Friday, May 17, 2019

Facts matter: Louise Brooks and some mistaken eBay listings

As there are with other movie stars and other cultural icons, there is a fair amount of misinformation floating around the internet regarding Louise Brooks. This misinformation ranges from simple inaccuracies regarding how many films the actress appeared in (was it 24, or 25?) -- or the date of a particular film's release (Pandora's Box is sometimes listed as a 1928 film, though released in 1929), to the mistaken identification of the actress (just because the subject of a portrait or film still is wearing bobbed hair doesn't mean it is Brooks). And then there are the various fake nudes.... which I've written about in the past HERE.

With all the attention Brooks has been getting of late with the release of The Chaperone, it is important to keep the facts straight. A few articles about The Chaperone, as well as a few related Facebook postings about the PBS film, have included a bit of inaccurate information. The film itself even contains a few historical anomalies. Read more about those HERE.

The Louise Brooks Society is intent on providing accurate information -- as well as pointing out inaccurate and mistaken material. Fact matter, after all - despite all the fake news coming out of Washington.

Recently, I've come across a handful of examples of inaccurate and mistaken material regarding the actress on eBay. It is hard to say whether these sellers are simply mistaken, suffering from wishful thinking, or are intent on deception. (As Lee Israel was when she faked letters from Louise Brooks and others as depicted in the recently released film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) You be the judge.

To me, and to most Louise Brooks fans, the above photo does NOT depict Louise Brooks, despite the fact she was a Ziegfeld girl in the 1920s and was photographed in a similar fashion by Alfred Cheney Johnston. It is not even close.

In all fairness, the seller of this photo is uncertain (hence the question mark), but still willing to mention Brooks by name in the item descriptor. [Does anyone know which film this still is from? I wasn't able to track down the identification numbers in the lower left hand corner.]

Again, just because a woman is wearing bobbed hair doesn't mean it is Brooks.To my eyes, this women looks nothing like Louise.

This one is a hoot. No, that is NOT Louise Brooks and Fred Astaire. That is Cyd Charisse (meant to look like Louise Brooks) and Gene Kelly in a scene from Singin' in the Rain. Here is a better image from the celebrated 1952 film, and in color (not colorized, but that is a whole different debate).

Monday, May 13, 2019

Diary of a Lost Girl starring Louise Brooks to show twice at BFI Southbank in London, England

The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks' film Diary of a Lost Girl will be shown at the BFI Southbank in London, England in June as part of the Weimar Cinema 1919-1933 series. Diary will be shown twice, on Thursday, June 13 and Saturday, June 15, 2019. More information about this event, including ticket availability, can be found HERE.

Diary of a Lost Girl / Tagebuch einer Verlorenen

Iconic silent movie star Louise Brooks plays a woman who suffers at the hands of men, but refuses to be victim.

Germany 1929
Director G.W. Pabst
With Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp, Valeska Gert
113min / Digital / English subtitles
Certificate PG

Louise Brooks gives a performance of radiant vitality and real depth as a young woman who suffers at the hands of a grotesque assortment of men, but refuses – despite everything – to be a victim. Pabst scathingly depicts the poverty and hypocrisy by which women’s lives are routinely destroyed. A heady cocktail of lurid eroticism, knockabout humour and genuine pathos.

Print and permission courtesy Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.
With Javier Pérez de Azpeitia score (June 13), with live piano accompaniment (June 15).
The screening on Thursday 13 June will be introduced by film critic Pamela Hutchinson, author of a recent and rather excellent book on Pandora's Box.

Monday, May 6, 2019

New Book Features Louise Brooks - Women of the 1920s: Style, Glamour, and the Avant-Garde

A new book, Women of the 1920s: Style, Glamour, and the Avant-Garde by Thomas Bleitner, looks at the lives of seventeen influential women of the Jazz Age -- one of those seventeen is Louise Brooks. Bleitner's 176 page book will be published by Abbeville in September. A bit more information can be found HERE.

According to the publisher, "It was a time of unimagined new freedoms. From the cafés of Paris to Hollywood's silver screen, women were exploring new modes of expression and new lifestyles. In countless aspects of life, they dared to challenge accepted notions of a “fairer sex,” and opened new doors for the generations to come. What’s more, they did it with joy, humor, and unapologetic charm.

Exploring the lives of seventeen artists, writers, designers, dancers, adventurers, and athletes, this splendidly illustrated book brings together dozens of photographs with an engaging text. In these pages, readers will meet such iconoclastic women as the lively satirist Dorothy Parker, the avant-garde muse and artist Kiki de Montparnasse, and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, whose stories continue to offer inspiration for our time. Women of the 1920s is a daring and stylish addition to any bookshelf of women's history."

"Experience the glamor and excitement of the Jazz Age, through the lives of the women who defined it." Among the other notable women profiles in Women of the 1920s: Style, Glamour, and the Avant-Garde are Zelda Fitzgerald, Nancy Cunard, Tamara de Lempicka, Lee Miller, Claude Cahun, Clara Bow, Anita Berber, Josephine Baker, and Elisa Schiaparelli.

Thomas Bleitner is a writer and bookseller based in Hamburg, Germany. I found the image below online, and am not sure if it is an alternative cover, or what? I am sure that I like it.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks shows in Denver, Colorado on May 9

The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks' film, Pandora's Box, will be shown at The Preservery in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, May 9th. More information about this event, as well as ticket availability, can be found HERE.

Silent Films at The Preservery: Pandora’s Box (1929) starring Louise Brooks

Thursday, May 9th, 2019
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Denver Public Library and Denver Film Society have teamed up for this silent film series hosted by The Preservery. Showtime is 7pm, but arrive early to order special appetizers, drinks and entrees inspired by the films. Louise Brooks shines in this masterpiece directed by G.W. Pabst. It’s daring and stylish and a testament to Brooks’ unique presence on film.

The Preservery
3040 Blake Street
Denver, CO 80205

Alas, the image used on the information page comes not from Pandora's Box, but from Diary of a Lost Girl.  That incorrect image is shown above. And alas again, it is a common mistake. Instead, here is an image from Pandora's Box.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tonka of the Gallows and other points of interest and revelation at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival

There are a number of really fine films being shown at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Some of them may be familiar to silent film buffs (like the Buster Keaton and Lon Chaney films), while others are likely not (Victor Fleming's Wolf Song (1929), starring Gary Cooper and Lupe Velez, or the films from Bali and Japan). For me, it's those little known gems which prove themselves a revelation. And make attending this world class festival necessary. I detailed the schedule of films in an earlier LBS blog HERE.

I haven't seen all the film which will be shown, but I have seen a handful of them. The Ukiah Daily Journal just published my article on one of the films which will be shown, Clarence Brown's The Signal Tower (1924). Louise Brooks devotees might take note that the film's two stars, Virginia Valli and Wallace Beery, also appeared in later Brooks' films. Valli appeared in Evening Clothes (1927), while Beery appeared in another "train film," Beggars of Life (1928). Both actors are pictured below in one of the film's most dramatic scenes.

The director of Beggars of Life was William Wellman. His earlier film, You Never Know Women (1926), will also be shown at the Festival. Long thought lost, this backstage story is a bravura work - and according to his son, the success of this film got Wellman assigned to direct Wings (1927), the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. I enjoyed You Never Know Women immensely. If you can't attend the Festival, be sure and track down the DVD, recently released by Kino. It is brilliant! Really brilliant stuff!

For me, the one film I saw that proved a revelation was Tonka of the Gallows (or Tonka Šibernice), from 1930. It is a Czech film which stars Ita Rina, an attractive Slovenian ingénue. This rarely seen gem -- a parable of the cruelty that comes from small-mindedness -- tells the story of a country girl who becomes a prostitute in Prague where an act of selfless generosity -- spending the night with a condemned man -- marks her as a pariah. This exceptionally filmed film also has a Louise Brooks connection. Prague-born actor Josef Rovenský, Thymian’s father in Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), plays the condemned man in Tonka of the Gallows. The SFSFF sums things up when it states "Made as sound was taking over the industry, Tonka of the Gallows is a tour-de-force of silent-era filmmaking from Czechoslovakian director Karel Anton, who here has made his best work, always tempering style to serve the larger story." Tonka of the Gallows is a moving film, one which I hope to see many times in the future.

G.W. Pabst, who directed Louise Brooks in both Diary of a Lost Girl and Pandora's Box (1929), directs another of the films to be seen at this year's festival, The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927). Set against Russia’s post-revolution civil war, the story follows Jeanne Ney (Édith Jéhanne) who flees to Paris when her diplomat father is killed after receiving a list of Bolshevik agents from the duplicitous opportunist Khalibiev (Fritz Rasp) -- a list that contains the name of Jeanne’s lover (Uno Henning)! Rasp played the villainous seducer of Thymian in Diary of a Lost Girl. He has one of the more memorable faces in early German film.


Ahead of time, I also had the chance to see the Monta Bell directed Light of Old Broadway (1925), starring Marion Davies, as well as Brownie's Little Venus (1921), starring Baby Peggy, but found both not as enjoyable as I have other films starring either Davies or the diminutive Baby Peggy. King Baggot's The Home Maker (1925), starring Alice Joyce, was interesting from a sociological point-of-view. It tells the story of a frustrated housewife who must go to work when her less than successful husband is disabled. She is a success, and the tables are turned.

One other film which I enjoyed a great deal and which also proved to be something of a revelation was the John Stahl directed Husbands and Lovers (1924). Lewis Stone is the not-so-doting husband to Florence Vidor’s devoted wife in this splendidly nuanced, briskly directed comedy that features the quintessentially caddish Lew Cody as the other man. For me, Vidor's performance was an eye-opener. She is appealing and has a manner that draws one into her character. I certainly want to see more of her films.

I am looking forward to this year's Festival, which starts later today. I am also looking forward to seeing some films for the first time -- like the Italian diva vehicle Rapsodia Satanica (1917), and the first ever Italian feature, L'Inferno (1911). And though I have seen it before, once a number of years ago after meeting Fay Wray, I am also excited to see the Paramount restoration of Erich von Stroheim's The Wedding March (1928), starring Fay Wray; this special presentation will be introduced by Wray's daughter, Victoria Riskin.

And there's also Ernst Lubitsch's The Oyster Princess (1919), starring Ossi Oswaldo, and another early German film, Opium (1919), starring Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt, and Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933), which the Village Voice described as “A knockout. Shimizu’s stunning tale of passion, crime, and decadence [is an] exhilarating triumph of ... experimental style [and] also a precious portrait of the great port city of Yokohama.” And there's . . . . .

For those interested, I will be signing copies of Louise Brooks the Persistent Star following the Saturday, 10:00 am showing of the Marion Davies film, The Lights of Old Broadway. My book signing is expected to start around 11:15 am.More information HERE.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Today: Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box screens on Isle of Wight / Love Em and Leave Em in Japan

Later today, the sensational 1929 Louise Brooks' film Pandora's Box will be shown on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England. This 7:45 pm screening will take place at the at the Ryde Academy, Pell Lane PO33 3LN. More information about this event may be found HERE.

Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Pandora's Box was released in 1929. It features Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Carl Goetz, Krafft-Raschig, Alice Roberts, and Daisy D'Ora.

Running time: 105 minutes. Category: PG

Dr Ludwig Schön (Fritz Kortner) keeps Lulu (Louise Brooks) as his mistress, but does not like it when the worm turns. Lulu faces injustice when fear of damage to his reputation gets in the way of Ludwig doing right by her. Unsurprisingly, Ludwig is already engaged to be married to Charlotte (Daisy D'Ora), a woman of his own social class. But Lulu relishes life, a survivor in a failing, repressive society, while those around her are victim to their own delusions and fixations.

Ryde Film Club's monthly screenings are now at Ryde Academy, Pell Lane PO33 3LN. Ample parking and disabled access. Admission: £5 for RFC members, £7 guests.

Pandora's Box is going through a major revival in the UK. The previous day, the acclaimed film was shown in a medieval church in York, England. Read about that event HERE. Want to learn more about Louise Brooks and her role as Lulu in Pandora's Box? Visit the Louise Brooks Society website as well as its Pandora's Box filmography page.


I just found out that the 1926 Louise Brooks film, Love Em and Leave Em will be showing in Japan later today. Here are the details:

【SILENT FILM PIANO LIVE】 Love’em and Leave’em (1926) 《Date & Time》 April, 29, 2019, 3:00pm 《Location》 Planet+1 (Nakazaki2-3-12, Kita-Ku, Osaka) 《Live Music performed by》 Ryo Torikai(Piano) 《Fee》 ¥1500 (student/¥1300, under20/¥800)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Today: Louise Brooks' in Beggars of Life screens in Greeley, Colorado

Later today, the sensational 1928 Louise Brooks' film Beggars of Life will be shown in Greeley, Colorado with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (pictured below). This 2 pm screening will take place at the Hensel Phelps Theatre - 701 10th Ave, Greeley, CO 80631. More information about this event may be found HERE.

In this gripping film set in American hobo subculture, Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen take to riding the rails to escape a manslaughter charge. Pre-depression America is shown as a place of formless threats and constant danger. Long unavailable, Beggars of Life was recently restored by the George Eastman Museum, and is now widely regarded as Louise Brooks’ finest American film.

This silent film will be accompanied by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Based in Louisville, Colorado, this quintet has become famous for its sensitive and powerful resurrection of the lost repertoire played by silent film orchestras. Through live appearances throughout America and dozens of recordings, the Mont Alto orchestra shows that the golden age of Hollywood music actually came before “talkies.” Mont Alto will be performing the score that they were commissioned to record for the recent Blu-ray release of this film on the Kino-Lorber label.

“…in “Beggars of Life,” Rodney Sauer and company are once again authoritative and expressively pitch-perfect. But the players are not there to lead, distract or showboat, but to underscore, strictly in partnership with the film.” — Bright Lights Film Journal.

Want to learn more about Louise Brooks and Beggars of Life? My book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, as well as the DVD / Blu-ray of the film from Kino Lorber, are the perfect compliment to one another. And what's more, the DVD, featuring the best copy of the film available anywhere as well as the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra score, also includes an informative commentary by your's truly!

My 106-page book on Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. Based on Jim Tully’s bestselling book of hobo life—and filmed by Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar), Beggars of Life is a riveting drama about an orphan girl (played by Louise Brooks) who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. She meets a boy tramp (leading man Richard Arlen), and together they ride the rails through a dangerous hobo underground ruled over by Oklahoma Red (future Oscar winner Wallace Beery). Beggars of Life showcases Brooks in her best American silent—a film the Cleveland Plain Dealer described as “a raw, sometimes bleeding slice of life.” This first ever study of Beggars of Life includes more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by actor and author William Wellman, Jr. (the director's son).

If you haven't secured a copy of either the book or the DVD / Blu-ray, why not do so today? Each is an essential addition to your Louise Brooks collection. And what's more, my book is available around the world on Amazon.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Louise Brooks related booksigning one week from today

In case anyone is interested, I will be signing copies of my recent book, Louise Brooks the Persistent Star, one week from today at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, as part of the 24th annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Follow THIS LINK for more information about this special event. Or, check out this earlier Louise Brooks Society blog.

I will be signing copies of Louise Brooks the Persistent Star following the 10:00 am showing of the Marion Davies film, The Lights of Old Broadway. The book signing is expected to start around 11:15 am. I will also have a few copies of two of my earlier books, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film (with a forward by William Wellman Jr, who will also be at the festival, see below), and Now We're in the Air: A Companion to the Once Lost Film (with a foreword by film preservationist Rob Byrne, who will also be at the Festival).

Here is the line-up of signings: 2019 Books and Authors

Thursday May 2

Douglas Fairbanks: The Fourth Musketeer edited by Kelley Smoot
Approximately 2:20 pm following Wolf Song

Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master by Gwenda Young (with a forward by Kevin Brownlow)
Approximately 8:30 pm following The Signal Tower

Friday May 3

Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel by William Wellman, Jr.
Approximately 11:20 am following You Never Know Women

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays & Hollywoodland by Mary Mallory & Karie Bible
Approximately 1:30 pm following Tonka of the Gallows
Looking for Garbo by Jon Miller
Approximately 6:15 pm following Rapsodia Satanica

Saturday May 4

Louise Brooks: The Persistent Star by Thomas Gladysz
Approximately 11:15 am following The Lights of Old Broadway

Joe McBride (several books Searching for John Ford, How Did Lubitsch Do It?)
Approximately 1:15 pm following Hell Bent

JC Garrett’s Poster
Approximately 3:40 pm following Goona Goona

Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin
Approximately 8:35 pm following The Wedding March

Sunday May 5

Wayne Shellabarger’s Poster
Approximately 6:55 until start of Our Hospitality

Friday, April 26, 2019

Another Review Round-up: the Louise Brooks inspired film, 'The Chaperone'

As The Chaperone continues to open around the United States, reviews continue to trickle in. The Chaperone has also opened in Australia, and star Elizabeth McGovern was on-hand to introduces the film. An earlier LBS blog on the Australian opening can be found HERE.

 via Facebook
Today, the films opens in Ann Arbor, Michigan where it will show at the historic Michigan Theater. I wrote an article to mark the occasion. My piece, titled "Louise Brooks Returns to Ann Arbor," looks at the shared history of the actress and the well known Midwest college town. The piece appears in the Ann Arbor Observer and can be found HERE.

I have written another similar article, "The Chaperone marks Louise Brooks return to Berkeley," which has yet to appear. Like my previous piece, it too looks at the shared history of another well known college town, which is far more extensive than most realize. (Louise Brooks made a film in Berkeley!) I expect my article will appear in a Bay Area publication sometime soon. And, I will update this blog post when it does.

If you haven't already done so, please check out my full review of The Chaperone, which is titled "Never the Victim: Louise Brooks and The Chaperone." It was published by Film International. [It was pointed out that my piece contains an error, the fact that actress Julia Roberts is not from Kansas, but from Georgia.]

via Facebook
For a hyperlinked list of some of the earlier reviews and articles, please check out this earlier LBS blog HERE. Otherwise, here are a few more of the interesting reviews and articles so far. I will start with a couple pieces from college towns.

The Chaperone Should’ve Left Its Bland Story In the Past
by Hope Y. Kudo / Harvard Crimson

The Chaperone is tepid, vaguely charming period piece from Downton Abbey creator
by Camryn Bell / Daily Californian

Movie based on Lawrence author’s best-selling novel The Chaperone will have sneak preview at Liberty Hall
by Kathy Hanks / Lawrence Journal World

Lawrence author’s tale of famous Kansan is now a movie, with Downton Abbey pedigree
by Jon Niccum / Kansas City Star
Actress captures allure of Louise Brooks: Haley Lu Richardson dominates The Chaperone as future cult figure
by Tim Miller / Cape Cod Times

The Chaperone review: Youth takes on experience in portrait of two ladies
by Paul Byrnes / The Age

Why Elizabeth McGovern Found Louise Brooks And Her Chaperone So Alluring
by Jeryl Brunner / Forbes

Increasingly, more and more pieces are expressing their frustration that The Chaperone is not a full fledged Louise Brooks bio-pic (which it was never intended to be), and that such a film has yet to be made. IMHO: Haley Lu Richardson deserves an #Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her role as Louise Brooks in #TheChaperone.

via Facebook
The film is in limited release - so you will need to check the website for locations where it is showing. So far, it is not listed as showing in Wichita, Kansas, which is more than a little bit strange. It is not listed as opening in the town where I live - Sacramento, California. Despite the tepid reviews, go see it if you can. Haley Lu Richardson is terrific. I like The Chaperone and think most fans of Louise Brooks will as well.

via Facebook

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Louise Brooks spin on Kevin Brownlow Thinking a Treasure Trove of ‘Lost’ Silent Films Is Collecting Dust in Cuba

A few days ago, IndieWire ran a must-read interview piece on Kevin Brownlow, the renowned film historian and Oscar honoree. The piece is titled "Kevin Brownlow Thinks a Treasure Trove of ‘Lost’ Silent Films Is Collecting Dust in Cuba." Before you read any further, and if you haven't already done so, go back and read that article, which can be found HERE.

The piece notes, "Brownlow isn’t content to just be honored for his own past work — he wants the work to continue, freely offering up advice about how future milestones in film preservation might be achieved. And where 'lost' silent masterpieces might yet be found. . . . 'I remember a Cuban refugee meeting me in London and saying all the films you’re looking for are in the Cuban archive,' Brownlow said, referring to Havana’s Cinemateca de Cuba, which is in possession of some 80,000 reels of historic films, including early American silent films."

American silent films were especially popular in Cuba — as much as any Latin American country, and more than most all Caribbean countries. That popularity may be explained by Cuba's proximity to the United States, as well as a shared culture and history. Louise Brooks herself visited Cuba in 1928.

My forthcoming book, Around the World with Louise Brooks, contains a number of Cuban advertisements and articles related to Louise Brooks. Here are just a few which evidence Brooks' popularity on the Spanish-speaking island nation.

“The Princess of the Cinema: Luisa Brooks” appeared in the November, 1928 issue of Carteles, a general interest magazine from Havana, Cuba. This marked one of a number of appearances by Brooks in this and other Cuban magazines.

Take a look at this page from a 1927 Cuban newspaper. Along with a big piece on La Venus Americana (the lost 1926 Brooks' film, The American Venus), there are also pieces on a Betty Compson film and King Vidor's The Big Parade. American films were a big draw in Cuba. And so were European films like Pandora's Box.

In the IndieWire piece, Kevin Brownlow makes the point that films made in one country were often given different titles when shown in other countries, especially those nations where a different language was used. This rare advertisement for the "sensational" German film Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) shows that it was given an alternative title, Lulu la Pecadora, which translates as Lulu the Sinner!

Hopefully, if Trump doesn't further handicap our relations with Cuba (he's already hit a foul ball over baseball), American film scholars might be able to visit Havana’s Cinemateca de Cuba and perhaps find one of Brooks' lost American silents. I, for one, would be happy to see La Venus Americana (The American Venus), Un Figaro de Sociedad (A Social Celebrity), or Medias Enrolladas (Rolled Stockings).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review Round-up: the Louise Brooks inspired film, The Chaperone

Among the Louise Brooks and silent film communities, there has long been interest in the just released film, The Chaperone. Based on the 2012 novel by Laura Moriarty and released by PBS Masterpiece, the film tells the story of the summer of 1922 when the teenage Brooks (played by Haley Lu Richardson) travels to New York City in the company of a chaperone (played by Elizabeth McGovern).

Courtesy PBS Distribution
Over the last year, but especially within the last few weeks, I have posted a number of pieces about the film on this blog. I have also just written my own review, a longer piece which I originally titled  "Louise Brooks, The Chaperone, and the shaping of a legend." My review, which is now titled "Never the Victim: Louise Brooks and The Chaperone," was published by Film International. Please give it a read and let me know what you think. [It was pointed out that my piece contains a factual error, the fact that actress Julia Roberts is not from Kansas, but from Georgia. Mea culpa.]

Courtesy PBS Distribution
With it's Downton Abbey lineage, there were high expectations around the The Chaperone. Unfortunately, those expectations are falling short. Many of the dozens of reviews only give the film a middling review, pointing out its good and not-so-good points. Many of them make similar points. Nearly all of them discuss Louise Brooks. Here is a short list of the interesting reviews and article so-far.

"Haley Lu Richardson on The Chaperone, the Real Louise Brooks, & Getting a Chance to Dance"
by Christina Radish / The Collider 

"Elizabeth McGovern on The Chaperone and women finding happiness on their own terms"
by Maureen Lee Lenker / Entertainment Weekly

"Lawrence author’s tale of famous Kansan is now a movie, with Downton Abbey pedigree"
by Jon Niccum / Kansas City Star

"The Chaperone Is a Sublime Account of Flapper Icon Louise Brooks’ Early Life"
by Rex Reed / New York Observer 
"The Chaperone introduces a wild young star, then looks elsewhere"
by Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun Times

"Review: Shades of Downton Abbey color The Chaperone"
By Kenneth Turan / Los Angeles Times

"Enjoy The Chaperone for its strong female leads, but don’t expect it to roar"
by Pat Padua / Washington Post 

"Film Review: The Chaperone - Haley Lu Richardson has the sensual vibrance to play silent screen legend Louise Brooks, but this tale of her first New York visit is a staid tug-of-war"
by Owen Gleiberman / Variety

"With The Chaperone, three Downton Abbey veterans reunite. And, boy, is it ever boring"
by Bill Goodykoontz / Arizona Republic

"Downton Flabby: Period Piece The Chaperone Is A Let-Down"
by Mark Jenkins / National Public Radio

A number of the reviews repeat familiar and not always true notions about Brooks (suggesting she was the It girl, and not Clara Bow), while others get their facts wrong. One review called Elizabeth McGovern by the name Maureen McGovern - of "Morning After" fame. Others confused Wichita, Kansas with Topeka and Cherryvale.

There are more reviews which a Google news search will turn-up. Increasingly, reviewers are turning away from describing The Chaperone as the story of a woman on the road to find out (a story of discovery), to it being about Louise Brooks, which it isn't intended to be but kind of becomes. None, so far, have noticed the historical inaccuracies in the film.

Courtesy PBS Distribution
If you are a Louise Brooks fan and this blog post dampens your interest in seeing the film, don't let it. Go see it if you can. I like it, all-in-all. And I think most fans of Louise Brooks will as well.

The film is in limited release - so you will need to check the website for locations where it is showing. Strangely, so far, it is not listed as showing in Wichita, Kansas. Though, it is set to open in Rochester, New York on April 19. It is not listed as opening in the town where I live - Sacramento, California.

Courtesy PBS Distribution

Monday, April 15, 2019

RadioLulu back on Tune-In with Louise Brooks & silent film inspired music

Good news! RadioLulu is back on Tune-in with Louise Brooks & silent film inspired music. That's means you can listen to this Louise Brooks Society streaming station across multiple devices - your computer, phone, or even your television. The Tune-In page for RadioLulu can be found at  Or, listen here and now while you read this incredibly fascinating post! To do so, simply click on the player below.

Want to learn more about RadioLulu? Visit the information page on the Louise Brooks Society website at THIS LINK.

RadioLulu is a Louise Brooks-inspired, silent film-themed internet station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today. Or in other words, RadioLulu features vintage and contemporary music related to Louise Brooks as well as the silent and early sound eras. Launched in 2002, this unique station features vintage music from five of Brooks’ films....  and so much more.

If you love the films of the silent era, tune into RadioLulu. Among the film stars and Jazz Age personalities heard on the station are

Dorothy Mackaill ~ Helen Morgan ~ Libby Holman ~ Lee Wiley ~ Annette Hanshaw
Paul Whiteman ~ Theda Bara ~ Charlie Chaplin ~ Clara Bow
Fanny Brice ~ Ethel Shutta ~ Rudolph Valentino ~ Marilyn Miller ~ Rudy Vallee
Leon Errol ~ Ramon Novarro ~ Dolores Del Rio ~ Adolphe Menjou 
Al Jolson ~ Lupe Velez ~Noah Beery ~ Lawrence Gray ~ Marlene Dietrich
Conrad Nagel ~ Blanche Ring ~ Janet Gaynor ~ Charles Farrell
Ruth Etting ~ Victor McLaglen ~ Lillian Harvey ~ Pola Negri ~ Blanche Sweet
Harry Richman ~ Brigitte Helm ~ Helen Kane ~ Buster Keaton
Anny Ondra ~ Buddy Rogers ~ Betty Compson ~ Bebe Daniels ~ Ben Lyon
Maurice Chevalier ~ Josephine Baker ~ Kiki de Montparnasse ~ Frank Fay
Norma Talmadge ~ Gilbert Roland ~ James Hall ~ Joan Bennett ~ Jimmie Fidler
W.C. Fields ~ Claudette Colbert ~ Gloria Swanson ~ Joan Crawford 
Alice Faye  ~ Jean Harlow ~ Joan Blondell ~ Russ Columbo ~ James Cagney

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks screens in Brooklyn today

The folks at the Brooklyn Public Library love Louise Brooks and silent film. They have shown Brooks' films a number of times. On Sunday April 14, the library is presenting a matinee screening of Diary of a Lost Girl, the once controversial Brooks' film from 1929. For those just discovering Brooks through her portrayal in the new PBS Masterpiece film, The Chaperone, here's a great opportunity to one of her great films. More information may be found HERE

Sunday, April 14, 2019   12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Central Library, Dweck Center 

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (1929) 112 minutes

Kansas-born Louise Brooks traveled to Germany to collaborate with director Georg Wilhelm Pabst on two movies, Pandora’s Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), which is based on Margarete Böhme’s controversial and best-selling novel. She plays Thymian, the teenage daughter of a middle-class pharmacist, whose swift fall and slow rise begins after she is molested by her father’s assistant, becomes pregnant, is sent to a reform-school, and escapes to find refuge in a brothel in this tragic look at self-righteous bourgeois-hypocrisy, and the price of sexual-freedom, in a male-privileged culture and society.

Directed by G.W. Pabst.
Image courtesy of Kino Lorber, Inc.

Live Piano Accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. Hosted & Curated by Ken Gordon.

All movie start times are 12:00 Noon. Central Library does not open until 1 pm, but patrons attending film screenings may enter the Dweck Center beginning at 11:45 am through the side entrance on Eastern Parkway. Introductions begin promptly at 12:00 Noon. 

Children under the age of six will not be admitted to these shows. Silent Movie Matinee is supported by Los Blancos.

Want to Learn more about Louise Brooks and Diary of a Lost Girl? Check out the Louise Brooks Society website and its Diary of a Lost Girl filmography page.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Charles Van Doren, quiz shows, Louise Brooks, and beauty as fire

Yesterday, obituaries ran in newspapers across the country announcing the death of Charles Van Doren, the "quiz show wiz who wasn't."

Back in the late 1950s, at the height of the popularity of television quiz shows, the distinguished and obviously intelligent Van Doren admitted that the programs were a hoax, that he had been coached and given answers, and the program outcome fixed. It was a major scandal, and even involved a Congressional investigation. Read the New York Times obituary of Charles Van Doren HERE. (Van Doren's role in the quiz show scandal was later turned into the Robert Redford directed film, Quiz Show, from 1994.)

I don't know that Louise Brooks ever watched TV quiz shows (she may have, as she did like watching TV), but I mention Van Doren's passing because of it's admittedly oblique connection to the actress, a connection though tenuous worthy of a quiz show question....

Back in 1929, a syndicated newspaper article noted famed literary critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Carl Van Doren declared Louise Brooks the second most beautiful woman in the world. Carl Van Doren, the brother of the future Pulitzer Prize winning critic and poet Mark Van Doren, was the uncle of Charles Van Doren.

Though this instance of the syndicated newspaper article (shown below) incorrectly pictures Brooks, the end of the article clearly identifies the actress. "Mr. Van Doren considers Hope Williams the most beautiful woman in the public eye today, with Louise Brooks, of movie fame, a close second. Mary Queen of Scots, he says, is the most beautiful woman of all time."

If you think Van Doren's choices a bit eccentric, consider his definition of beauty, which begins the article. "'Beauty' says Carl Van Doren, 'is a divine inner fire. And competition whets the flame of beauty'."

Curiously, this piece was reprinted in a Canadian newspaper as late as 1933, and without any images of either Brooks, Williams, or Mary Queen of Scots (a brunette, a blonde, and a redhead, respectively).

Who was Hope Williams? She lived from 1897 to 1990, and was a stage actress active on Broadway from 1927-1939. Seemingly, her only film appearance was in The Scoundrel (1935), a Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur written and directed film which marked Noel Coward's first screen appearance in a talkie. There isn't much information about her on the interweb. Nevertheless, her is her portrait.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Louise Brooks inspired film The Chaperone shows in Lawrence, Kansas on April 18th

A special preview screening of the new film, The Chaperone, based on the best-selling book by  author Laura Moriarty and adapted by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, will take place at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas on April 18th. [The film opens in Lawrence the following day.]

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Lawrence author Laura Moriarty & moderator Laura Kirk. Books will be available for sale & signing. More information about the event may be found HERE.

This special event marks a return of-a-kind to Lawrence by Louise Brooks. As a member of Denishawn, Brooks danced in Lawrence on Friday, February 1, 1924 at the Bowersock Theatre, which was later renamed Liberty Hall. More background on the book and film can be heard on this Kansas Public Radio program featuring an interview with Laura Moriarty. Click on the LINK to listen.

Synopsis: Louise Brooks, the 1920s silver screen sensation who never met a rule she didn’t break, epitomized the restless, reckless spirit of the Jazz Age. But, just a few years earlier, she was a 15 year-old student in Wichita, Kansas for whom fame and fortune were only dreams. When the opportunity arises for her to go to New York to study with a leading dance troupe, her mother (Victoria Hill) insists there be a chaperone. Norma Carlisle (Elizabeth McGovern), a local society matron who never broke a rule in her life, impulsively volunteers to accompany Louise (Haley Lu Richardson) to New York for the summer.

Director: Michael Engler
Writers: Julian Fellowes (screenplay by), Laura Moriarty (based on the book by)
Stars: Haley Lu Richardson, Elizabeth McGovern, Miranda Otto
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Running Time: 1h, 43min
Doors open 1 hour prior to showtime.
For  more information on Liberty Hall, visit

Liberty Hall (then the Bowersock Theatre) as it looked around the time Louise Brook danced there as a
member of the Denishawn dance Company

Liberty Hall in 1925, which was then showing the Colleen Moore film, The Perfect Flapper

Liberty Hall today, which will host the first Kansas screening of The Chaperone
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