Sunday, October 28, 2007

by Hobe

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jeanine Basinger event

For those in the San Francisco Bay Area: Tomorrow night, I will be hosting film historian Jeanine Basinger for a talk and booksigning to mark the publication of The Star Machine, her new book on the golden age of movies. Basinger will also show some film clips during her talk. I hope some of you can make it to this special event, which will take place at The Booksmith (1644 Haight Street) in San Francisco. Start time is 7 pm

In her new book, Basinger offers a look into the "star machine," examining how, at the height of the studio system, the studios worked to manufacture star actors and actresses. With revelatory insights and asides, Basinger shows us how the machine worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn't, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be.

Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the founder and curator of its cinema archives. She has written nine other books on film, including A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-1960; as well as Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Award for Film History; and American Cinema: 100 Years of Filmmaking, the companion book for a ten-part PBS series.    


Friday, October 19, 2007

A rather good article

There is a rather good article about Louise Brooks in the current issue of StopSmiling magazine. (Issue # 32 is devoted to "Hollywood Lost and Found.") The piece, by John Davidson, is titled "The Cult of Personality: Louise Brooks."

Poking around the magazine's website, I came across an earlier review by José Teodoro of the Criterion release of Pandora's Box on DVD.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lulu at BAM in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that Pandora's Box will be shown at BAM on November 13th. According to the article,
This screening of the classic German silent film is in conjunction with the U.S. premiere of German director Michael Thalheimer’s production of Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu” during BAM’s 25th Next Wave Festival. The film will feature live musical accompaniment by Dublin-based ensemble 3epkano [“three”-epkano] as they perform a new original score. This special event is supported by the Goethe-Institut New York and Culture Ireland.
Known for synthesizing classical and experimental sounds, 3epkano has built a reputation over the past three years for their original scores for silent films, which they have performed at festivals and venues throughout Ireland.
This screening, featuring a "new print," takes place one day before what would have been Louise Brooks' 101st birthday. And, in a way, it is a kind of artistic homecoming for the actress. Before she got into the movies, Brooks danced at BAM (then known as the Brooklyn Academy of Music) as a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. Brooks danced there on October 22, 1923 and April 5, 1924.

I was fortunate enough to have visited BAM this past May, when I attended an advance screening of the about to be released Paul Auster film, The Inner Life of Martin Frost. Auster and his daughter, Sophie, who appears in the film, were in attendance. As an Brooks'  fan knows, Auster wrote and directed the "Lulu-Pandora's Box-Louise Brooks inspired" film, Lulu on the Bridge.
More information about the theatrical presentation of Lulu can be found on this BAM webpage.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

Over the weekend, I saw an early copy of Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture, by Peter Kobel. Wow! The book looks great - it will certainly be THE silent film book to get this year. It is gorgeous - full of black and white and color illustrations, many of them little seen and new to my eyes. There is also a two page spread on Louise Brooks in this new book.

The book features a preface by Martin Scorcese and a foreword by Kevin Brownlow. Here is the publisher's description: "A gorgeous, lavish history of silent movies - with more than 400 amazing images - captures the birth of film and icons like Chaplin, Garbo, Clara Bow, and Valentino.Drawing on the extraordinary collection of The Library of Congress, one of the greatest repositories for silent film and memorabilia, Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film.From its birth in the 1890s, with the earliest narrative shorts, through the brilliant full-length features of the 1920s, SILENT MOVIES captures the greatest directors and actors and their immortal films. SILENT MOVIES also looks at the technology of early film, the use of color photography, and the restoration work being spearheaded by some of Hollywood's most important directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Richly illustrated from the Library of Congress's extensive collection of posters, paper prints, film stills, and memorabilia-most of which have never been in print - SILENT MOVIES is an important work of history that will also be a sought-after gift book for all lovers of film."

Friday, October 5, 2007

Louise Brooks & Charlie Chaplin

This news photo is currently for sale on eBay. Its a great image of Louise Brooks. (She is holding a portable record player.) What's even more interesting is the caption on the back.

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