Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Louise Brooks: Greetings from Poland, part 4

A continuation of the three previous posts, the results of my look through a few online Polish archives in search of any and all Louise Brooks clippings or advertisements. Here is some more of the material I found.

The film showing at the Kino Quo-Vadis in this 1929 advertisement is Ludzie Bezdomni, or Beggars of Life (1928). Ludzie Bezdomni was also the title of a popular book on the subject of homeless people, which makes keyword searching for material on the film a bit complicated. (Again, this ad is a splendid example of a mix of different typefaces.) As is this.

This 1929 ad promotes a screening of Piraci Wielkiego Miasta, the 1927 film The City Gone Wild, with Marietta Millner and Louise Brooks. Unlike the ad in a previous post, star Thomas Meighan is not mentioned. The City Gone Wild focusses on gangsters in Chicago. Piraci Wielkiego Miasta translated back into English renders as "Pirates of the big city".

Few newspapers ads pictured a film star. This one from 1929 did. It's for a Kochanek mial sto!, the 1928 film A Girl in Every Port, starring Victor McLaglen. Brooks, center, stands out with her sleek bobbed hair.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Louise Brooks: Greetings from Poland, part 3

A continuation of the two previous posts, the results of my look through a few online Polish archives in search of any and all Louise Brooks clippings or advertisements. Here is some of the material I found.

On the right is a photograph of Louise Brooks and her brother Ted, as pictured in Robotnik, the newspaper of the Polish Socialist Party. Go figure. Brooks is identified as an actress for Paramount. A handful of her early American silent films were shown in Warsaw and elsewhere around the country.

This 1930 piece promoting Gdy mlodosc szumi (or Gole Kolanka) at the Kino Apollo is for the lost 1927 film Rolled Stockings, with Richard Arlen. It notes that the film is about American college students. Maybe there is a copy still somewhere in Poland?


This 1929 advertisement, also for the Kino Apollo, promotes Piraci wielkiego miasta, the lost 1927 Brooks film known as The City Gone Wild, which stars Thomas Meighan. Maybe there is a copy still somewhere in Poland?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Louise Brooks: Greetings from Poland, part 2

A continuation of an earlier post, the results of my look through a few online Polish archives in search of any and all Louise Brooks clippings or advertisements. Here is some of the material I found.

The 1931 ad for Pamiętnik upadłej promotes the "big" premiere of Diary of a Lost Girl, as it was called in Poland. The Margarete Böhme book on which the 1929 film was based was somewhat popular, so much so, there was even a pirated edition printed at one time. Also showing at Warsaw's Kino-Teatr Palace is a Bebe Daniels film.

The above magazine clipping above includes an image of Louise Brooks, and identifies her as appearing in Puszka Pandory, which is just one of the Polish titles for Pandora's Box. It ran in May, 1929 - right around the time the film opened in Poland.

And here is an advertisement for that opening, at the Casino in Warsaw in 1929, just a few months after is opened in Berlin. The film is advertised as Lulu, not Puszka Pandory. Also, notice that Brooks is noted as being an American actress, and that the name of Frank Wedekind is also given. Polish viewers would have likely known his the German author's name. (I love the typography in this piece, which is somewhat art nouveau, and not unlike other type found in other Polish publications of the time.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Louise Brooks Double Bill in Dublin Tomorrow

The Irish Film Institute in Dublin has scheduled a Louise Brooks double bill on June 28. The special program will feature Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. Both films were directed by G.W. Pabst and released in 1929. More information about this special event can be found HERE.

From the Irish Film Institute website: "June’s Hangover Lounge invites you to spend an indulgent Sunday afternoon at the IFI getting a tasty brunch from the IFI Café Bar whilst enjoying a double bill featuring one of the silent cinema era’s most luminous and iconic stars, Louise Brooks, in her collaborations with German director G.W. Pabst. Brooks’ portrayal of the seductive, uninhibited Lulu in Pandora’s Box (14.00), bringing ruin upon those who love her, and ultimately herself, made Brooks a star, and is arguably the role for which she is best remembered, but she is equally impressive in Diary of a Lost Girl (16.00) playing the innocent, mistreated Thymian."

Hair of the Dog: Brunch + Double Bill - €21
Pick-me-up: Brunch + single film - €16
Just the tonic: Double Bill - €13
Quick refresher: Single Film (normal IFI prices)

*Terms, conditions and supplements apply. Brunch is served from 12pm to 4pm.
Simply book your tickets at the IFI in person or by contacting the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477. You can also book your table for brunch by calling 01 679 8712.

Pandora’s Box: 110 minutes, Germany, 1928, Silent, Black and White, 35mm
Diary of a Lost Girl: 113 minutes, Germany, 1929, Silent, Black and White, Blu-Ray

The "Louise Brooks:Greetings from Poland" series continues tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Louise Brooks: Greetings from Poland, part 1

I seek her here, I seek her there, I seek her everywhere.... I recently had the chance to visit Poland. I recently spent a good number of hours exploring a few online Polish archives, including Polona at http://polona.pl/. I was in search of any and all Louise Brooks clippings or advertisements. Here is some of the material I found. Each is a window into another world.

From what I uncovered, I would say that the actress had a bit of a following in Poland. At least 10 of her films, and likely more, were shown that country. And often, Brooks was promoted ahead of the film's lead. And what's more, it seems as though both Diary of a Lost Girl and Prix de Beaute were as big of a deal as was Pandora's Box. In fact, Prix de Beaute continued to be shown over the course of three years. I found screenings listed from 1930 through 1932. That is somewhat remarkable, and long lived.

The above magazine page, from late 1928, includes an image of Louise Brooks, and identifies her as appearing in Puszka Pandory, which is just one of the Polish titles for Pandora's Box. As best I can tell, the article has nothing to do with Brooks.

A 1929 newspaper advertisement for Puszka Pandory starring Luiza Brooks. Like her film titles, which were subject to translation and even retitling, Brooks' name was also adapted. (The same for Clara Bow, here listed as "Klara Bow.") In other pieces I found, Brooks' name was given as Louisa Brooks and simply Louise Brooks. One piece even had her listed as Lonisa Brooks. All this makes a difference when searching using keywords.

I need help with this rare 1931 advertisement, shown above. The fourth theater listed from the top, the Kino Rialto, promotes a showing of The Canary Murder Case, starring Luiza Brooks and William Powell. However, I can't exactly make out the translated title of the film. Is it Kryuk z za Swlatow or Kryuk z za Swlatew or Kryuk z za Swiatow, or some other variation ? Help if you can.

Being or partial Polish heritage, I was especially pleased to take this expedition through time and place. Check back to this blog in the coming days as I post more of my findings. Dziękuję bardzo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Louise Brooks pictured in advertisement on Rome metro

Gianluca Chiovelli sent this picture of a cinema advertisement on the Rome metro which pictures Louise Brooks. How cool. Thank you Gianluca.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New ebook features Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers

A recently published ebook features Louise Brooks both inside and out. Tom Graves' 297 page ebook from Devault-Graves Digital Editions (published April 29, 2015) is titled Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers. It contains a selection of the author's journalism relating not only to film but also music and literature. Notably, the book contains the author's previously published My Afternoon with Louise Brooks (based on the journalist's encounter with the actress), as well as a chapter from Fallen Angel, Graves' aborted biography of Brooks.

Here is the publisher description: "Award-winning author and journalist Tom Graves in "Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers" collects the best of his long-form journalism articles and profiles as well as his in-depth interviews with a variety of curious personalities. The lead piece is "My Afternoon with Louise Brooks" about Graves's encounter in 1982 with the reclusive silent film legend Louise Brooks. He was the last journalist ever to sit bedside with Miss Brooks, who allowed very few people into her life. Also included are Graves's 1979 sit down with the king of Southern grit lit, Harry Crews, his discovery of the first Elvis impersonator, his search with the help of Quentin Tarantino to find actress Linda Haynes, who had vanished from Hollywood. Included are also Graves's in-depth question and answer interviews with: Frank Zappa, Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones, Lee Mavers of the cult band the La's, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and rock critic Dave Marsh. Some of Graves's best essays are also part of this anthology: his piece on the Sex Pistols in Memphis, an apology for biographer Albert Goldman, a revisit of Woodstock, interviews with CD remastering gurus, and more."

One Amazon.com reviewer said this: "When I read Tom Graves' work, I immediately see his passion, his deep interest in the people whom he interviews, an interest that precedes and leads up to insightful and personal articles about people who have had an extraordinary impact in our history and culture."

It's true. This book belongs on the shelf of every serious Louise Brooks collector. Check it out. I did. I just bought the a copy of Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers through amazon.com. For those wanting more, be sure and check out Tom Graves blog at http://tomgraves.blogspot.com/ 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Seeking info on "I'm a Real-Life Doll" with Louise Brooks lyric

Some years ago, I came across a posting on the web about a song called "I'm a Real-Life Doll". The lyrics supposedly come from an unsuccessful 1931 musical called Footlight Fancies, with supposed ghostwritten lyrics by Jerome Kern. One of more of these facts may be incorrect. I can't find any information on this song or even the musical. Are they real? If anyone has any information, please contact the Louise Brooks Society.

"I'm a Real-Life Doll"

Though I'm not a Lilian Gish
I can cook a tasty dish.
And even though I'm not Joan Crawford
I've got charms that she ain't offered.

I may not be Clara Bow
But there's a sewing trick I know
And Theda Bara
Can't prepare a
Creme brulee or caramel.

Though I can't say I've the looks
Of mysterious Louise Brooks
You won't be disappointed, not at all!
Alice White may be all right
And Blanche Sweet may be petite
But I'm a real-life doll!

Yes, it's time that I confessed
I am certainly no Mae West
But don't let my lack of glamor cast a pall.
Greta Garbo, she's a star-bo
Mary Pickford, quite a kick-ford
But Anna May Wong, she won't stay long,
And Mabel Normand -- get the doorman!
So stick with me and you'll get over
All of Alla Nazimova
I'm a real-life doll!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Louise Brooks is Loma Brooks

This rare Spanish cigarette card is for sale on eBay at a rather steep price. It measures approximately 2" x 2 3/4" and is card stock, and has Spanish text on the back. And what's more, the actress is identified as "Loma Brooks." I have seen other material from Spain where Brooks is called Luisa. Anyone have an idea as to why Loma?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Podcast with Rick Geary, author of Louise Brooks: Detective

Recently, Rick Geary was a guest on The Comics Alternative podcast. I am listening to it now - and would recommend any Louise Brooks or comic book fan give a listen. Geary is the author of the just published graphic novel, Louise Brooks: Detective (NBM), an 80-page fictional take on the actress' time in Kansas in the early 1940s.

Geary himself grew up in Kansas, and Geary's mother was Brooks' second cousin. Geary brings an insider perspective to telling this tale. He also brings a real appreciation for Brooks, of whom he says "she is one of the great images of the 20th century, one of the great faces."

Louise Brooks: Detective is "A fictional story centered on actress Louise Brooks, this graphic novel by Rick Geary is spun around her actual brief meteoric career as a smoldering film actress who popularized bangs. Geary fantasizes about her coming back to her home town of Wichita where she becomes intrigued by a murder involving a friend, a famous reclusive writer and a shady beau. Not before she gets herself in great danger will she emerge with the solution the police fail to grasp."

Rick Geary is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. He is the author and illustrator of several books, including the other titles in the Treasury of XXth Century Murder series. He has worked for Marvel Entertainment Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Heavy Metal magazine, and has contributed to National Lampoon and the New York Times Book Review. The book industry trade journal Publishers Weekly calls Louise Brooks: Detective "A fun, twisty mystery for both film buffs and crime fiction lovers, and the final revelation is satisfying."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Louise Brooks is on Twitter, follow her now!

The Louise Brooks Society is on Twitter @LB_Society.
 As of today, the LBS is followed by more than 3500 individuals. Are you one of them?
Why not join the conversation? Be sure and visit the official LBS Twitter profile, and check out the more
than 4,100 LBS tweets! For those who like to follow the flow, the LBS twitter stream can also be found
in the right hand column of this blog.
Who follows the LBS on Twitter? Fans, film historians, theaters, cine clubs and film institutes, art deco collectors, librarians, classic film buffs as well as Garbo, Keaton, Chaplin, Clara Bow and Douglas Fairbanks. Are you one of them? Don't miss a tweet!

And that's not all. 

RadioLulu ♪♫♬♪

also has a Twitter account at @Radio_Lulu

As of now, RadioLulu is followed by more than 425 individuals - including many silent film and vintage music enthuisiasts, and has posted more than 250 tweets! This more recently established account tweets about Louise Brooks and music as well as additions to RadioLulu - the long running online radio station of the
Louise Brooks Society at 
Check em out! 

And for those who want, check out the Twitter account of Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society, at @thomas_gladysz 

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Louise Brooks Society website in the works

To celebrate 20 years online as the leading source for all things Lulu, a new Louise Brooks Society website is in the works! Great progress is being made. But in the meantime, the domain www.pandorasbox.com is under construction. Please check back as a new and improved website is made ready. Contact info is pictured here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why Be Good?

I recently has the opportunity to see the stellar 1929 Colleen Moore film, Why Be Good?, on the big screen at the recent San Francisco Silent Film Festival. And let me tell you, it was stellar. Did I already say that? If so, let me tell you it was really terrific. If you like Louise Brooks, you'll like Colleen Moore. She is just as much of a dish!

Happily, Why Be Good? is available on DVD. And what's more, this recent DVD release stars actor Neil Hamilton (who was featured in Brooks' first film, The Street of Forgotten Men) as well as the film's original Vitaphone soundtrack.

"'Why be good when it’s so much more thrilling to be bad?' asked the ad campaign for this slightly naughty and oh-so-knowing silent-movie celebration of the flapper era. The star of Flaming Youth - vivacious Colleen Moore - again captures the rebellious flamboyance of the Twenties in Why Be Good? She plays Pert Kelly, a shopgirl who wins the heart of the boss’ son (Neil Hamilton, The Dawn Patrol). The boss, however, doubts that Pert is virtuous. His love-struck son wonders if Dad could be right. So he sets up a little test for his sweetie: He takes Pert to a raucous roadhouse, rents a private room and makes a most ungentlemanly suggestion. Will Pert be good? Or, with Prince Charming in her grasp, will she decide it’s better to be bad? The lively direction is the work of William A. Seiter, whose 45-year career included the Golden Age musicals Roberta, Dimples and You Were Never Lovelier."

For more about Colleen Moore, be sure and check out the Colleen Moore Project website.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

First ever Louise Brooks Society blog on this day in 2002

The first ever Louise Brooks Society blog appeared on LiveJournal on this day in 2002. To mark the occasion, here is that first post:

In search of the perfect bob, in the Philippines

The Philippine Daily Inquirer, from Manila, recently ran a story titled "In search of the perfect bob." In it, the reporter discusses her own quest for the haircut, as well as a bit of it's history.

It has been a long debate on who actually started the classic bob. But American Hairdresser magazine, in an article on March 1, 2007, “The Way We Were,” credited dancer Irene Castle for the bob, which used to be called “Castle Bob” in 1915.
There was also the tale of an unpopular girl whose life changed after she got her new bob, as told in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” published in the Saturday Evening Post in May 1920.
Others credit the bob to Coco Chanel or the American dancer and actress Louise Brooks, with her ebony black, blunt bob with bangs.
Anna Wintour has been sporting the page-boy bob since she was 14.
Why is the ’do still popping up to this day?
The popularity of the bob knows no bounds. Neither does its identification with Louise Brooks. Both are a worldwide phenomena!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Something about RadioLulu you'll want to read

Here's the latest on RadioLulu....

RadioLulu is a Louise Brooks-inspired, silent film-themed station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today. Located on the web at www.live365.com/stations/radiolulu — RadioLulu features music from the films of the silent and early sound era, as well as recordings by early stars, show tunes, a little sweet jazz, cabaret artists, contemporary tracks and more. In addition, there are theme songs, novelty numbers, torch singers and crooners — as well as a numerous tracks with “Lulu” or “LouLou” in the title. And of course, there’s Maurice Chevalier’s much-loved “Louise”. All together, RadioLulu features more than 430 tracks totaling almost 23 hours!

Music has played a significant role in the life and films of Louise Brooks. (Remember, “Silent films were never silent.”) And that’s why RadioLulu was started, as a means of sharing some of the many rare related recordings collected by the Louise Brooks Society.

Launched in 2002, this unique station features music from five of Brooks’ films — the haunting themes from Beggars of Life (1928) and Prix de Beauté (1930), as well as musical passages from The Canary Murder Case (1929), Empty Saddles (1936), and Overland Stage Raiders (1938). On RadioLulu, you’ll also hear the familiar “Sidewalks of New York” (played on the set of The Street of Forgotten Men), as well as John Philip Sousa’s “Atlantic City Beauty Pageant” (written for the Miss America contest seen in The American Venus). There are also vintage recordings by Brooks’ screen co-stars, Adolphe Menjou, Noah Beery, Blanche Ring (aunt of husband Eddie Sutherland), Esther Ralston, Dorothy Mackaill, James Hall, Lawrence Gray,  Frank Fay, Joan Blondell, and Buck Jones. Similarly, Brooks’ European co-stars are represented by recordings from Siegfried Arno (Pandora’s Box), Kurt Gerron (Diary of a Lost Girl), and Andre Roanne (Prix de Beauté). Each recording is a rarity.

There are vintage tracks associated with Brooks’ brief time with the Ziegfeld Follies, including a handful of recordings by performers who shared the stage with the actress, such as Ethel Shutta, Leon Erroll, and the great W.C. Fields.

RadioLulu also features songs by Brooks’ friends and acquaintances, as well as individuals she worked with over the years. Actress Tallulah Bankhead, torch singer Libby Holman, chanteuse Lucienne Boyer, bandleader Emil Coleman, and nightclub owner Bruz Fletcher are all included. Other tracks associated with the actress heard on RadioLulu include George Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me” (her favorite Gershwin song), Xavier Cugat’s “Siboney” (recommended by Brooks in her book, Fundamentals of Ballroom Dancing), and two numbers by Sid Kay’s Fellows (the jazz band seen playing at the wedding reception in Pandora’s Box). Also, there’s Ross Berkal’s latter day tribute, “MLB (for Louise Brooks)”. Berkal, who is mentioned in the Barry Paris biography and is a longtime member of the Louise Brooks Society, was friendly with Brooks later in her life.

Some of the many tributes to the actress by contemporary recording artists are also played on RadioLulu. They include Natalie Merchant, Rufus Wainwright, Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark (OMD), John Zorn, Sarah Azzara, and Soul Coughing. Even famed cartoonist Robert Crumb is heard on “Chanson pour Louise Brooks”.

Recordings by early Hollywood figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lupe Velez, Bebe Daniels, Clara Bow, Norma Talmadge, Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford are also streamed. So are recordings by later stars Buddy Rogers, Claudette Colbert, David Manners, Jean Harlow, Paulette Goddard, Barbara Stanwyck, and Dorothy Lamour. A few of the European actors and actresses heard on the station are Brigitte Helm, Camilla Horn, Anny Ondra, Conrad Veidt, Pola Negri, and Marlene Dietrich (notably her early German-language recordings).

Gloria Swanson is one of the many silent and early film stars featured on RadioLulu.

Among others, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are heard singing the classic “If I Had A Talking Picture Of You,” one of a number of movie-related songs heard on RadioLulu. There’s also “Take Your Girlie to the Movies,” “At the Moving Picture Ball,” “Hollywood Stomp” and “Hooray for Hollywood,” as well as rare vintage songs about Chaplin, Garbo, Keaton, and Zasu Pitts. And don’t miss H. Robinson Cleaver’s “Grace Moore Medley”, Fred Bird & Luigi Bernauer’s “Hallo Hallo Hier Radio”, and Jack Hylton and His Orchestra’s “My brother makes the noises for the talkies”.

What else is heard on RadioLulu? Tune in to hear Constance Bennett sing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, or Alice White & Blanche Sweet sing “There’s A Tear For Every Smile in Hollywood” (from the soundtrack to Showgirl in Hollywood). The Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orchestra perform “The Vamp”, Nate Shilkret plays “Flapperette”, and Marion Harris sings “I’m a Jazz Vampire”. Regulations regarding radio station identification are given by none other than Cary Grant, co-star of the 1937 Brooks’ film, When You’re in Love.

And that’s not all…. You’ll hear James P. Johnson’s “You’ve Got to be Modernistic”, the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks’ recording of “Louise, You Tease”, as well as a handful of different recordings of both “Don’t Bring Lulu” and “Lulu’s Back in Town”. All will delight. RadioLulu plays Ragtime, dance bands, Big Bands, hotel orchestras, standards, swing, and some real hot jazz, including such popular hits as the “Charleston”, “Black Bottom”, and “Varsity Rag”. There are also sentimental favorites like “Stardust” and “As Time Goes By”.

Among the unusual European tracks streamed on RadioLulu are little heard gems from the 1930s Polish chanteuse Hanka Ordonówna as well as the Gershwin of Czechoslovakia, Jaroslav Jezek, a stirring number by the great British cinema organist Sidney Torch, and a 1929 recording of the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht singing “Mack the Knife”. Also heard are one-time models Suzy Solidor and Kiki of Montparnasse. Both posed for the surrealist photographer Man Ray, an  admirer of Louise Brooks.

RadioLulu features many of the leading stars of the 1920s and 1930s — Rudy Vallee, Russ Colombo, Ben Selvin, Fred Waring, Ted Weems, Paul Whiteman, Annette Hanshaw, Helen Kane, Mildred Bailey, Lee Wiley, Ruth Etting, Kay Thompson, and Frankie Trumbauer, as well as Josephine Baker, Django Rheinhart, and Mistinguett. There are also rarely heard artists like the Eskimo Pie Orchestra and the Brox Sisters, as well as Scrappy Lambert, Fred Elizalde, and Dorothy Dickson. You never know what will turn up on this eclectic, always entertaining station.

Louise Brooks listens to a record.

There is nothing else quite like RadioLulu. Over the years, it has gained many fans and listeners. Famed film critic Leonard Maltin rated it a “Wow.” Louise Brooks devotee and celebrated Dr. Who actor Paul McGann called it “incredible.” The Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman (author of Maus) said he has tuned-in on a number of occasions. As has the award-winning science fiction writer Richard Kadrey. And would you believe the retro Spanish pop/swing/rock group Radio Lulu named themselves after the station?

Listen today by clicking on the widget above. Be sure to follow RadioLulu on Twitter and Facebook. And check out the RadioLulu wish list on Amazon.com

There is a lot of great music on RadioLulu. Along with George Jessel’s narrative history of “The Roaring Twenties 1920-1929″ and such famous names as Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Benny Goodman, here are ten tracks you won’t want to miss: “Makin’ Whoopee” by B.A. Rolfe & His Lucky Strike Orchestra, “Runnin’ Wild” by Isabella Patricola, “The Sheik of Araby” by Fats Waller, and “Puttin on the Ritz” by Harry Richman, as well as “You Oughta be In Pictures” by Little Jack Little & His Orchestra, “Singin’ In The Rain” by Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike), “Slumming On Park Avenue” by Alice Faye, “Ramona” by Dolores Del Rio, and on a more contemporary note, “Lulu” by Twiggy (the 1960’s supermodel), and “I’m In Love With A German Film Star” by The Passions.

RadioLulu needs your help. Consider becoming an underwriter: the Louise Brooks Society pays $120.00 annually to stream this unique online station. That amount includes licensing fees associated with broadcasting music over the web through LIve365. Show your support by paying for part or a full year’s broadcast. Individuals who make a donation will be acknowledged on this page and on the RadioLulu homepage.  (Full or partial underwriting for the current year is available.) To help underwrite RadioLulu send an email or join the LBS as a contributing member. // Or, consider purchasing a CD for RadioLulu from its Amazon.com wish list. It will be used in adding additional tracks to the station. Thank you for your interest in Louise Brooks, RadioLulu and the Louise Brooks Society.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Was Louise Brooks first film appearance in 1923, not 1925?

I am trying to follow up on a lead.... there is a small chance that Louise Brooks may have had an uncredited bit part in Cause for Divorce. The film, an independent production produced and directed by Hugh Dierker, was released in late 1923 by Hugh Dierker Productions and distributed by the Selznick Distribution Corporation. The film was shown around the country in the first half of 1924. If true, Brooks appearance in this film would pre-date her uncredited role in the 1925 film, The Street of Forgotten Men.

Cause for Divorce was shot in 1923, while Brooks was still a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. I have run across a clipping from the time Brooks was on tour with Denishawn mentioning that the company took part in the making of a local film. The title was not given. What I need to find out is where Cause for Divorce was made. If it was shot in Hollywood, then Brooks does not appear in it. If Cause for Divorce was made in the South, then there is a chance she did. Does anyone know anything about Cause for Divorce or Hugh Dierker Productions? Does this film still exist? Here is the IMDb entry for the film.

And here is the AFI catalogue entry, which may provide a clue. I have tried tracing the career of the film lead, Fritzi Brunette, but she is pretty obscure. The only cast member I was familiar with was Junior Coughlan. Did he ever work in the South? Director Hugh Dierker is also obscure. He only produced three films. The first was When Dawn Came (1920), which featured Colleen Moore.

Here is a tantalizing clue, a clipping from 1924, which mentions that Ted Shawn and the female Denishawn dancers participated in some way in Cause for Divorce. If the film was shot in Hollywood, then the participants were likely members of the Los Angeles branch of Denishawn (which did not include Brooks). If the film was shot in the South, then the participants may have been members of Denishawn's touring company, which then included the future actress.

I realize this is all a bit speculative, but any help is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New article on Louise Brooks in Jocks&Nerds magazine

There is a new, 6 page illustrated article in Jocks&Nerds magazine (issue 14, Spring 2015). The piece was penned by Chris Sullivan and starts on page 84. Jocks&Nerds is published in London, but can be read online.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer

Just out from the University Press of Kentucky is Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer by Cynthia and Sara Brideson. Its a graceful read, full of information and well researched. (I am more than 100 pages into the book.) My only complaint is that there is not more Louise Brooks in it. Admittedly, Brooks was with the Follies for only a short time (less than a year, really), but she was a favorite of the subject of this new book, impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. In fact, Ziegfeld long kept a picture of Brooks in his office. Brooks is only referenced in passing on page 293, and her picture is included in one of the two photo sections. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to finishing the book, and would recommend it to anyone one interested in the silent film era.

A description of the book from the publisher: "The name Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (1867–1932) is synonymous with the decadent revues that the legendary impresario produced at the turn of the twentieth century. These extravagant performances were filled with catchy tunes, high-kicking chorus girls, striking costumes, and talented stars such as Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Marilyn Miller, W. C. Fields, and Will Rogers. After the success of his Follies, Ziegfeld revolutionized theater performance with the musical Show Boat (1927) and continued making Broadway hits―including Sally (1920), Rio Rita (1927), and The Three Musketeers (1928)―several of which were adapted for the silver screen.

In this definitive biography, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson offer a comprehensive look at both the life and legacy of the famous producer. Drawing on a wide range of sources―including Ziegfield's previously unpublished letters to his second wife, Billie Burke (who later played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz), and to his daughter Patricia―the Bridesons shed new light on this enigmatic man. They provide a lively and well-rounded account of Ziegfeld as a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a lover, and an alternately ruthless and benevolent employer. Lavishly illustrated with over seventy-five images, this meticulously researched book presents an intimate and in-depth portrait of a figure who profoundly changed American entertainment."

And three well deserved bits of praise....

"Ziegfeld was one of the most important theatrical producers of the early twentieth century, and the Follies (and its Girls) are still remembered today. He had a long-lasting effect not only on Broadway, but on social mores, and this book does a great job over covering that, in a fascinating way. The Bridesons know their stuff." ― Eve Golden, author of Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway

"For years I had hoped a book on Ziegfeld would come out, and now the wait is over! Expertly written, well researched, this is truly the definitive book on perhaps the greatest showman of the early Twentieth Century. This highly-recommended biography earns a perfectly wonderful place alongside my editions of Mrs. Ziegfeld: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke and With a Feather on my Nose. ― James Zeruk, author of Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide: A Biography

"The authors have created a detailed, sweeping narrative of Broadway showman and entrepreneur Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., both as to his professional rise and fall and the full details of his complex, busy personal life. While there have been books devoted to him before, this new account is quite compelling both in scope and detail, and will certainly be the new definitive biography of the opulent life and times of the great Ziegfeld." ― James Robert Parish, author of The Hollywood Book of Extravagance: The Totally Infamous, Mostly Disastrous, and Always Compelling Excesses of America's Film and TV Idols

Monday, June 8, 2015

Universal Pictures to restore 15 silent films over next 4 years

Building on its 2012 Centennial celebration, Universal Pictures announced its continued commitment to honor the Studio’s rich film history and cultural legacy by restoring some of the world’s classic silent films.  During the next four years, the Studio will restore approximately 15 silent film titles from Universal’s early years.  [No Louise Brooks films are expected to be among the forthcoming restorations. The actress' only Universal Film is Empty Saddles (1936).] The complete list of films is still in development in collaboration with outside film historians, institutions, and preservationists.  Partners and collaborators in the initiative include the Library of Congress, The Film Foundation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, George Eastman House, UCLA Film & Television Archives, Association of Moving Image Archivists, and Hollywood Heritage.

The announcement was made at the opening night of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and was witnessed by yours truly. It was greeted with great excitement.

“The company understands its responsibility and need to preserve our silent film legacy,” said Ron Meyer, vice chairman, NBCUniversal. “This early art of film making is the foundation on which Universal Pictures was built more than 100 years ago, and it’s important we honor our rich history.”  

The silent film era is best known for instantly recognizable story lines, settings, costumes, and characters.  Most early silent films were accompanied by a full-fledged orchestra, organist or pianist to provide musical background and to underscore the narrative on the screen.  Some even included live actors or narrators.  The major genre emphasis was on swashbucklers, historical extravaganzas, and melodramas, although all kinds of films were being produced throughout the decade.

According to a report released by the Library of Congress, 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been completely lost.  Universal’s restoration team will work with archives and collectors worldwide to secure copies of prints and additional elements needed to complete this restoration effort and augment the silent film titles currently in its library. 

Universal Pictures silent film restoration initiative builds on the company’s ongoing restoration commitment.  Since the program was first announced in 2012, nearly 30 titles have been restored and 25 more titles are expected to be restored by 2017.  Fully restored titles to date include All Quiet on the Western Front, Dracula (1931), Dracula Spanish (1931), Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein [which almost starred Louise Brooks in the title role], Double Indemnity, The Sting, and other films.

adapted from the press release

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lulu: trailer - De Nationale Opera | Dutch National Opera

Wow. Wow. Wow. Watch these video trailers for William Kentridge's staging of Lulu at the Dutch National Opera. Next up, the Met in New York City. More info at http://bit.ly/youLulu

Friday, June 5, 2015

Irish Film Institute has Louise Brooks Double Bill

The Irish Film Institute in Dublin has scheduled a Louise Brooks double bill in June. The special program will feature Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. Both films were directed by G.W. Pabst and released in 1929. More information about the event can be found HERE.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jacksonville's Norman Studio Screens Louise Brooks Film on June 7

Norman Studios’s next Silent Sunday showcases German silent film director Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s 1929 drama, Diary of a Lost Girl, on Sunday, June 7th at Hotel Indigo at 9840 Tapestry Park Circle in Jacksonville, Florida. Doors open at 3pm, program begins at 4pm.

"In this 1929 silent drama, Brooks plays Thymiane, a teenage girl living a life of comfort that suddenly is thrown into a spiral of death, deception and despair. Pregnant by rape, young Thymiane is thrown out of her home to fend for herself, leading to a series of heartbreaking turns. But in a twist of fate, she finds herself in a position to change the destiny of another troubled young woman, proving that 'a little more love and no one would be lost in this world'." The films include live musical accompaniment by Tony Steve and the Silver Synchro Sounds.

Tickets are $5 per person and include popcorn. Silent Sundays proceeds support the Norman Studios Silent Film Museum, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing public knowledge of Northeast Florida’s early film industry and the restoration of Jacksonville’s only remaining silent film studio. For information, go to www.normanstudios.org.

Louise Brooks remembers the time she spent
filming in Ocala, Florida.
Founded in 1920 Jacksonville, Florida’s Norman Studios was among the nation’s first to produce films starring African American characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles, contrasting the derogatory roles offered by the era’s mainstream filmmakers. It was run by Richard E. Norman, a forward-thinking gentleman who sought to help break the racial barriers in his industry. Norman’s five-building studio complex survives in Jacksonville’s historic Old Arlington neighborhood and is the city’s last surviving vestige from the River City’s heyday as a wintertime film production hub. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Henri Langlois Centennial Tribute includes Louise Brooks

Henri Langlois, one of the founders of the La Cinémathèque française, famously said Louise Brooks, "There is no Garbo, there is no Dietrich, there is only Louise Brooks."

Fittingly, a Henri Langlois centennial tribute at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California includes a Louise Brooks film. On Saturday, July 11, 2015 the PFA will screening the La Cinémathèque française's copy of Prix de beauté (1930), starring Louise Brooks. More about that particular screening can be found HERE. The line-up for the centennial tribute follows.

The French film archivist and cinephile Henri Langlois (1914–1977) is a heroic and colorful figure in the history of cinema. As the cofounder of La Cinémathèque française in Paris and as a champion of film culture, he inspired the international cinematheque movement. Indeed, Langlois’s visits to Berkeley in the 1960s and 1970s greatly informed the vision of the Pacific Film Archive, particularly the way our institution exhibits, collects, and makes information about film history available to the public. Today, BAM/PFA’s film department remains true to that original model inspired by Henri Langlois, over forty years ago.

Summer 2015 brings a period of change for our film programs at BAM/PFA. This is our final season in the temporary PFA Theater, which we have occupied since 2000. What could be a more fitting tribute at this time of transition than this series, which celebrates aesthetic achievements in cinema, featuring many films that Langlois helped save for future generations of viewers? This eclectic series presents works that contributed to the development of French silent cinema as well as some by Langlois’s favorite auteurs (Tod Browning, Ernst Lubitsch, Jean Renoir, Erich von Stroheim). Langlois advocated for a cinema that explores the aesthetic possibility of film language and the use of cinema as a means of resistance, principles that we continue to champion as we move ahead into our future.

Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator

Thursday, June 11, 2015
7:30 p.m. Henri Langlois Centennial Tribute: Opening Program
Introduced by Tom Luddy. Judith Rosenberg on piano. A collection of shorts on the legendary Langlois, as well as the 1918 Italian short La Tosca, a lost film found by Langlois in the BAM/PFA Collection. Titles include Langlois (1970), Chit Chat with Henri Langlois (1975), and La Cinémathèque française (1962). (94 mins)

Friday, June 12, 2015
7:00 p.m. Dimitri Kirsanoff & Nadia Sibirskaïa Collaborations
Dmitri Kirsanoff (France, 1924/1928). Imported Prints! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Two rare works from the great silent-era director Dimitri Kirsanoff: the evocative portrait of two young sisters, Ménilmontant, and Autumn Mists, a short about a melancholy soul. (54 mins)

Saturday, June 13, 2015
6:30 p.m. Forbidden Paradise
Ernst Lubitsch (US, 1924). Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Lubitsch teams with his favorite muse, the great actress Pola Negri, for this comedy inspired by the amorous intrigue surrounding Catherine the Great of Russia. Adolphe Menjou costars. (78 mins)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
7:30 p.m. Lumière d'été
Jean Grémillon (France, 1943). Imported Print! A remote mountain inn is the setting for a class-crossed love affair split between working class and idle rich. Coscripted by Jacques Prévert, it is acclaimed as one of the greatest French films made during the German Occupation. Followed by excerpts from Parlons cinema—à propos du cinéma dans la résistance. (120 mins)

Friday, June 19, 2015
7:00 p.m. The Steel Beast
Willy Otto Zielke (Germany, 1935). Imported Print! Commissioned to celebrate the anniversary of a rail line in 1935, this film by great German photographer Willy Otto Zielke is a daring collage of abstractions, rhythms, and historical commentary, and was immediately banned by the Nazis. (75 mins)

Friday, June 26, 2015
7:00 p.m. Early Films by Abel Gance
Abel Gance (France, 1915/1916). 35mm Restored Prints! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Two early and rare shorts, The Madness of Doctor Tube and The Deadly Gases, that demonstrate the fledgling skills of the director who would later make one of the silent era’s greatest epics, Napoleon. (83 mins)

Friday, July 3, 2015
7:00 p.m. The Unknown
Tod Browning (US, 1927). Judith Rosenberg on piano. A circus performer has his arms amputated to satisfy his lover’s strange desires in Tod Browning’s shocking tale of madness and love, starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford. (66 mins)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
7:30 p.m. Nana
Jean Renoir (France, 1926). Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. An actress turns courtesan to make ends meet during Europe’s decadent Second Empire in Renoir’s first full-length vehicle for his wife, Catherine Hessling. Renoir: “My first film worth talking about.” (150 mins)

Saturday, July 11, 2015
6:30 p.m. Prix de beauté
Augusto Genina (France, 1930). Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. The last major role for silent-era beauty Louise Brooks (Pandora’s Box) was as a Parisian typist who wins a beauty contest and a movie contract, only to face the violent disapproval of her husband. (108 mins)

Saturday, July 18, 2015
6:30 p.m. La chienne
Jean Renoir (France, 1931). Imported Print! Michel Simon is an unhappily married middle-aged bank clerk whose only passion in life is painting, until he becomes obsessed with a prostitute. Remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street, Renoir’s original is infused with a sadomasochistic sexuality that is both heightened and tempered by Renoir's camera. (100 mins)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
7:30 p.m. Foolish Wives
Erich von Stroheim (US, 1922) Judith Rosenberg on piano. Monte Carlo provides the suitably decadent setting for von Stroheim’s look at money, temptation, and marriage. “Never was a film more revolutionary” (Langlois). (108 mins)

Friday, July 24, 2015
8:50 p.m. Queen Kelly
Erich von Stroheim (US, 1931) In a debauched Central European kingdom, a mad queen must wed a notorious libertine, who instead falls for a young nun (Gloria Swanson). One of the most infamous unfinished film maudits in history, and praised as Erich von Stroheim’s masterpiece. (74 mins)

Sunday, July 26, 2015
5:00 p.m. Georges Méliès Shorts
Georges Méliès (France, 1897–1906). Digital Restorations! Judith Rosenberg on piano. The genius shorts of the father of cinema, many hand-painted and restored by La Cinémathèque française in 2013 with the Éclair Group. (58 mins)

Based on Grâce à Henri Langlois, a touring exhibition originated by La Cinémathèque française (Paris), curated by Samantha Leroy. Our deepest thanks to Director General Serge Toubiana and the staff of La Cinémathèque française, who have made available many archival prints and digital restorations for this centennial tribute. BAM/PFA also wishes to thank the French Cultural Services San Francisco, Les Films du Jeudi, SNC, and Kathy Brew.

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Louise Brooks Society website in the works

To celebrate 20 years online as the leading source for all things Lulu, a new Louise Brooks Society website is in the works! Until its launch, the domain www.pandorasbox.com is under construction. Please check back as a new and improved website is made ready. Contact info is pictured here.

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