Friday, September 30, 2005

I was glad to finally see the actual clippings!

Today's trip to the library resulted in a few new citations. I got some Denishawn material from the St. Joseph Press-News (from St. Joseph, Missouri), and film reviews from the Charlotte News (from Charlotte, North Carolina), Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) and Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio). The film material was mostly related to The Street of Forgotten Men (1925) and The American Venus (1926).
I also went through the long elusive "Vertical File microfilm reel 251" from the Kansas State Historical Society. (It has taken me three attempts over the course of nearly nine months to secure this item.) The reel consists of newspaper articles that have been collected regarding various Kansas citizens - including one-time Wichita resident Louise Brooks. Most of the material on the reel can be found onthis page. I was glad to finally see the actual clippings!

Today's new citations have been added to the various LBS bibliographies. . . . And today, I created a new bibliography devoted to the many articles I have collected regarding Louise Brooks' love affairs, marriages, and divorces. One new-to-me 1933 clipping from the Kansas City Star I found on"Vertical File microfilm reel 251". The new bibliography can be found here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mary Lee Settle (1918 - 2005)

The New York Times reported today that "Mary Lee Settle, a master of historical fiction who recreated time and place with visceral, almost fanatical accuracy, died Tuesday at a hospice in Charlottesville, Va. She was 87." Settle was a National Book Award winner and the author of the novels known as The Beulah Quintet. Because of her natural good looks, "she is also said to have been given a screen test, along with half of Hollywood, for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind." Along with numerous books, Settle was the author of Charly Bland, a 1987 novels which references Louise Brooks. " . . . a cloche hat. Nobody was looking at the camera except Dearie, without a hat, her sleek black hair cut like Louise Brooks's, staring startled at what must . . . ."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Letters to Jimmy Carter

In the documentary, Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, Brooks' longtime friend Bill Klein mentions that the actress wrote letters to the President of the United States. I guessed that the President Klein refers to was Jimmy Carter. Chronoligically speaking, that seemed to make sense. And so, I wrote to Carter's Presidential library to obtain verification of this fact, and hopefully, copies of the letters as well. However, the archivist who wrote back said no letters could be found. . . . 

Monday, September 26, 2005

A limited edition porcelain plate

A limited edition porcelain plate, featuring an image of Louise Brooks, for sale on eBay. Made by the Canne Film Festival in 1995 to celebrate 100 years of the cinema.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Beyond the Rocks

On Sunday November 13, 2005, The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present the West Coast Premiere Revival Screening of Beyond the Rocks (1922), the only film that Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson made together. For nearly 80 years, only a one-minute fragment ofBeyond the Rocks was thought to exist. But in 2003, a complete print was discovered among 2,000 unmarked cans of film by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. In partnership with Haghefilm Conservation, they have employed state-of-the-art technology to create a dazzling new print of this long-sought-after classic.

Based on a novel by Elinor Glyn (author of IT ), Beyond the Rocks features Valentino at his most dashing as Lord Bracondale, a desirable bachelor who finds himself enchanted by Theodora (Swanson), a simple girl from the Dorset coast. There will be two screenings of this delightful romantic drama on Sunday November 13, 2005 at the Castro Theatre. Both programs will be presented with live musical accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Dennis James.

I will be there! And am really looking forward to seeing this long lost film. For more information, check out the 
San Francisco Silent Film Festivalwebsite.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Louise Brooks in Playboy magazine

There is an article about Louise Brooks in the current issue of Playboy. See page 21 of the October, 2005 issue. "Lulu in Cyberspace" - the title is lifted from the LBS website - discusses Brooks' life and work in films. An image which accompanies the article depicts Brooks, in the buff. (The picture, by Alfred Cheney Johnston, was taken in 1925 when Brooks was a dancer with the Ziegfeld Follies.) The article concludes, "Recently, fabled nude photos of her have turned up, and experts we consulted say they're legit. Digital prints of the pictures are going for about $10 on eBay."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Louise Brooks mentioned in Times of India

Louise Brooks appeal is universal. Today, she was mentioned in an article in the Times of India.

Blast from the Past
by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

Fashion is heading towards a new direction – backwards, as the 1920s are revived.

A couple of years ago, Hollywood fashion was inspired by a film called Chicago, which brought back into vogue the exuberance of the jazz era when fashion was defined by the 'flapper girls.'

From the heavily-ironed bob cut hair, the calflength handkerchief-hemmed li'l black dresses, sassy cloche hats, wrapover coats with fur collars to the dramatic make-up -- pencil thin eyebrows and ox blood lips -- this was the decade of luxuriant fantasies. Now, Indian fashion is heading the same way.

"In India, we've seen an overdose of kitsch styles," states designer Ritu Kumar, who feels with fashion being cyclic, this is the season of extravagant excesses. "Rekha's look in Parineeta marked a return to an age when glamour was equivalent with style. Fashion is reflecting the 1920s Hollywood grandeur, dominated by exotic glamour. The crystallised, bling bling look is toned down with an emphasis on an old world charm," she adds.

With over-the-top styling making way for classical elegance, designer Aki Narula says Hindi films too will see a glimpse of 'understated glitz.' "The boho chic sensibility is fading and lots more stark vintage has come into prominence.

Worldwide, post 9/11, we'd seen a burst of colours and floral prints explode onto the fashion scene. But that upbeat optimism is giving way to no-fuss clothing with layering, draped fabrics like satin, jersey and tweed and signature accessories like geometric shaped clutch bags and pearl strands," explains Aki.

Stylist Anna Singh says, "We are seeing a comeback of sensuous silhouettes like the Empire line accentuated with fine detailing." Be it the slinky evening gowns adorned by Greta Garbo in the classic femme fatale tale Matahari or the thick bangs of 1920s' legend Louise Brooks -- Hollywood glamour is clearly on its way back into the heartland of Indi fashion. As they say, antiquity never fades.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Quick trip to the library

Quick trip to the library, where I looked through the Omaha World-Herald (from Omaha, Nebraska) and the Asbury Park Evening Press (from Bruce Springsteen's future home in New Jersey). I got a few Denishawn and film-related articles, reviews and adverstisements from each paper. Citations will be added to the LBS bibliographies.

One interesting item I came across was an advertisement for The Show-Off. Officially released on August 16, 1926, this Louise Brooks' film played in many cities the same week as Rudolph Valentino's death. And quickly, around the country, many movie houses booked Valentino films to play in local theaters. Among them was the Strand in Omaha. This ad dates from August 24th.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The lost world

As any reader of this blog knows, I am often blabbering on about research and old newspapers. For me, pouring over old newspapers and magazines (whether microfilm or bound copies) is a lot of fun. At times it is thrilling. At times it is like time travel - as I survey the news from 1926 and find out what motion picture is playing in town or what a local film critic thought about Louise Brooks. I get a kick out of it. Newspapers were really something else back then! Slate magazine has an essay about the glory days of early 20th century papers entitled "The Lost World of Joseph Pulitzer: A century ago newspapers were bigger, bolder, and more beautiful. What Happened?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pepi Lederer

A charming portrait of Pepi Lederer by Ruth Harriet Louise is for sale on eBay. Lederer was Louise Brooks' friend and Marion Davies niece - and the subject of an essay in Brooks' Lulu in Hollywood.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I've been meaning to write

I've just started watching Old San Francisco (1927) on TCM. The film features the creepy Warner Oland (who would go on to fame as Charlie Chan), the lovely Dolores Costello (Drew Barrymore's grandmother and undoubtably the source of her good looks), and ever so briefly, the exceptional Anna May Wong (wearing bangs and a bob!). It was interesting to see, at the beginning of the film, actual location shots of San Francisco (where I live) . . . .

I've been meaning to write about my last couple of trips to the San Francisco Public Library. I looked at a bunch of inter-library loans requests and came home with a bunch of good material. I got Denishawn articles, reviews and advertisements from theManchester Union (from Manchester, New Hampshire), Indianapolis Star (from Indianapolis, Indiana), Clinton Herald (from Clinton, Iowa), andColorado Springs Gazette (from Colorado Springs, Colorado). I also got some articles, film reviews and rather nice advertisements out of The Standard (from Montreal, Canada), Pittsburgh Press (from Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania), and Duluth News Tribune (from Duluth, Minnesota). I also came across an appealing captioned photo titled "Gold Coast Pets" in the Chicago Herald and Examiner. The caption read, " Dario and Louise (Louise Brooks of the silent films) comprise the new dance combination proving popular in the current floor show at the Chez Paree."

Here is a neat advertisement I came across. Notice that next to the advertisement for a screening of the1927 Louise Brooks films The City Gone Wild is an ad for a personal appearance by Roscoe Arbuckle!

. . . And no, I have never been to the Poodle Dog Cafe, though I wish I had.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Louise Brooks exhibit

CORRECTED: The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York has announced that an exhibit devoted to Louise Brooks will take place next year. The exhibit, which will include photographs and artifacts that document the actress' career is being jointly curated with the International Museum of Photography in New York City. It opens there first in April and at Eastman House in August. More details will be provided as they become known.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

F.B.I. files on Louise Brooks' friends and colleagues

I suppose it is well known by now that in the past the Federal Bureau of Investigation kept files on thousands of American citizens, including many celebrities. Among those they spied on / investigated / trailed were a few of Louise Brooks' friends and fellow actors. Recently, the F.B.I. released the files on "famous persons" and posted them on the bureau's website. There are files on everyone from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and John Wayne to Mary Pickford and Marlene Dietrich. (Apparently, there are no files on Louise Brooks.) These files can make for interesting reading. Here are your tax dollars at work.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Zadie Smith on Greta Garbo

"She was an overweight, big-footed girl from Sweden who became an icon of female beauty. But why was she never happy?" Novelist Zadie Smith (Booker-Prize nominee and author of White Teeth and On Beauty) wrote about "the enigma of Greta Garbo" for the The Guardian (UK). Louise Brooks is quoted in this article.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google blog search

Today, Google launched a blog search engine. Now, you can search out and find what other bloggers have to say about Louise Brooks - and other topics of interest. There are other blog search engines out there, and I have blogged about them in the past. Google's may be the best yet. Google's blog search engine can be found at   Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Golden images

Lately, I've been reading Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden. The book features short profiles of actors and actresses - some well known (Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, Rudolph Valentino) and some not so well known (Gladys Brockwell, May Irwin, Ormer Locklear). I read about film stars I really didn't know much about - like Jeanne Eagels, Marie Prevost, Nita Naldi, Esther Ralston, and Olive Thomas. Eve Golden has a graceful writing style. I liked the book. (Some time earlier, I had read Golden's excellent Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara, and enjoyed that as well.)

Friday, September 9, 2005

Arabic-language newspaper article

My friend Gianluca also sent me a link to a recent Arabic-language newspaper article which mentions Louise Brooks. It can be found at  Does anyone know enough Arabic to read this and relay a sense of what it discusses?

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Japanese Anime

Today, my Italian friend Gianluca sent me an email about a Japanese Anime artist. According to this page on the Anime News Network, "Rumiko Takahashi's design for Nabiki Tendo is patterned after silent film actress Louise Brooks (1906-1985)." It is amazing how many comics, cartoons, graphic novels and anime Louise Brooks has inspired. Thank you Gianluca.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Garbo article by Mick LaSalle

There is an article about Greta Garbo by Mick LaSalle (author of Complicated Women and Dangerous Men - two fine books on pre-code Hollywood) in today's San Francisco Chronicle. And don't forget, Kevin Brownlow's new documentary on Garbo debuts tomorrow night on TCM. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 1, 2005

LBS website

Due to a long planned overhaul of the website, large portions of the Louise Brooks Society are off-line. If all goes according to plan, pages and sections of the site will be brought back in the course of the next few weeks. The LBS homepage will remain on-line. Also still available is the message board, and a newly revised page of links, Lulu in Cyberspace. (Check it out.) The LBS gift shop at, as well as Radio Lulu, and Louise Brooks Studies, are all still active. This blog - the LBS at LJ - will also continue during the site overhaul. I hope to get a lot of work done on the site over the Labor Day weekend. Check back throughout September for updates.
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