Monday, December 31, 2012

Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in Indonesia 1930

Seen here is a very rare, 1930 newspaper advertisement for Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks. Its rarity stems from the fact that it is an advertisement for a non-European screening. Where is this advertisement from? Would you believe what were the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. Apparently, Pandora's Box and others Brooks' films were shown all around the major city and towns on the island of Java, as the number of other film advertisements I have indicate. Like the earlier Pandora's Box advertisement shown on this blog a few days ago, nobody under the age of 17 was allowed to see the film. And here, the film was shown with special music performed by an orchestra under the direction of Martin Grobe.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best Film Books of 2012 and then some

Looking for something good to read? Here are some suggestions for fans of early film - be it the silent era, pre-code, or golden age of Hollywood. My "Best Film Books of 2012" appeared on the Huffington Post. It includes books on Mae Murray, Thelma Todd, Mary Pickford, Lupe Velez and others.

Fans of Louise Brooks will also want to check out my "Best 2012 releases for the Louise Brooks Fan" which appeared on It includes newly released books, e-books and DVDs.

# # # 

Louise Brooks made two films in Germany, Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl (both 1929). Each were made against the backdrop of considerable artistic ferment and social upheaval. All, it seemed, was in flux. This year and last, a handful of academic and specialty presses released books which look at various aspects of the Weimar era. Here are a few of most interesting titles, followed by the publisher supplied description.

The Artificial Silk Girl, by Irmgard Keun (Other Press, 2011)

In 1931, a young woman writer living in Germany was inspired by Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to describe pre-war Berlin and the age of cinematic glamour through the eyes of a woman. The resulting novel, The Artificial Silk Girl, became an acclaimed bestseller and a masterwork of German literature, in the tradition of Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories and Bertolt Brecht's Three Penny Opera. Like Isherwood and Brecht, Keun revealed the dark underside of Berlin's "golden twenties" with empathy and honesty. Unfortunately, a Nazi censorship board banned Keun's work in 1933 and destroyed all existing copies of The Artificial Silk Girl. Only one English translation was published, in Great Britain, before the book disappeared in the chaos of the ensuing war. Today, more than seven decades later, the story of this quintessential "material girl" remains as relevant as ever, as an accessible new translation brings this lost classic to light once more. Other Press is pleased to announce the republication of The Artificial Silk Girl, elegantly translated by noted Germanist Kathie von Ankum, and with a new introduction by Harvard professor Maria Tatar.

Women in Weimar Fashion: Discourses & Displays in German Culture, 1918-1933, by Mila Ganeva (Camden House, 2011)

In the Weimar Republic, fashion was not only manipulated by the various mass media -- film, magazines, advertising, photography, and popular literature -- but also emerged as a powerful medium for women's self-expression. Female writers and journalists, including Helen Grund, Irmgard Keun, Vicki Baum, Elsa Maria Bug, and numerous others engaged in a challenging, self-reflective commentary on current styles. By regularly publishing on these topics in the illustrated press and popular literature, they transformed traditional genres and carved out significant public space for themselves. This book re-evaluates paradigmatic concepts of German modernism such as the flâneur, the Feuilleton, and Neue Sachlichkeit in the light of primary material unearthed in archival research: fashion vignettes, essays, short stories, travelogues, novels, films, documentaries, newsreels, and photographs. Unlike other studies of Weimar culture that have ignored the crucial role of fashion, the book proposes a new genealogy of women's modernity by focusing on the discourse and practice of Weimar fashion, in which the women were transformed from objects of male voyeurism into subjects with complex, ambivalent, and constantly shifting experiences of metropolitan modernity.

The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany's Filmic Legacy, edited by Christian Rogowski (Camden House, 2011)

Traditionally, Weimar cinema has been equated with the work of a handful of auteurist filmmakers and a limited number of canonical films. Often a single, limited phenomenon, "expressionist film," has been taken as synonymous with the cinema of the entire period. But in recent decades, such reductive assessments have been challenged by developments in film theory and archival research that highlight the tremendous richness and diversity of Weimar cinema. This widening of focus has brought attention to issues such as film as commodity; questions of technology and genre; transnational collaborations and national identity; effects of changes in socioeconomics and gender roles on film spectatorship; and connections between film and other arts and media. Such shifts have been accompanied by archival research that has made a cornucopia of new information available, now augmented by the increased availability of films from the period on DVD. This wealth of new source material calls for a re-evaluation of Weimar cinema that considers the legacies of lesser-known directors and producers, popular genres, experiments of the artistic avant-garde, and nonfiction films, all of which are aspects attended to by the essays in this volume.

The Masculine Woman in Weimar Germany, by Katie Sutton (Berghahn Books, 2011)

Throughout the Weimar period the so-called "masculinization of woman" was much more than merely an outsider or subcultural phenomenon; it was central to representations of the changing female ideal, and fed into wider debates concerning the health and fertility of the "German race" following the rupture of war. While some commentators celebrated this new, "masculine" woman in her short skirt, tuxedo, and pageboy haircut as symbolic of women's entrance into non-traditional fields of work, leisure, and consumption, others held her up as a warning against deviating too far from traditional ideas about men's and women's "roles." Drawing on recent developments within the history of sexuality, this book sheds new light on representations and discussions of the masculine woman within the Weimar print media from 1918-1933. It traces the connotations and controversies surrounding this figure from her rise to media prominence in the early 1920s until the beginning of the Nazi period, considering questions of race, class, sexuality, and geography. By focusing on styles, bodies and identities that did not conform to societal norms of binary gender or heterosexuality, this book contributes to our understanding of gendered lives and experiences at this pivotal juncture in German history.

The Mad Square: Modernity in German Art 1910-1937, by Jacqeline Strecker (Prestel Publishing, 2012)

This insightful volume focuses on the full array of artists and movements of the German avant-garde. The years between the birth of the Weimar Republic and Hitler's rise to power were marked by explosive creative output. This volume surveys every major movement of Germany's modernist period. Focusing on the work and interactions of several important artists. Starting with the Expressionists' emotionally fraught reaction to the country's march to war, the book then follows the nihilist movement as it recorded-and attempted to make sense of-the horrors of war. The emergence of Dadaism, the utopian vision of the Bauhaus School, and the practical ideologies of the New Objectivity movement are also given close consideration. Stunning reproductions of more than 200 works reflect the fascinating and complex ways artists responded to the forces of modernity with passion, anger, dark humor, and despair. Informative essays explore the historical events that shaped those artistic innovations as well as the often-tense relationship between art and politics during this critical time in the history of the Western World. The result is a wide-ranging exploration of one of the most dynamic and influential periods of artistic output.

Banned in Berlin: Literary Censorship in Imperial Germany, 1871-1918, by Gary D. Stark (Berghahn Books, 2012)

Imperial Germany s governing elite frequently sought to censor literature that threatened established political, social, religious, and moral norms in the name of public peace, order, and security. It claimed and exercised a prerogative to intervene in literary life that was broader than that of its Western neighbors, but still not broad enough to prevent the literary community from challenging and subverting many of the social norms the state was most determined to defend. This study is the first systematic analysis in any language of state censorship of literature and theater in imperial Germany (1871 - 1918). To assess the role that formal state controls played in German literary and political life during this period, it examines the intent, function, contested legal basis, institutions, and everyday operations of literary censorship as well as its effectiveness and its impact on authors, publishers, and theater directors.

Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940, edited by Iain Boyd Whyte and David Frisby (University of California Press, 2012)

Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940 reconstitutes the built environment of Berlin during the period of its classical modernity using over two hundred contemporary texts, virtually all of which are published in English translation for the first time. They are from the pens of those who created Berlin as one of the world's great cities and those who observed this process: architects, city planners, sociologists, political theorists, historians, cultural critics, novelists, essayists, and journalists. Divided into nineteen sections, each prefaced by an introductory essay, the account unfolds chronologically, with the particular structural concerns of the moment addressed in sequence--be they department stores in 1900, housing in the 1920s, or parade grounds in 1940. Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940 not only details the construction of Berlin, but explores homes and workplaces, public spaces, circulation, commerce, and leisure in the German metropolis as seen through the eyes of all social classes, from the humblest inhabitants of the city slums, to the great visionaries of the modern city, and the demented dictator resolved to remodel Berlin as Germania.

Berlin Psychoanalytic: Psychoanalysis and Culture in Weimar Republic Germany and Beyond, by Veronika Fuechtner (University of California Press, 2011)

One hundred years after the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute was established, this book recovers the cultural and intellectual history connected to this vibrant organization and places it alongside the London Bloomsbury group, the Paris Surrealist circle, and the Viennese fin-de-siecle as a crucial chapter in the history of modernism. Taking us from World War I Berlin to the Third Reich and beyond to 1940s Palestine and 1950s New York--and to the influential work of the Frankfurt School--Veronika Fuechtner traces the network of artists and psychoanalysts that began in Germany and continued in exile. Connecting movements, forms, and themes such as Dada, multi-perspectivity, and the urban experience with the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, she illuminates themes distinctive to the Berlin psychoanalytic context such as war trauma, masculinity and femininity, race and anti-Semitism, and the cultural avant-garde. In particular, she explores the lives and works of Alfred Doumlblin, Max Eitingon, Georg Groddeck, Karen Horney, Richard Huelsenbeck, Count Hermann von Keyserling, Ernst Simmel, and Arnold Zweig.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Louise Brooks vs Pictureplane's "Goth Star"

Louise Brooks vs Pictureplane's "Goth Star" (via YouTube)

Clips of Louise Brooks in the films Pandora's Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) by G.W. Pabst. The song is "Goth Star" by Pictureplane, from the album Dark Rift (2009).

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Dutch double bill featuring Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks, famous for her sleek Dutch bob, is included in this rare 1929 Dutch newspaper advertisement for two of her films, Rolled Stockings and inset depicting Wallace Beery, Now We're in the Air. Each was released in the United States in 1927, and each played in The Netherlands in 1929.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pandora's Box; no one under 17 admitted in 1929

As promised, here is another rare Dutch newspaper advertisement for Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks. It dates from 1929.What is notable about this advertisement is the disclaimer at the bottom, which says that no one under the age of 17 years would be admitted - "Verboden voor personen beneden de 17 jaar." It is known that the film was censored throughout Europe, but this is the first ad from the time which I have seen which states a restriction on who can see it. It should be noted that this restriction appeared on many of the advertisements for the German film.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Tribute to Louise Brooks from 3epkano

Monday, December 24, 2012

Listerine and Lulu

Shown here is a very rare 1929 Dutch newspaper advertisement for Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks as Lulu. In two days, on December 26th, another rare vintage advertisement from The Netherlands will be posted here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New e-book features Louise Brooks

Film historian and journalist Jordan R. Young has authored a just published ebook which includes Louise Brooks and features the silent film actress on its cover. The book is Academy Award Losers, 1912-1939: Great Performances in the Oscar Hall of Shame, Vol. 1 (Past Times Publishing Co. (December 21, 2012). 

The book's description reads in part, "How could Barbara Stanwyck, Judy Garland, Myrna Loy, Louise Brooks and other luminary actresses of the movies’ golden age fail to win a competitive Oscar? How could such legends as Buster Keaton, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, or Peter Lorre never once achieve such honors? . . . Many of the movies’ best actors never won the ultimate recognition, the Academy Award, and many more were never even nominated. In an alternate and more equitable universe, things might have been different—especially for actors of color like Louise Beavers and Dorothy Dandridge. . . .  The Oscar Hall of Shame is crammed with iconic movie performances that failed to merit a nomination. This book attempts to offer some perspective, from the point of view of a show business historian and lifelong movie aficionado."

Louise Brooks pops up in the year 1929. Young awards Brooks that's year's "best actress" honor for her role in the G.W. Pabst film, Pandora's Box, which she shares with Anna May Wong for her role in Piccadilly. They beat out Nina Mae Kinney for her role in Hallelujah, and Corrine Griffith for her role in The Divine Lady.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Louise Brooks on Twitter

The Louise Brooks Society has been on Twitter for more than a couple years, and has garnered more than 1,333 followers. The LBS Twitter account can be found at

Want to know what folks are saying about Louise Brooks and the LBS on Twitter? To do so, follow this link     Here are a few recent examples:

I was about to bemoan the lack of Louise Brooks on BBC 4's "Screen Goddesses" but they left her until the very end! Whoo! 

BBC 'Arena' doc on Screen Goddesses got better. Nice to see Anna May Wong,but was sad no Louise Brooks..THEN they had her brilliantly end it 

Screen Goddesses documentary on BBC4 has convinced me Louise Brooks is the most beautiful woman who's ever lived. 

Louise Brooks, making Christmas cooler than ever...  

Why not join the Louise Brooks Society with this YouTube clip of a Tour Around Berlin In 1929?

G.W. Pabst's Diary Of A Lost Girl (1929), a Louise Brooks classic and a much treasured film from the Weimar days

Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore are my role model. Hairstyle that i currently obsessed with and adopted. ☺ #

the Louise Brooks Society sounds off: "easily the actress' best talkie."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tour Around Berlin In 1929

Thanx to Bryan McCarthy for sending this delightful link to a YouTube video of Berlin in the late 1920's. The first song is by Marlene Dietrich. The film footage is from Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday), which was scripted Billy Wilder.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pandora's Box shows in Buffalo, NY on Jan 15

Mark your calendar: Pandora's Box will be shown in Buffalo, New York on January 15, 2013. The film, which stars Louise Brooks, begins the 2013 film series sponsored by the Buffalo Film Seminars at the University of Buffalo. The announcement of the screening was made in the UB Reporter, the campus newspaper.

The Buffalo Film Seminars take place Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. promptly at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center in downtown Buffalo, the only eight-screen publicly-owned film theater in the United States. Each week Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson introduce the film, the film is screened, we take a brief break, and then have an open discussion with students in a University at Buffalo film class and anyone else who cares to join us.

Tickets for the seminars are adults $9, students $7, seniors $6.50. Season tickets are available any time at a 15% reduction for the cost of the remaining films. Free parking is available in the M&T fenced lot opposite the theatre's Washington Street entrance: pay the attendant $3, given the parking ticket to the ticket clerk in the theatre and get the $3 back.

Handouts with production details, anecdotes and critical comments about each week's film on goldenrod paper are available in the Market Arcade lobby 45 minutes before each session. The Goldenrod handouts are posted online one day before the screening. (All previous handouts are also online.) The Buffalo Film Seminars are presented by the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center and the University at Buffalo.

Pandora's Box has also been shown in Buffalo as part of the Buffalo Film Seminars in Fall of 2001 and the Spring of 2007. Read the earlier film notes by clicking on the links.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Diary of a Lost Girl tonight on Swiss TV

Diary of a Lost Girl, the classic 1929 German silent film starring Louise Brooks, will be shown tonight on Swiss television. That's according to this webpage. The film gets four stars out of five.


Tagebuch einer Verlorenen

Diary of a Lost Girl
Stummfilm, Deutschland 1929, Regie: Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Buch: Rudolf Leonhardt, Kamera: Sepp Allgeier. Autor: Roman von Margarete Böhme. Musik: Hans Jönsson, Produzent: Georg Wilhelm Pabst. Mit: Louise Brooks, Vera Pawlowa, Franziska Kinz, Fritz Rasp, André Roanne, Josef Rovenský, Arnold Korff, Andrews Engelmann, Valeska Gert, Edith Meinhard, Sybille Schmitz, Sig Arno, Kurt Gerron, Hedwig Schlichter, Hans Casparius, Jaro Fürth, Emmy Wyda, Marfa Kassatskaya, Sylvia Torf, Michael von Newlinsky.

Thymian (Louise Brooks) ist nicht gerade vom Glück verfolgt ...
Die junge Apotheker-Tochter Thymian wird von dem Gehilfen ihres Vaters verführt, vergewaltigt und nach der Geburt ihres unehelichen Kindes von der Familie in ein Heim für "gefallene Mädchen" gesteckt. Dort leidet sie, wie die anderen Mädchen, unter dem sadistischen Regiment des Vorsteher-Paares. Mit Hilfe des jungen Grafen Osdorff gelingt ihr schließlich die Flucht. Doch ihr Kind ist verstorben und so landet die mittellose Thymian in einem großstädtischen Edel-Bordell. Mit ehrlicher, wenn auch der gesellschaftlich nicht akzeptierter Arbeit als Prostituierte will sie sich selbst aus ihrer misslichen Lage befreien. Als ihr Vater stirbt, erhält Thymian von ihrem Vergewaltiger, der die Apotheke erstanden hat, eine hohe Abfindung, da sie als Alleinerbin eingesetzt war. Das ruft Graf Osdorff auf den Plan, der die vermögende Thymian heiratet. Doch die hat ihr Geld längst verschenkt … (- 1.30 Uhr) 

 Der aus dem böhmischen Raudnitz (heute Roudnice nad Labem, Tschechien) stammende Georg Wilhelm Pabst (1885–1967) gilt als einer der größten deutschen Regisseure der Stummfilmzeit, bis heute unvergessen sind Meisterwerke wie "Die freudlose Gasse", "Geheimnisse einer Seele" oder "Die Dreigroschenoper". Nach dem 1905 erstmals erschienenen, gleichnamigen Roman von Margarete Böhme - seinerzeit ein Bestseller - inszenierte Pabst nach seinem Kassenerfolg mit "Die Büchse der Pandora" dieses Stummfilmdrama erneut mit der wunderbaren US-Schauspielerin Louise Brooks, die in der Rolle der jungen Thymian glänzt, die sich gegen alle Widrigkeiten des Lebens behauptet. "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" gilt als einer der am meisten zensierten Filme der Weimarer Zeit, denn ursprünglich hatte Pabst der Berliner Filmprüfstelle 3132 Meter vorlegt, doch das Werk wurde mit Jugendverbot belegt und zunächst auf 2863 verkürzt, 1930 schnitt Hans H. Zerlett, der unter den Nationalsozialisten 25 Filme drehte, den Film wegen "entsittlichender Wirkung" auf 2001 Meter zusammen. Besonders die Internats- und Bordellszenen waren der Zensur zum Opfer gefallen, konnten aber in einer aufwändigen Rekonstruktion durch das Deutsche Filminstitut - DIF in Zusammenarbeit mit der Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung fast komplett wieder hergestellt werden. Heute liegt "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" wieder in einer Länge von 2980 Metern vor, allerdings fehlen gegenüber der Originallaufzeit immer noch rund sechs Minuten.
Foto: ARD/Degeto

Monday, December 17, 2012

Screen Goddesses airs on BBC TV

On Saturday December 22 and Sunday December 23, BBC TV will air Screen Goddesses. This one hour documentary might include footage of Louise Brooks. At least, she is mentioned in the program description. Here is what the BBC page says:
Documentary about the early female movie stars - Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe; immortal goddesses made by Hollywood to reign over the silver screen.

With the beginnings of Hollywood, the star system was born with an archetypal bad girl - the vampish Theda Bara - and the good girl - the blazingly sincere Lillian Gish. From the 1920s, vivacious Clara Bow and seductive siren Louise Brooks are most remembered, but none made the impact of Marlene Dietrich, an icon of mystery, or Greta Garbo, with her perfect features and gloomy introspection.

From the power of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis to the seductiveness of Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, Hollywood studios produced their own brand of beautiful, sassy and confident women. But it wasn't to last. The era drew to a close with the supreme fame of Elizabeth Taylor and the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe.

Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Recommended New Releases for the Louise Brooks Fan

It’s that time of the year when critics, journalists, bloggers and others issue their "Best of" lists - the year’s recommended new releases in the world of books, movies, music and more. Here's the best of 2012 with a twist, exceptional new releases for fans of the silent film star Louise Brooks.

Like last year, 2012 saw the release of a small but distinguished number of new releases related to the legendary silent film star. Prominent among them is Laura Moriarty's widely acclaimed bestselling novel, The Chaperone, as well as a handful of DVD's including the first ever DVD release of Brooks' last film, Overland Stage Raiders. Fans of the actress will want to check out all of these recent releases.

In 1922, only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star, fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks left Wichita, Kansas to study dance in New York City. Accompanying Brooks was her thirty-six-year-old, somewhat stodgy neighbor, who acted as chaperone. Based on these few facts, Laura Moriarty has penned a captivating, quietly powerful, and moving historical novel about these two woman and the summer they spent together which changed them both. Both critically acclaimed and a New York Times bestseller, this new book is highly recommended. Also available as an audio book read by actress Elizabeth McGovern. (Riverhead)

DVD-R: God's Gift to Women, directed by Michael Curtiz

It's no secret that Louise Brooks appeared in mostly mediocre sound films. With her career in decline, the one-time silent era star took what roles came her way in the sound era. God's Gift to Women, one of three films she made in 1931, is easily the actress' best talkie. It is also an enjoyable pre-Code romp, a comedy about romance with an impressive cast that includes Frank Fay, Laura La Plante, Joan Blondell, Charles Winninger, Yola d'Avril and Margaret Livingston (Brooks' voice double in The Canary Murder Case). Brooks doesn't have a very big part in this farce, but she makes an impression in a bedroom scene when some of the film's pulchritude gets into a cat fight.  (Warner Archive)

BOOK: Valentina come Louise Brooks. Il libro nascosto, edited by Vincenzo Mollica and Antonio Crepax.

This Italian book was the companion publication to "Valentina Movie," an exhibit held this past summer at the Palazzo Incontro in Rome. It featured the work of the late Italian comix artist Guido Crepax, a longtime admirer of Louise Brooks. The exhibit detailed the influence the actress had on the creation and development of Crepax's best known creation, Valentina, a popular character who appeared in numerous comic strips, graphic novels, books, and spin-off films. Whether or not you read Italian, the dedicated fan will want to own this illustrated book. (Fandango Libri)

Louise Brooks' film career came to an end in 1938 with a supporting role in Overland Stage Raiders, a B-western starring a young John Wayne. This new release marks the film's first official release on DVD and Blu-Ray. (It had been released on VHS some years ago, and is now hard to find.) Said to be only for the John Wayne or Louise Brooks completist, Overland Stage Raiders (presented here in a 1950's revival print) is worth watching at least once. Brooks, 32 years old and sporting a new look, is still alluring and holds her own in what is essentially a guy's film. (Olive Films)

While a young man in the early 1980s, Berkal had the almost unique experience of meeting and befriending  the then older and reclusive Louise Brooks. The story of that friendship is chronicled in this self-published, ebook-only release. (It is also referenced in Barry Paris' 1989 biography.) Benevolent Siren is a brief recounting, which in the end leaves you wanting more. (Smashwords) Also keep in mind Youthful Places, a small collection of poetry also by Berkal. It contains "MLB," a poem about and dedicated to the actress. (Amazon Digital Services)

DVD/BluRay: La Canarina Assassinita (Canary Murder Case), directed by Malcolm St. Clair. 

The Canary Murder Case (1929), with Brooks in the title role of the "Canary," has not yet been released on DVD in the United States. But it has been, at least twice, in Italy. This new release is the latest out of Europe. Not seen at time of review. (Ermitage Cinema) Also keep in mind Mystery Movies Series of 1930's Hollywood, by Ron Backer. This recommended book opens with The Canary Murder Case and details the many subsequent Philo Vance films which followed. (McFarland)

This collection of academic essays on popular German literature of the late nineteenth century includes "Taking Sex to Market: Tagebuch einer Verlorenen: Von einerToten and Josefine Mutzenbacher, Die Lebensgeschichte einer wienerischen Dirne, von ihr selbst erzählt," by the English academic Elizabeth Boa. The essay, by a noted German scholar whose fields of interest include Frank Wedekind, looks at the book which was the basis for the 1929 Louise Brooks' film, The Diary of a Lost Girl.  That book was Margarete Bohme's Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, a controversial bestseller which sold more than 1.2 million copies. In its review of this new book, the Times Literary Supplement said, "The essays are often fascinating and always informative. The best of them make their arguments against the forgetting of their once-bestselling authors exciting. They share a passion for getting to the bottom of why, in or outside Germany, we know so little about books that were, in the main, not just flashes in the pan, as they often endured for up to a century." That's true for Boa's take on Bohme's still valuable and provocative work. (Camden House)


Colleen Moore was the cute-as-a-button silent era actress who first achieved stardom in Flaming Youth (1923). It was in that film, in which Moore plays a flapper, that the actress first sported bobbed-hair. That was also a couple years before Louise Brooks entered films and made her own mark. Both actresses were known for their signature look, a straight bob with bangs, and that fact has led some to wonder who first wore the iconic hair style. Codori discusses that question and more in this appealing biography. (McFarland)

Mae Murray, popularly known as "the girl with the bee-stung lips," was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her sultry beauty, Murray rocketed to stardom as a dancer with the Ziegfeld Follies before entering films. She appeared in The Delicious Little Devil (1919), Jazzmania (1923), and most famously, The Merry Widow (1925). With the coming of sound, her career went into decline, and eventually Murray found herself nearly destitute. The parallels with Louise Brooks' career are striking. This highly recommended biography, featuring much original research, includes never before published observations about Murray drawn from Brooks' letters to Kevin Brownlow.  (University Press of Kentucky)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

God's Gift to Women now on DVD

Warner Archive has given the 1931 Louise Brooks film, God's Gift to Women, its first ever commercial release. This Michael Curtiz directed film (Robin Hood, Casablanca) is a 72-minute  pre-code farce starring Frank Fay, Laura LaPlante and Joan Blondell. Brooks has only a supporting role, but makes an impression. It was one of three films the actress made in 1931, and is probably the best of the her American sound films. That's the good news.

Now here is the not so good news. Like the other films released by Warner Archive, his item is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. This title has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored for this DVD/Digital Download release. It is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.

The Warner Archive descriptive text reads: "One kiss could kill him! Frank Fay, Joan Blondell and Louise Brooks sparkle in a pre-Code bedroom farce about a debonair heart patient who dares not pucker up for the girl he loves."

“If you want to live, you must follow the tranquil existence of an oyster,” the eminent cardiologist warns his terrified patient. “No excitement and no women. One kiss and you die!” Mon Dieu! No kissing? That’s the kiss of death for ladies’ man Toto Duryea. And especially now, when he’s found the woman who has won his heart forever. Too bad that heart is one sick ticker. Vaudeville and stage star Frank Fay portrays Toto in this jaunty pre-Code bedroom farce set in Paris and directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Life With Father). Vivacious kewpie doll Joan Blondell and flapper femme fatale Louise Brooks are among former lovers who rush to Toto’s bedside eager to provide comfort. But he rejects them all for a hard-to-get American beauty (Laura LaPlante) whose lips have touched his only once. And oh how he longs to repeat the experience. Will Toto give his life for one more heavenly smooch?  

God's Gift to Women can be purchased through Warner Archive or The Warner Archive webpage also has a three minute clip from the film (not the trailer) which has the character (played by Charles Winninger) mention he is from Rochester (NY? - Brooks' future home) while his French friend lets slip the phrase "a sweetheart in every port."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Louise Brooks Society wish list

Wondering what to get the Louise Brooks Society this Holiday Season? Here are a few items from the LBS wish list. (Follow this link to see the complete list.) And while you're checking it out, why not get something for yourself.

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Available from these sellers.
4 Used & New from $48.65
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Minos Matsas (Audio CD)
Available from these sellers.
2 Used & New from $45.00
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Available from these sellers.
1 Used & New from $28.86
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by Jacqeline Strecker (Hardcover)
In Stock. Offered by
32 Used & New from $41.65
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by Teresa A. Carbone (Hardcover)
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59 Used & New from $33.69
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Metallica (Audio CD)
In Stock.Offered by
3 Used & New from $29.16

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Available from these sellers.
5 Used & New from $23.87

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by William Boyd (Paperback)
Available from these sellers.
33 Used & New from $8.74
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25 Used & New from $10.45
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25 Used & New from $18.24
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31 Used & New from $0.33
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by Shelley Stamp (Paperback)
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40 Used & New from $18.58
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by Irmgard Keun (Paperback)
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69 Used & New from $4.35
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