revealed when the pair stops at a hobo camp, the local kingpin Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery) claims the girl as his royal right."

"[Wellman] stages exciting and brilliantly parsed action scenes aboard moving freight trains … Though the sentimental spark of love may conquer all, [he] leaves a sour air of disgust on the dusty trail" (Richard Brody, The New Yorker)."


This special screening of Beggars of Life will feature piano accompaniment by William O'Meara. More on this event can be found HERE.


William O'Meara has accompanied films for the Toronto International Film Festival, the Ottawa International Silent Film Festival, the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Goethe Institute, the Picolo Spoleto Festival (Charleston, South Carolina), Toronto Film Society, Cobourg Vintage Film Festival, Pacific Cinematheque (Vancouver), the Elora Festival, the Toronto Theatre Organ Society, and for the world's largest festival of silent films: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (Pordenone, Italy). He was also the piano accompanist for Cinematheque Ontario screenings at Jackman Hall. William is also accompanist for many choirs in Toronto including Toronto Choral Society, Victoria Scholars and the choirs of St. Michael's Choir School.


If you enjoy the film and want to learn more, be sure an check out a new book, Beggars of Life: A  Companion to the 1928 Film, by Thomas Gladysz and with a forward by William Wellman, Jr. This just published work features more 50 rare images.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Louise Brooks on the air this Friday afternoon



Should all go according to plan THIS TIME, I will be guest DJ-ing on KDVS this Friday afternoon. KDVS is a free-form college radio station (out of Davis, California), and I will be spinning Louise Brooks and silent film related rock & pop and jazz from 1 - 2:30 pm PST. 

(I will be playing tunes heard on RadioLulu.) I suspect more than a few tunes I play will make their West Coast radio debut! 

Listen over the air in the Davis / Sacramento area at 90.3 FM, or stream online at https://kdvs.org/ (I'm not sure if the show is archived for later listening.)
 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Louise Brooks programing on the radio

UPDATE: My gig has been postponed. I will let everyone know when I have been rescheduled.

Should all go according to plan, I will be guest DJing on radio station KDVS this Saturday afternoon. KDVS is a free-form college radio station (located in Davis, California at the University of California, Davis). I will be appearing on the "Groove Theory" show, and will be spinning Louise Brooks and silent film related rock, pop and jazz starting at 2 pm PST.

Most of what I plan on playing are contemporary recordings, from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000's. And perhaps, I might play a vintage track as well. I suspect a few tunes will make their West Coast radio debut! 

Listen over the air in the Davis / Sacramento, California area at 90.3 FM, or stream online at https://kdvs.org/




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Autographed copies of new Beggars of Life book now available

With excitement building for the forthcoming release of Beggars of Life on DVD / Blu-ray (see previous post), I wanted to let everyone know that autographed copies of my recently released book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film are available for only $15.00 (includes postage within the USA). To order, simply send me an email at silentfilmbuff AT gmailDOTcom -- payment may be made to my Paypal account at the same address.I am also happy to inscribe books, and rubber stamp it with the famous Louise Brooks caricature by Rick Geery.




This first ever study of "Beggars of Life" looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. Based on Jim Tully’s bestselling book of hobo life—and filmed by Wellman the year after he made "Wings" (the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar), "Beggars of Life" is a riveting drama about an orphan girl (screen legend Louise Brooks) who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. She meets a boy tramp (leading man Richard Arlen), and together they ride the rails through a dangerous hobo underground ruled over by Oklahoma Red (future Oscar winner Wallace Beery). "Beggars of Life" showcases Brooks in her best American silent—a film the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" described as “a raw, sometimes bleeding slice of life.”

With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by William Wellman, Jr.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kino Lorber announces Beggars of Life DVD / Blu-ray release

Kino Lorber has just announced its August releases, and among them is Beggars of Life, the sensational 1928 William Wellman directed film starring Louise Brooks. The new disc is available for purchase through Kino Lorber or amazon. Here are the details.

Beggars of Life (Kino Classics, Blu-ray & DVD)

Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: August 22, 2017
Blu-ray SRP: $29.95
DVD SRP: $19.95

Director: William A. Wellman
Starring: Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks

1928 / Adventure-Drama / 81 min / NR / B&W

Synopsis: An American silent film classic, Beggars of Life (1928) stars Louise Brooks as a train-hopping hobo who dresses like a boy to survive. After escaping her violent stepfather, Nancy (Brooks) befriends kindly drifter Jim (Richard Arlen). They ride the rails together until a fateful encounter with the blustery Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery) and his rambunctious band of hobos, leading to daring, desperate conflict on top of a moving train. Based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, and directed with adventuresome verve by William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident), Beggars of Life is an essential American original.

Special Features: Digitally restored from 35mm film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum | Audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr. | Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society | Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton | Musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue-sheet.

And of course, also just out is Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, by Thomas Gladysz, which is also available on amazon.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Diary of a Lost Girl shows 3 times this week in Baltimore, Maryland

The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, is being shown 3 times this week at the Charles Theater in Baltimore, Maryland. HERE are the details.

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL

SATURDAY, JULY 1 11:30 AM;
MONDAY, JULY 3 7 PM;
THURSDAY, JULY 6 9 PM.

“G.W. Pabst’s 1929 follow-up to his notorious Pandora’s Box, again with the American starlet Louise Brooks, though this time as sexual victim rather than predator. The daughter of a pharmacist, she is seduced by a shop assistant and launched on a series of humiliations, which include bearing a baby out of wedlock, a term in a reformatory, working in a brothel, and a marriage to a drooling aristocrat….With Fritz Rasp, Josef Rovensky, and Sybille Schmitz, who was Fassbinder’s model for Veronika Voss.” (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

1929 Dir. G.W. Pabst 1.33:1 B&W DCP Silent with music track. 112 min.

And don't forget.... both the FILM and the BOOK are available for purchase on amazon and at better shops.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pandora's Box shows in Paris July 3

The 1929 Louise Brooks' film, Pandora's Box, will be shown on July 3 at La cinémathèque française, located at 51 Rue de Bercy, 75012 in Paris, France. Here are the details.

lundi 3 juillet 2017, 14h30

Salle Henri Langlois

14h30 → 16h45 (134 min)

Loulou
Die Büchse der Pandora
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Allemagne / 1929 / 134 min / 35mm / INT.FR.
D'après Die Büchse der Pandora et Erdgeist de Frank Wedekind.
Avec Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Alice Roberts.
Loulou, orpheline perverse et manipulatrice, devient la maîtresse d'un directeur de journal, le docteur Schön, mais son autre amant voudrait qu'elle soit à lui seul.

Réalisateur : Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Assistants réalisateurs : Marc Sorkin, Paul Falkenberg
Auteur de l'oeuvre originale : Frank Wedekind d'après les pièces de théâtre "Die Büchse der Pandora" et "Erdgeist"
Adaptateurs : Ladislaus Vajda, Joseph R. Fleisler
Société de production : Nero-Film A.G. (Berlin)
Producteur : Seymour Nebenzahl
Directeur de la photographie : Günther Krampf
Décorateurs : André Andrejew, Gottlieb Hesch
Interprètes : Louise Brooks (Loulou), Fritz Kortner (Ludwig Schön), Franz Lederer (Alwa Schön), Carl Goetz (Schigolch), Alice Roberts (Grafin Geschwitz), Krafft-Raschig (Rodrigo Quast), Gustav Diessl (Jack l'éventreur), Michael vonNewlinsky (le marquis Casti-Piani), Daisy D'Ora (la fiancée du docteur Schön), Siegfried Arno (le régisseur) 
 
 

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