Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Louise Brooks Stars This Weekend in the UK

Three of Louise Brooks' best films will be shown in England in mid-September. The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks films, Diary of a Lost Girl and Pandora's Box, will be shown in England on September 14 and 16. (More information about this special double bill may be found HERE.)  Also showing on September 16th is Beggars of Life, with live musical accompaniment by The Dodge Brothers. (More information about this latter event may be found HERE.)

Friday 14th September 2018: Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) + Live Music by Jonny Best 
Cube Cinema, Dove Street South , Kingsdown, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Tickets: £8 (full) / £7 (concession) / 8:00pm 

A masterpiece of the German silent era, Diary of a Lost Girl was the second and final collaboration of actress Louise Brooks and director G.W. Pabst a mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box (1929). Brooks plays Thymian Henning, a beautiful young woman raped by an unscrupulous character employed at her father’s pharmacy (played with gusto by Fritz Rasp, the degenerate villain of such Fritz Lang classics as Metropolis, Spione, and Frau im Mond). After Thymian gives birth to his child and rejects her family’s expectations of marriage, the baby is torn from her care, and Thymian enters a purgatorial reform school that seems less an institute of learning than a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic sexual fantasies. The screening will have a specially recorded audio intro by author and critic Pamela Hutchinson with live music on piano by Jonny Best (Yorkshire Silent Film Festival).


Sunday 16th September 2018: Pandora’s Box (1929)
Curzon Cinema & Arts, Boathouse 6, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ, UK
Various Ticket Prices / 4:30pm

G.W. Pabst’s 1929 silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box stars Louise Brooks in the role that secured her place as one of the immortal goddesses of the silver screen. This controversial, and in its day heavily censored, film is regularly ranked in the Top 100 films of all time (including Cahiers du Cinema and Sight & Sound). Brooks is unforgettable as Lulu (Louise Brooks), a sexy, amoral dancer who creates a trail of devastation as she blazes through Weimar-era Berlin, breaking hearts and destroying lives. From Germany, she flies to France, and finally to London, where tragedy strikes. This stunning photographed film is loosely based on the controversial Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind, and also features one of the cinema’s earliest lesbian characters. New 2K DCP of the 2009 restoration of Munich Film Museum’s definitive cut, with score by Peer Raben. Showing as part of this year’s Heritage Open Weekend which celebrates Heritage sites all over the UK.



But wait, there's more....

The Louise Brooks film Beggars Of Life (1928) will be shown on September 16 at the Bridport Electric Palace in Bridport with live musical accompaniment by The Dodge Brothers. Following the film, there will be a Q&A with Mark Kermode (The Observer chief Film Critic, BBC TV Presenter), Neil Brand (writer & presenter BBC 4 series ‘Sounds of Cinema : The Music That Made The Movies’) and Dr Mike Hammond (Associate Professor, Film Department, University of Southampton). More information about this event can be found HERE.

Following his Best Picture win at the inaugural Academy Awards, William A. Wellman made Beggars of Life, an adaptation of Jim Tully’s best-selling hobo memoir. This gripping drama casts Brooks as a girl on the lam after killing her lecherous step-father. Dressed in boy’s clothes, she navigates through a dangerous tramp underworld with the help of a handsome and devoted drifter (Richard Arlen) and encounters the dangerous, but warm-hearted hobo Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery). Loaded with stunning visuals and empathetic performances, this dark, realistic drama is Brooks’ best American film and a masterpiece of late-silent era feature films.


The Dodge Brothers have played to silent films at the finest venues in the land, The Barbican, The National Film Theatre, BFI, The National Media Museum and anywhere that the high art of playing live to silent film is appreciated. In 2014 The Dodge Brothers were the first band to accompany a silent film (Beggars of Life) at Glastonbury Festival.

Want to learn more about the film? Last Spring saw the release of my well reviewed new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, and last Summer saw the release of a new DVD / Blu-ray of the film from Kino Lorber. (The DVD features a commentary by your's truly, Thomas Gladysz. If you haven't secured your own copy of either the book or the DVD / Blu-ray, why not do so today? Each is an essential addition to your Louise Brooks collection, and both are available on amazon.UK


Monday, September 10, 2018

New Book: The Rocky Twins: Norway's Outrageous Jazz Age Beauties

There is a new book out which should be of interest to many interested in Louise Brooks. It's The Rocky Twins: Norway's Outrageous Jazz Age Beauties. If they seem familiar, that because I have written about them earlier on this blog. What follows is some information from the publisher.

Admired for being stunningly handsome, the Norwegian Rocky Twins were dancers who had a ten-year career in Europe and America appearing on stage and in film during the Jazz Age between 1927-1937. Their beauty, their androgynous looks and their outrageous antics imitating the Dolly Sisters in drag made them legendary

The Norwegian Rocky Twins (born Leif and Paal Roschberg) were deliciously handsome, outrageous and lived life to the full. They made a name for themselves as dancers in the Paris music hall in the late 1920s at the tender age of eighteen. Their act took Paris by storm because in one of their numbers, they dressed up in drag and imitated the famous Dolly Sisters, who had just retired.  Their unique performance enabled them to star on the stage and in film across Europe and America (Paris, London, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, New York and Los Angeles) and at the same time their good looks became highly sought after by connoisseurs of the body beautiful of either sex.


Gary Chapman's new book is:

The first illustrated biography of the dancing Norwegian Rocky Twins who were stars of film and stage in the Jazz Age on both sides of the Atlantic.

Based on extensive research over 30 years.

Includes 114 black and white photographs.

Insight and detail about nightlife and the entertainment world in London, Paris, New York, Vienna, Scandinavia, New York and Hollywood in the golden age of stage and screen.

Exposes some of the secrets of pre-code Hollywood in the early 1930s.

Explores the secret gay world on both side of the Atlantic and the ‘Pansy Craze’ in America in the early 1930s.

They were regarded as two of the best dressed and most handsome men in the world.

Their impersonation in drag of the Dolly Sisters became legendary.

A colourful life story that has made them ‘gay legends.’

They were once called ‘The Black Orchids of the North.’

Covers their career as the Rocky Twins and their later life during and after World War Two.


Friday, September 7, 2018

The Louise Brooks autographed coat circa 1929

Where is it now?

In 1930, a German magazine ran a piece on an autographed coat signed by various German film personalities, among them four associated with the 1929 classic Pandora's Box. Director G.W. Pabst signed the coat, as did actors Fritz Kortner and Franz Lederer and Louise Brooks. The Kansas-born actress who played Lulu -- one of the few non-German's to add their autograph -- signed the coat on the bottom right panel, and added "Hollywood" beneath her name.



Among the other well known names asked to autograph the coat are Lilian Harvey, Ivan Mosjoukin, Harry Liedtke, Henny Porten, and Werner Krauss. The latter starred in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as well as the earlier version of The Diary of a Lost Girl (1918). I wonder, where is that coat now?


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Follow-up post: A Romanian take on the "Cutie Complex"

Here is something of a follow-up to yesterday's "Cutie Complex" post. This one features two clippings from Romanian magazines. The first is a 1930 "Modern Women" advertisement with a strikingly Louise Brooks / Lulu look-alike image, and the second is a 1928 article & diagram explaining what makes the "ideal woman" - in movie star terms.



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

That Cutie Complex ... featuring Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore, Clara Bow etc.....

How could I resist? How can anyone resist... that cutie complex.



Monday, September 3, 2018

The Chaperone debuts at Los Angeles Film Festival on September 23

The Chaperone is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on September 23. More information about this special event -- including ticket availability -- can be found HERE.



Haley Lu Richardson, who plays Louise Brooks in The Chaperone, was recently quoted in Indiewire about the 103 minute film.
“I’d never played a real character, and she’s pretty iconic,” Richardson said. “And I don’t look anything like her! But what we did have in common is her moving from a small town to New York when she’s 15, 16 years old to pursue dancing. A chaperone, who’s Elizabeth McGovern, comes with her and it’s the story about how they affect one another. That resonated with me, because I moved to LA from Arizona when I was 16 to dance and act and my mom came with me and [we have] this bond and we learned from each other.”
About The Film
Against the backdrop of the tumultuous times of the early 1920’s, a genteel Kansan named Norma decides to break out of her comfort zone and visit the city of her birth. She offers her services as a chaperone to a beautiful and talented 15-year-old dancer named Louise Brooks, and the two head to New York City for the summer. One of them is eager to fulfill her destiny of dance and movie stardom; the other is on a mission to unearth the mysteries of her past.

Based on Laura Moriarty’s best-selling American novel, The Chaperone reunites the writer, director and star of Downtown Abbey. Scripted by Julian Fellowes with an eye toward personal details, and enhanced by Michael Engler’s direction, offering up moments effortlessly shifting between introspection and wonder. Elizabeth McGovern brings charm and a welcome spark to a fish out of water, while Haley Lu Richardson radiates as the effervescent Louise Brooks.

- Drea Clark, Senior Programmer

Director
  • Michael Engler
Producers
  • Elizabeth McGovern
  • Victoria Hill
  • Rose Ganguzza
  • Kelly Carmichael
  • Greg Clark
  • Luca Scalisi
  • Andrew Mann
Starring
  • Elizabeth McGovern
  • Haley Lu Richardson
  • Campbell Scott
  • Victoria Hill
  • Miranda Otto
  • Blythe Danner
Screenwriter
  • Julian Fellowes

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Bring a gun... the long night of Louise Brooks

Details are still emerging about this new play.... 

On Thursday, September 27, there will be a voice reading of Bring a gun... the long night of Louise Brooks, by Jim Piazza and Sondra Lee. This benefit event is being put on by the Episcopal Actors Guild (EAG) in New York, who describe the work as "A woman in her 70s tells her tale of the roaring 20s in this reading of Sondra Lee's and Jim Piazza's new play about a night in Hollywood you will never forget!"

This presentation features Victor Slezak as Richard Leacock, Keith Herron as Kenneth Tynan, and Sondra Lee as Louise Brooks.

This special event takes place in Guild Hall, located on the second floor of The Little Church at 1 East 29th Street (between Madison and Fifth). Interestingly, The Little Church, which is also known as The Little Church Around the Corner, is the site of a couple of scenes from Louise Brooks' first film, The Street of Forgotten Men. Brooks wasn't in those particular scenes, but film stars Percy Marmont, Mary Brian, and Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon on the Batman TV series of the 1960s) were. More information and ticket availability may be found HERE.

 


Thanks to Tim Moore for the heads-up!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Louise Brooks stars in "trippple bill" in the UK in mid-September

Three of Louise Brooks' best films will be shown in England in mid-September. The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks films, Diary of a Lost Girl and Pandora's Box, will be shown in England on September 14 and 16. (More information about this special double bill may be found HERE.)  Also showing on September 16th is Beggars of Life, with live musical accompaniment by The Dodge Brothers. (More information about this latter event may be found HERE.)

Friday 14th September 2018: Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) + Live Music by Jonny Best 
Cube Cinema, Dove Street South , Kingsdown, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Tickets: £8 (full) / £7 (concession) / 8:00pm 

A masterpiece of the German silent era, Diary of a Lost Girl was the second and final collaboration of actress Louise Brooks and director G.W. Pabst a mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box (1929). Brooks plays Thymian Henning, a beautiful young woman raped by an unscrupulous character employed at her father’s pharmacy (played with gusto by Fritz Rasp, the degenerate villain of such Fritz Lang classics as Metropolis, Spione, and Frau im Mond). After Thymian gives birth to his child and rejects her family’s expectations of marriage, the baby is torn from her care, and Thymian enters a purgatorial reform school that seems less an institute of learning than a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic sexual fantasies. The screening will have a specially recorded audio intro by author and critic Pamela Hutchinson with live music on piano by Jonny Best (Yorkshire Silent Film Festival).


Sunday 16th September 2018: Pandora’s Box (1929)
Curzon Cinema & Arts, Boathouse 6, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ, UK
Various Ticket Prices / 4:30pm

G.W. Pabst’s 1929 silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box stars Louise Brooks in the role that secured her place as one of the immortal goddesses of the silver screen. This controversial, and in its day heavily censored, film is regularly ranked in the Top 100 films of all time (including Cahiers du Cinema and Sight & Sound). Brooks is unforgettable as Lulu (Louise Brooks), a sexy, amoral dancer who creates a trail of devastation as she blazes through Weimar-era Berlin, breaking hearts and destroying lives. From Germany, she flies to France, and finally to London, where tragedy strikes. This stunning photographed film is loosely based on the controversial Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind, and also features one of the cinema’s earliest lesbian characters. New 2K DCP of the 2009 restoration of Munich Film Museum’s definitive cut, with score by Peer Raben. Showing as part of this year’s Heritage Open Weekend which celebrates Heritage sites all over the UK.



But wait, there's more....

The Louise Brooks film Beggars Of Life (1928) will be shown on September 16 at the Bridport Electric Palace in Bridport with live musical accompaniment by The Dodge Brothers. Following the film, there will be a Q&A with Mark Kermode (The Observer chief Film Critic, BBC TV Presenter), Neil Brand (writer & presenter BBC 4 series ‘Sounds of Cinema : The Music That Made The Movies’) and Dr Mike Hammond (Associate Professor, Film Department, University of Southampton). More information about this event can be found HERE.

Following his Best Picture win at the inaugural Academy Awards, William A. Wellman made Beggars of Life, an adaptation of Jim Tully’s best-selling hobo memoir. This gripping drama casts Brooks as a girl on the lam after killing her lecherous step-father. Dressed in boy’s clothes, she navigates through a dangerous tramp underworld with the help of a handsome and devoted drifter (Richard Arlen) and encounters the dangerous, but warm-hearted hobo Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery). Loaded with stunning visuals and empathetic performances, this dark, realistic drama is Brooks’ best American film and a masterpiece of late-silent era feature films.


The Dodge Brothers have played to silent films at the finest venues in the land, The Barbican, The National Film Theatre, BFI, The National Media Museum and anywhere that the high art of playing live to silent film is appreciated. In 2014 The Dodge Brothers were the first band to accompany a silent film (Beggars of Life) at Glastonbury Festival.

Want to learn more about the film? Last Spring saw the release of my well reviewed new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, and last Summer saw the release of a new DVD / Blu-ray of the film from Kino Lorber. (The DVD features a commentary by your's truly, Thomas Gladysz. If you haven't secured your own copy of either the book or the DVD / Blu-ray, why not do so today? Each is an essential addition to your Louise Brooks collection, and both are available on amazon.UK


Friday, August 31, 2018

Louise Brooks’ first review on this day in 1925

On this day in 1925, Louise Brooks received her first review as actress.

Though not listed in the film’s credits, the Los Angeles Times took note of her brief appearance in The Street of Forgotten Men when its anonymous critic wrote, “And there was a little rowdy, obviously attached to the ‘blind’ man, who did some vital work during her few short scenes. She was not listed.”


The paper was referring to Brooks, who’s less than 5 minutes of screen time in the Herbert Brenon-directed film was uncredited. It was Brooks’ first role. She played the part of a moll (the girlfriend of a gangster).

Prior to August 31, 1925—Brooks had only been mentioned in newspapers and magazines in connection with her appearances as a Denishawn dancer and as showgirl with the George White Scandals and Ziegfeld Follies. She also had a knack for showing up in various New York City gossip columns. The Los Angeles Times review was her first mention in connection with a film.

The article, titled “Marmont Metropolitan Star,” stands out not only as the first review to reference Brooks but as the only review for The Street of Forgotten Men to note her appearance in the film. One wonders who that anonymous critic might have been? And what they saw?


The Street of Forgotten Men is an underworld romance set among professional beggars in New York’s Bowery. It is a singular film, and received uniformly superb reviews when first released. Leading man Percy Marmont was singled out for his exceptional performance and director Brenon was praised for his realistic depiction of Bowery life.

The National Board of Review named it one of the 40 best pictures of 1925, and it was picked as one of the best films of the year by the Houston Chronicle, Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Tacoma Times, and Topeka Daily Capital. In many reviews and advertisements, The Street of Forgotten Men was compared to The Miracle Man, a similarly themed 1919 Lon Chaney film about a gang of criminals.

The Street of Forgotten Men was long thought lost. However, six of seven reels were later found at the Library of Congress. Among the surviving footage (the second reel is missing) is the scene that includes Brooks. Part of that scene is excerpted in the outstanding documentary, Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu.

Eighty-five years ago today, Louise Brooks received her first film review. It was a tentative beginning to a comet-like career in film.


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