Sunday, March 31, 2019

Silent Movie Matinee: LOUISE BROOKS: SOULS LOST and FOUND at Brooklyn Public Library on April 14

The folks at the Brooklyn Public Library love Louise Brooks and silent film. They have shown Brooks' films a number of times. Two weeks from today, 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. Also, the film is available on DVD / Blu-ray (with an audio commentary by your's truly, Thomas Gladysz). Also, back in 2010, I edited and wrote the introduction to the "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl, the sensational / controversial book on which the film was based. Both can be found on amazon.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks screens in Berlin, Babylon on April 6th

The Metropolis Orchester Berlin in Berlin, Germany will screen the sensational 1929 Louise Brooks' film Pandora's Box at the Theater im Delphi (Gustav-Adolf-Str. 2) on Saturday April 6, 2019. This special cinema concert screening will feature live musical accompaniment as well as an introduction by actress Fritzi Haberlandt, who will talk about her relationship with the role of Lulu. Here is your opportunity to see a classic silent film in the city where it was made, as well as one of the shooting locations for the popular television series Berlin Babylon. More information as well as ticket availability about this event can be found HERE.

According to the event promoters, "BABYLON BERLIN actress Fritzi Haberlandt and the Metropolis Orchestra Berlin present the cinematic masterpiece by GEORG WILHELM PABST. Immerse yourself in a typical Berlin cinema evening in the year 1929!

1929 - a legendary year: The Golden Twenties come to an end and at the same time reach their peak before the world economic crisis comes abruptly. In this last great year of German silent film, known as "The Year Babylon", the former silent movie theater Delphi is opened at the Caligariplatz. In 1929, Louise Brooks becomes the first American actress to star in a German film production: THE BOX OF PANDORA by GW Pabst. Brooks embodies the role of Lulu completely and becomes an icon.

Under the direction of Burkhard Götze, the METROPOLIS ORCHESTRA BERLIN presents the masterpiece in authentic style of a cinema concert of the time, with the great score of Peer Raaben. Original flair is provided by BOHÈME SAUVAGE. The audience is invited to dress and decorate in the style of the time. In addition, you can take time travel to the locations of BABYLON BERLIN before the cinema concert."

Partner: Bohème Sauvage, Zeitreisen, European Film Philharmonic , German Cinematheque

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.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Chaperone opens in New York City today, with special guest appearances

The Louise Brooks inspired film The Chaperone opens around New York City later today today. For more information and ticket availability, including which New York theaters the film is playing, visit and click on the "Theaters" tab.

And what's more, fans can catch Q & As with star Elizabeth McGovern and director Michael Engler at select NYC screenings of #TheChaperone today and tomorrow! If you can't make these screening, console yourself and be sure and check out this radio piece on WBUR, "From 'Downton Abbey' To 'The Chaperone': A Conversation With Julian Fellowes And Elizabeth McGovern."

A few days earlier, The Chaperone premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York - which is ironic since the former curator of film at NY MOMA once told Brooks in the 1940s that Pandora's Box had little value, and wouldn't add it to the Museum's film collection. More on The Chaperone's star studded premiere can be found on the Daily Mail website HERE and HERE.

The Chaperone is based on Laura Moriarty's best-selling novel of the same name. It was adapted for the screen by Downton Abbey creator and writer Julian Fellowes and directed by Michael Engler, who also directed the new Downton Abbey movie.

The film tells the story of the teenage dancer and future film star Louise Brooks, played by Haley Lu Richardson, who moves from Wichita, Kansas to study dance in New York City at the famed Denishawn school under the tutelage of Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Brooks is accompanied by a respectable society lady from her hometown, played by Elizabeth McGovern, who finds her life transformed by the experience. Both on a quest.

If you like all the red carpet fashion shots in the Daily Mail stories, then you will certainly want to check out  this story from Beyond Fashion Magazine, "Candice Donnelly Talks Designing Costumes for the PBS Masterpiece Premiere Feature Film The Chaperone."

Photo by Barry Wetcher  Courtesy of PBS Distribution
Photo by Barry Wetcher  Courtesy of PBS Distribution
Photo by Barry Wetcher  Courtesy of PBS Distribution

And for good measure one more time (in case you haven't seen it), here is the official PBS trailer to the film, which gives a good sense of the film's attention to historical detail, both in terms of clothing and fashion and interior settings. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pandora's Box starring Louise Brooks screens in York, England on April 28

The National Centre for Early Music in conjunction with the Yorkshire Film Archive in York, England will screen the sensational 1929 Louise Brooks' film Pandora's Box on Sunday April 28, 2019 at 7.30 pm. This special screening will feature live musical accompaniment by Live music by Liz Hanks on cello and Jonny Best on piano. Here's your opportunity to see a classic silent film inside the confines of a medieval church. More information as well as ticket availability about this event can be found HERE.

Sunday 28 April 7.30pm - Pandora's Box
£14.00 (concessions £12.00 | full time students £5.00) including 1920s themed cocktails

GW Pabst | 1929 | Germany 136" + interval | cert PG
Live music by Liz Hanks cello and Jonny Best piano

One of the great silent films, renowned for its sensational story-line, sparkling Weimar period setting and the iconic star Louise Brooks as Lulu, a spirited but innocent showgirl whose sexual magnetism wreaks havoc on the lives of men and women alike. Controversial in its day, then underappreciated for decades, Pandora's Box now stands as an incredibly modern movie and few stars of any era dazzle as brightly as Louise Brooks.

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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Beggars of Life starring Louise Brooks presented by New York Theater Organ Society on April 27

One month from today, the sensational 1928 Louise Brooks' film Beggars of Life will be shown at Chaminade High School on Long Island. Bernie Anderson Jr. will accompany this silent film on the 3/15 Wurlitzer, Morton, & Austin Hybrid (pictured below). More information to this special event can be found HERE.

And here is a snapshot of just one of the many people expected to attend this first ever showing of Beggars of Life at this New York high school.

Want to learn more about Louise Brooks and Beggars of Life? 2017 saw the release of my well reviewed new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, as well as the release of a new DVD / Blu-ray of the film from Kino Lorber. The DVD, featuring the best copy of the film available anywhere, 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 (but not the DVD) is available around the world on Amazon.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The line-up of films for the 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival was recently announced. And it looks great. This year's festival, the 24th annual event, celebrates 24 years of live-cinema, presenting silent-era films with live musical accompaniment at San Francisco’s historic (silent-era) Castro Theatre. This year, the festival features five full days of dazzling silent-era movies set to extraordinary music by a diverse group of forty musicians from around the world! This year's festival will take place May 1–5. More information may be found HERE.

This year’s program features a number of new film restorations, including one by the SFSFF in partnership with Kevin Brownlow's Photoplay Productions, Clarence Brown’s The Signal Tower (1924). Films from ten countries will be represented, including films from Bali, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the USSR.

On opening night, Wednesday, May 1, there will be a screening of the new restoration of Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman. This exquisite 4k digital restoration was undertaken by The Criterion Collection, Warner Bros., and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, and will have its world premiere at SFSFF. Accompanying the film will be composer Timothy Brock, who will conduct his original score performed by an orchestra composed of students of the SF Conservatory of Music. [I interviewed Brock for this year's program booklet.]

Other highlights include a new preservation print of Goona Goona, a film made entirely in Bali with an all-Balinese cast which will be accompanied by Club Foot Gamelan (comprised of Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya players); The Home Maker to be introduced by Oscar-honoree Kevin Brownlow and accompanied by Stephen Horne; the first Italian feature L’Inferno (1911), which will be accompanied by the Matti Bye Ensemble with intertitle narration by actor and Louise Brooks-fan Paul McGann (Withnail and I, Doctor Who); a beautiful new 4k print of Erich von Stroheim’s The Wedding March with its original Technicolor sequence, to be accompanied by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; and the closing night’s presentation of another Buster Keaton masterpiece in a brand new restoration, Our Hospitality, also accompanied by Mont Alto.

Fans of Louise Brooks will be interested to note the various intersections between this year's Festival and Brooks' film career: directors William A. Wellman (Beggars of Life) and G.W. Pabst (Pandora's Box, Diary of a Lost Girl) are represented, while appearing on screen in various films are Fritz Rasp, Josef Rovensky, and Werner Krauss (Diary of a Lost Girl) as well as Wallace Beery (Now We're in the Air, Beggars of Life), Virginia Valli (Evening Clothes), and El Brendel (Rolled Stockings - which was filmed in nearby Berkeley).

I hope to be signing books on Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, here is the complete line-up of films. 


Special Afternoon Presentation at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley / Presented in partnership with BAMPFA An Illustrated Lecture with Gian Luca Farinelli, director of the Cineteca di Bologna
3:00 pm / Tickets and more information:
Over a century ago, a few years after the birth of the Italian nation and the birth of the new art form of cinema, early camera operators were alert to the potential of documenting the beautiful new country for the international cinema-going market and burgeoning tourist industry. Filmmakers from Germany and France flooded in to join Italian cineastes in documenting the landscapes and customs of far-flung Italian locales from Sicily to Venice. The Cineteca di Bologna has preserved a collection of these travelogues, shot between 1905 and 1914, and the Cineteca’s director Gian Luca Farinelli will present a selection of the most fascinating, providing context for the exquisite images. This early 20th-century grand tour will wend from Sicily through Amalfi, Rome, Bologna, and Milan before ending in Venice.  Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

7:00 pm  $24/$22 Opening Night Presentation
Directed by Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton | US, 1928  | 72 m.
With Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin
Buster Keaton’s tintype photographer falls for MGM office gal Marceline Day and tries to impress her by becoming a newsreel cameraman. His efforts take him from Yankee Stadium to the middle of a Chinatown tong war. Sublimely romantic, hilariously funny, and now in a beautiful 4K restoration! Musical accompaniment by Timothy Brock conducting his original score performed by an orchestra composed of students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Our Amazing Tales program started life in 2006 to highlight the importance of film preservation and to provide insight into the remarkable work done by film archives around the world. Since then it has become one of the most highly anticipated programs in the festival. And it's free! This year's presenters: Restorer ROBERT BYRNE and researcher THIERRY LECOINTE will share cinematic wonders they’ve discovered in fin de siècle novelty flipbooks. STEFAN DRÖSSLER, head of Filmmuseum München, discusses the restoration of Robert Reinert’s Opium and Germany’s flourishing national cinema at the end of WWI. HISASHI OKAJIMA, director of the National Film Archive of Japan, demonstrates the Mina Talkie Sound System used for Kenji Mizoguchi’s Furusato. BRUCE GOLDSTEIN, director of repertory programming at New York’s Film Forum and founder of Rialto Pictures, illustrates how “Silents Got No Respect” the minute talkies came in. Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

1:15 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Victor Fleming | US, 1929 | 65m.
With Gary Cooper, Lupe Velez, Louis Wolheim, Constantine Romanoff
Sam Lash (Gary Cooper) is torn between the call of the wild and his love for Lola (Lupe Velez), the beautiful daughter of a Mexican nobleman. The electricity between Velez and Cooper resonated on screen and off, and Cooper’s nude bathing scene sealed his reputation as a matinée idol. Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli.

3:00 pm  $17/$15
Original Language Title: DIE AUSTERNPRINZESSIN
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch | Germany, 1919 | 60 m.
With Ossi Oswalda, Victor Janson, Harry Liedtke, Julius Falenstein, Max Kronert
The heiress (Ossi Oswalda) to an immense fortune cajoles her father, the Oyster King of America (Victor Janson), to find her a royal match after the daughter of the Shoe-Cream King marries a count. The Lubitsch Touch is in full force here! Musical accompaniment by Wayne Barker.

5:00 pm  $17/$15
Original Language Title: ZEMLYA
Directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko | USSR, 1930 | 79 m.
With Semen Svashenko, Stepan Shkurat, Yuliya Solntseva, Elena Maksimova
Part Three of director Dovzhenko’s “Ukraine Trilogy,” Earth is his masterpiece. The film portrays the socialist movement to collectivize agricultural lands in the late 1920s and the resistance by landowners. One of the most important Soviet films—it is beautiful, rousing, and poetic. Musical accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble.

7:00 pm  $22/$20
Directed by Clarence Brown | US, 1924 | 84 m.
With Virginia Valli, Rockliffe Fellowes, Frankie Darro, Wallace Beery
This thrilling drama, set deep in the redwood forest of Mendocino on the Fort Bragg railroad line, pits a decent family against terrifying forces—a runaway train and Wallace Beery! Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius.

9:00 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Robert Reinert | Germany, 1919 | 91 m.
With Eduard von Winterstein, Hanna Ralph, Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt
With camerawork and color tinting that mirror the hallucinatory effect of its titular drug, Opium tells a fantastical story of addiction and vengeance with more than a touch of eroticism. Musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald.


10:00 am  $15/$13
Directed by William A. Wellman | US, 1926  | 72 m.
With Florence Vidor, Lowell Sherman, Clive Brook, El Brendel
Clive Brook and Florence Vidor are part of an itinerant Russian circus troupe when she falls for a rakish dandy played by Lowell Sherman. This early film by William A. Wellman (Wings) shows his nascent mastery. Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli.

12:00 NOON  $17/$15
Original Language Title: TONKA ŠIBERNICE
Directed by Karel Anton | Czechoslovakia, 1930 | 83 m.
With Ita Rina, Vera Baranovskaya, Josef Rovensky
Tonka (Ita Rina) is 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. Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

2:15 pm  $17/$15
Directed by John M. Stahl | US, 1924 | 93 m.
With Lewis Stone, Florence Vidor, Lew Cody, Dale Fulle, Winter Hall, Edithe Yorke
Lewis Stone is the not-so-doting husband to Florence Vidor’s devoted wife in this splendidly nuanced comedy that features the quintessentially caddish Lew Cody as the other man. Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli.

5:00 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Nino Oxilia | Italy, 1917 | 43 m. (70 m. total)
With Lyda Borelli, Andrea Habay, Ugo Bazzini, Giovanni Cini
The divine Lydia Borelli is the aging Countess d’Oltrevita, who makes a Faustian bargain to regain youthful beauty. The catch: she’s forbidden to ever fall in love. This exquisitely colored film will be preceded by a sample of beautiful Kinemacolor shorts from Cineteca di Bologna’s collection, presented by Gian Luca Farinelli. Musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

7:10 pm  $22/$20
Original Language Title: DIE LIEBE DER JEANNE NEY
Directed by G.W. Pabst | Germany, 1927 | 105 m.
With Édith Jéhanne, Uno Henning, Fritz Rasp, Brigitte Helm
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)! Musical accompaniment by the Guenter Buchwald Ensemble.

9:20 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Tod Browning | US, 1928 | 65 m.
With Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan, Warner Baxter
Revenge consumes Lon Chaney’s paralyzed Phroso the Magician. He swears vengeance on the man he blames for his misfortune (Lionel Barrymore), pursuing him to Africa to extract horrifying retribution. Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius.


10:00 am  $15/$13
Directed by Monta Bell | US, 1925  | 73 m.
With Marion Davies, Conrad Nagel, Frank Currier
Marion Davies plays twins who were separated at birth. One twin (Anne) becomes part of New York society, the other a tough cookie (Fely) who grows up in an Irish slum and takes to the stage. Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli.

12:00 noon  $17/$15
Directed by John Ford | US, 1918 | 53 m. (75 m. total)
With Harry Carey, Duke Lee, Neva Gerber, Vester Pegg
John Ford’s fast-paced western uses the framing device of a writer who gets a complaint that his plots are unrealistic. In response, with a Remington illustration for inspiration, he concocts the story of a man who saves his girlfriend and than sets off across the desert on foot.  Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli  Plus: BROWNIE’S LITTLE VENUS (1921, starring Baby Peggy and Brownie the Wonder Dog, 22 m).

2:30 pm  $17/$15
Directed by André Roosevelt and Armand Denis | Bali, 1932 | 65 m.
With Wyan, Dasnee, Seronee, Ktot, Nonga, Okan, Maday, Rajah of Bali
Two men, one a prince, the other low-born, are in love with Dasnee, a lower-caste girl. The prince cannot have her, but he conspires to drug Dasnee and have his way with her while her husband (his rival) is away. Filmed entirely in Bali. Musical accompaniment by Club Foot Gamelan.

4:30 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Marcel L’Herbier | France, 1920 | 75 m.
With Jaque Catelain, Roger Karl, Marcelle Pradot, Claire Prélia, Suzanne Doris
Based on a short story by Balzac, this lyrical film is set on the rugged coast of Brittany where forces of good and evil beset a Breton fishing family.  Musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald and Frank Bockius / Intertitle narration by Paul McGann.

6:30 pm  $22/$20
Directed by Erich von Stroheim | US, 1928 | 116 m.
With Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Cesare Gravina, George Fawcett, ZaSu Pitts
Impoverished Prince Nicki (Erich von Stroheim) is in love with the innkeeper’s daughter, Fay Wray, but his parents want him to wed the wealthy ZaSu Pitts. Director von Stroheim’s affecting tale captures the Vienna of his youth. Musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

9:15 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro | Italy, 1911 | 66 m.
With Salvatore Papa, Arturo Pirovano, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Attilio Motta, Emilise Beretta
Based on Dante’s Inferno, this 1911 production is the first full-length Italian feature and it became an international blockbuster! Its depiction of the nine circles of hell is full of wildly inventive scenes that have been heightened by Cineteca di Bologna’s pristine restoration of the original tinting and toning. Musical accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble / Intertitle narration by Paul McGann.


10:00 am  $15/$13
Original Language Title: MINATO NO NIHON MUSUME
Directed by Hiroshi Shimizu | Japan, 1933  | 77 m.
With Michiko Oikawa, Yukiko Inoue, Ureo Egawa, Ranko Sawa
“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.”—Village Voice  Musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald and Sascha Jacobsen.

12:00 noon  $17/$15
Directed by King Baggot | US, 1925 | 85 m.
With Alice Joyce, Clive Brook, Billy Kent Schaeffer, George Fawcett, Virginia Boardman, Elaine Ellis
Alice Joyce and Clive Brook are a couple unsuited to traditional husband and wife roles. He’s ineffectual at work and she’s too exacting a housekeeper. And then he gets fired… Musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

2:15 pm  $17/$15
Directed by Franz Osten | India, 1928 | 106 m.
With Himansu Rai, Charu Roy, Seeta Devi, Enakshi Rama Rao
Based on Indian source material and filmed entirely in and around Jaipur, Shiraz tells the origin story of the Taj Mahal. Shiraz is the second of a trilogy by German director Franz Osten and Indian producer and star Himansu Rai that culminated in A Throw of Dice. Musical accompaniment by Utsav Lal.

5:00 pm  $17/$15
Original Language Title: HERR ARNES PENGAR
Directed by Mauritz Stiller | Sweden, 1919 | 106 m.
With Richard Lund, Erik Stocklassa, Bror Berger, Mary Johnson
Mauritz Stiller’s adaptation of Nobel-prize-winning author Selma Lagerlöf’s novel of murder and revenge is set against a harsh, icy landscape perfectly captured by Julius Jaenzon’s painterly camerawork. Musical accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble.

8:00 pm  $22/$20 Closing Night Presentation
Directed by Buster Keaton, John G. Blystone | US, 1923  | 65 m.
With Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Roberts, Francis X. Bushman Jr., Craig Ward, Joe Keaton
Down South to claim his inheritance, New Yorker Willie McKay (Buster Keaton) meets and falls for the beautiful Virginia (Natalie Talmadge). She invites him to her home for dinner, where it’s revealed that she’s the youngest of the Canfield family, the ancestral feuding enemies of the McKays. Virginia’s brothers have itchy trigger fingers but the Canfield code of hospitality dictates no killing in the house! Musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, screens at Niles Essanay Film Museum

The Niles Essanay Film Museum in Niles (Fremont), California has announced that it will be screening the 1929 Louise Brooks film, Pandora's Box, on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 PM. Gideon Freudmann will accompany the film, performing a live soundtrack using real time looping and electric cello. More information about this event may be found HERE.


According to the Niles website, Gideon composes music for classic and modern films, performs extensively, and has produced an impressive catalog of CDs and chamber string sheet music

The film museum, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, is housed in a storefront studio where Charlie Chaplin once worked; the museum last showed Pandora's Box, a Bay Area favorite, back in 2015.

In fact, one of the earlier revival showings of the film in the United States took place at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey in August, 1962 as part of Peninsula Film Seminar. That historic event was attended by many local notables, including future famed film critic Pauline Kael. 

Since then, the film has been shown in the San Francisco Bay Area numerous times. Among ts many screenings are the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Oct. 5, 1972 as part of Women's Works); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (Nov. 21, 1972); Cento Cedar Cinema in San Francisco (February 1-7, 1973 with Threepenny Opera); Surf Theater in San Francisco with The Last Laugh (Jan. 22-23, 1974 “new print”); Wheeler Auditorium in Berkeley (July 24, 1974 with Lonesome); Cento Cedar Cinema in San Francisco (Sept. 18-20, 1975 with The Blue Angel); Wheeler Auditorium in Berkeley (Nov. 9, 1975 with L’Age D’Or); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (Nov. 7, 1976); Wheeler Auditorium in Berkeley (Feb. 10, 1978 with L’Age D’Or); Sonoma Film Institute in Sonoma State University (Feb. 28, 1979 with The Blue Angel); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Jan. 20, 1980); Roxie in San Francisco with The Blue Angel (Mar. 31, 1980); Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco (April 11, 1980 with Un Chien Andalou); Castro Theater in San Francisco with A Girl in Every Port (May 2-3, 1980); Castro Theater in San Francisco with The Threepenny Opera (Aug. 28, 1980); Roxie in San Francisco with A Girl in Every Port (Feb. 17-19, 1981); Showcase Cinema in Sacramento with Foolish Wives (Mar. 3, 1981); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Mar. 7, 1981 as part of the series Organ Accompaniment By Robert Vaughn”); Rialto 4 in Berkeley with A Girl in Every Port (Feb. 12-16, 1982); Electric in San Francisco with The Blue Angel (Mar. 10-11, 1982); York Theater in San Francisco (June 22, 1982); UC Theater in Berkeley with A Girl in Every Port (Oct. 25, 1982); Darwin Theater / Sonoma Film Institute at Sonoma State University (Jan. 20, 1983); Showcase Cinema in Sacramento with M. (Feb. 1, 1983); Castro in San Francisco with Diary of a Lost Girl (Oct. 26 – Nov. 3, 1983); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Dec. 7, 1983); Santa Cruz Film Festival in Santa Cruz with A Conversation with Louise Brooks (Jan. 19, 1985); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Jan. 27-28, 1985 with M.); U.C. in Berkeley (Sept. 18, 1985); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Oct. 13, 1985 as part of the series A Tribute to Louise Brooks (1906-1985),” accompanied on piano by Jon Mirsalis); Castro in San Francisco with The Threepenny Opera (Nov. 29, 1985); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Oct. 29, 1986); San Francisco Public Library (main branch) in San Francisco (Dec. 18, 1986); Castro in San Francisco (Feb. 26, 1987 as part of “Vamps” series); U.C. in Berkeley (June 30, 1988); Castro Theater in San Francisco (Nov. 8, 1988); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Nov. 17, 1988); Red Vic in San Francisco (Feb. 13-14, 1990); Castro Theater in San Francisco (Aug. 7, 1990); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Dec. 4, 1990 as part of the series Surrealism and Cinema”); Castro Theater in San Francisco (Apr. 29, 1991); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Apr. 5, 1992 as part of the series Silent Film Classics”);  Castro in San Francisco (May 11, 1992 with Diary of a Lost Girl); Castro in San Francisco (May 5-8, 1995 accompanied by the Club Foot Orchestra, as part of the San Francisco Film Festival); Castro in San Francisco (Dec. 16-17, 1995 accompanied by the Club Foot Orchestra); Castro in San Francisco (Apr. 2, 1996 with Wings, accompanied on organ by Robert Vaughn); Towne Theatre in San Jose (June 28, 1996 accompanied on organ by Robert Vaughn); Castro in San Francisco (May 18, 1998 as part of Femme Fatale Festival); Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (May 28, 2000); Stanford in Palo Alto (Sept. 5, 2001); Jezebel’s Joint in San Francisco (Feb. 10, 2003); Castro in San Francisco (July 15, 2006 as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, with introductions by Thomas Gladysz and Bruce Conner); Rafael Film Center in San Rafael (Nov. 11, 2006 introduced by Peter Cowie); California in San Jose (Mar. 9, 2007 as part of Cinequest); Castro in San Francisco (July 14, 2112 as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival); and Stanford Theater in Palo Alto (Sept. 23, 2016).

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A few thoughts on the Louise Brooks-inspired PBS Masterpiece film, The Chaperone

I've seen The Chaperone, and I like it. It's a good film, and its heart is in the right place. I could well imagine watching it again in the future when I want a dose of Haley Lu Richardson's charm: she is the young actress who plays a young Louise Brooks. I think fans of Louise Brooks will also like it. Except for a few historical gaffs (all of which are subtle, and only one of which is a bit egregious), it is faithful to what we know about Brooks and her times. I won't say anymore about the film while I compose my thoughts for a proper review.

The Chaperone -- the first theatrical release from PBS Masterpiece -- will have only a limited theatrical release. That's unfortunate, because I think this film has the potential to help swell the ranks of Brooks' many fans. It should also draw new readers to Laura Moriarty's novel of the same name, on which the film is based.

The Chaperone opens March 29th in New York City. It opens on April 5th in Los Angeles, and then in other select cities throughout April and May. Those cities include Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon. It also opens in April in Philadelphia, a city mentioned in the film. One city also mentioned in the film where no opening date has yet been set (at least according to the film's website as of today) is Wichita, Kansas -- Brooks' hometown and the setting for some of the early and late scenes in the film. The cities and theaters where the film is set to open can be found at I encourage everyone to check whether The Chaperone is showing in a theater near them.

Much has been made about the connections between The Chaperone and Downton Abbey, the wildly popular PBS series. It's been something I've been talking about (see this 2012 Film International interview) and blogging about (see this 2013 Louise Brooks Society blog) for more than a few years. The film's website reveals even more.

The Chaperone audiobook,
read by Elizabeth McGovern
Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern is also the star of The Chaperone; she plays the title character and also produced the film. According to, "McGovern came to produce and star in an adaptation of Laura Moriarty’s acclaimed eponymous novel in an unlikely fashion—she was hired to read it aloud as an audio book." McGovern recalled, "It was the first time in my life I’ve ever had that moment where I read a book and thought to myself, ‘this would be a fantastic film.’ I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I should be on the lookout in books for great parts, but that never connected for me until I was sitting at a microphone recording an audiobook."

Eventually, McGovern approached Downton Abbey screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who had his own connection to Louise Brooks through his mother. According to, Fellowes recalled, “When my mother was a girl, she used to be mistaken for Louise Brooks, because, in those days, with silent pictures, nobody knew what their voices were like. So, the fact that my mother was English didn’t put fans of the real Louise Brooks off. After a bit, she started signing autographs as if she were Brooks." [See the previous blog for other candidates for the Louise Brooks look-alike hall of fame.]

Fellowes added, "I am very interested by Louise Brooks, who is the central character in both the book and the film. She was a silent film star and rather unusual .... She wasn’t just a kind of Hollywood cutie. She was rather more than that. So, I became very intrigued by this idea of tracing her origins."

Fellowes' efforts in tracing Brooks' origins are affecting. The Chaperone should be of interest to fans of Downton Abbey. Besides its website, there is also a Facebook page and Twitter account and Instagram account to follow the latest on this new film release.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Beatriz Costa, a striking Louise Brooks look-alike from Portugal

UPDATED: This striking Louise Brooks look-alike is Beatriz Costa. I came across this magazine page while researching my forthcoming book, Around the World with Louise Brook. The image is dated 1933. It caught my eye for reasons which may well be evident.... Unfortunately, I couldn't find out much about this Portuguese actress, except that starred in a small number of Portuguese films, including A Minha Noite de Núpcias (1931) and A Canção de Lisboa (1933). Both are referenced in the caption below the portrait. The author of the caption thinks her talent was wasted in the former film, and hopes she will shine in the latter film. Like Louise Brooks, she was, apparently, an under valued talent. Her last film appearance was in 1939, though according to IMdB, she appeared as herself in three early 1980's television shows in Portugal.

IMdB says this about her: "Beatriz Costa was born on December 14, 1907 in Charneca, Milharado, Mafra, Portugal as Maria da Conceicao Costa. She was an actress, known for Aldeia da Roupa Branca (1939), A Song of Lisbon (1933) and O Trevo de Quatro Folhas (1936). She died on April 15, 1996 in Lisbon, Portugal." Might you, dear reader, know more? Here is a clip from her best known film.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

New French comic features a Louise Brooks-inspired character

Thanks to longtime Louise Brooks Society member Vanwall Green for sharing this graphic announcing a new Italian comic featuring a Louise Brooks-inspired character. The 304 page comic, Hollywoodland, is by Michele Masiero and Roberto Baldazzini.

[The black-and-white drawing at the bottom of the graphic above resembles, methinks, Haley Lu Richardson, the young actress playing Louise Brooks in the forthcoming PBS masterpiece film, The Chaperone. What do you think?]

Roberto Baldazzini is a well know Italian comix artist. He has drawn many published works, many of which are erotic in nature. Baldazzini has also previously depicted Louise Brooks. (see below) Michele Masiero is also an Italian graphic novelist, which a number of publications to his credit.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Beggars of Life with the Dodge Brothers in Nottingham, England on March 17

Thanks to longtime Louise Brooks Society member Meredith Lawrence for letting us know about this Sunday, March 17th screening of Beggars of Life at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, England. The acclaimed 1928 silent film will be shown with live musical accompaniment by acclaimed The Dodge Brothers together with acclaimed musician Neil Brand. More information on this can be found HERE.

From the venue website:

Presented in partnership with the Royal Concert Hall

BEGGARS OF LIFE is an intense and entertaining story about oppressed and desperate people on a dangerous journey through the dark underworld of pre-depression America. Cinema icon Louise Brooks plays a girl on the lam after killing her lecherous adoptive father. Dressed in boy's clothes, she navigates through the dangerous tramp underworld with the help of a handsome drifter and encounters the hobo legend, Oklahoma Red. Loaded with stunning visuals and empathetic performances, this dark, realistic drama is Brooks' best American film and a masterpiece of late-silent era feature films. All aspects of his rollercoaster of a story are enhanced by the live soundtrack, composed and performed by skiffle/bluegrass combo The Dodge Brothers, together with silent film pianist Neil Brand.

Tickets: £15 full / £13 memb+conc

This event takes place as part of Soundstage, Nottingham's Festival of Music and the Moving Image.


Want to learn more about this acclaimed silent film, one fo the best of 1928. Check out the Beggars of Life page on the Louise Brooks Society website, or check out Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, an illustrated and informative book by Louise Brooks Society director Thomas Gladysz. The book is available at both amazon USA and amazon UK.

This first ever study of 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 (screen legend 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.” With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by the director's son, actor/author William Wellman, Jr.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lotte Eisner in Germany (1980), speaking on Louise Brooks, G.W. Pabst and others

In this short 1980 documentary by Mark Horowitz, the pioneering film archivist and historian Lotte Eisner (1896-1983), who fled Nazi Germany for Paris where she helped establish La Cinémathèque française and rescue numerous prewar films, shares anecdotes about her extraordinary life, including meetings with Louise Brooks, G.W. Pabst, Sergei Eisenstein, Bertolt Bretch and others. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Around the World with Louise Brooks - Paramount in the Middle East

A follow-up to last week's blog about how and where Paramount films were distributed, as well as Paramount's presence in the Middle East in the late 1920's and early 1930s, at the height of Louise Brooks' career.

As I also noted earlier, fourteen of the twenty-four films in Brooks' filmography were Paramount productions, which leads me to wonder if and when and where some of those fourteen films might have been shown anywhere in the Middle Eastern. Of course, much has changed since the 1920s, cities have changed names and new nations have arisen, but then - as now - major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem, Beirut, Damascus, and others all presumably had movie theaters.

According to the "List of Paramount Offices Around the World" reproduced in my March 6th post, the Italian office was responsible for distribution of Paramount films into Turkey, and the French office was responsible for distribution into Egypt, Algeria, Tunis, and Morocco. Back in the 1920s' and 1930s, film distribution and which theaters showed which films was a territorial affair, and one wouldn't - generally speaking - find an MGM or Warner Bros film playing in a Paramount house. I haven't been able to find information about how Paramount films might have found there way to those countries named above, nor have I been able to find clippings, advertisements or even reviews of any of Brooks' films in the Middle East, with only a few exceptions.

I know The Canary Murder Case was shown in Cairo, and I have found listings for most all of Brooks' Paramount films in French-controlled Algeria. All these clippings date to around the time of the film's first release. As reproduced in the March 6th post, I have also found an advertisement for Prix de beaute in Turkey in 1931. And, I have found listings for the Buck Jones western Empty Saddles (which featured Louise Brooks) showing in Jerusalem in 1937 - and the John Wayne western Overland Stage Raiders (also featuring Louise Brooks) showing in Haifa and Jerusalem in 1942, during the second World war and some four years after it was first released.

I have a feeling other of Brooks' films were shown in Arab speaking countries, either in the Middle East or North Africa - but I haven't been able to explore newspapers from those regions. What few publications I have been able to look at "operate" differently from American or European newspapers, in that their entertainment listings and coverage is sparse. Documentation is a challenge.

The in-house publication, Paramount Around the World, ran material on the film company's operations overseas. For example, there was a piece when the Paramount smash hit Beau Geste received it's first Arabic review.

Here is an interesting clipping on the distribution of Paramount films into Egypt and beyond. It notes, among other things, that there were only 30 theaters in Egypt, and only 27 in both Syria and Palestine. It also notes that those theaters ranged from movie palaces in Cairo to "desert shacks that are a long way removed from even the nickelodeon of yore." Lastly, it mentions that the exhibition of films lagged behind the United States, and that Middle eastern audience preferred outdoor action films, which likely explains why the non-Paramount productions Empty Saddles and Overland Stage Raiders were shown in Palestine.

If you are reading this post and know of instances of Louise Brooks' films being shown anywhere in Middle East or North Africa, please let me know! I would love to get clippings from Tunis or Casablanca or Cairo or Amman or Ankara. [With the use of the word legionnaire, I realize all this has the whiff of cultural imperialism about it, but nevertheless, this is interesting stuff and well worth diocumenting. I'll finish with the prerequisite picture of Louise Brooks, here dressed in vague Arabesque costume.]

Friday, March 8, 2019

Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, to show in Istanbul, Turkey on March 10

The Kundura Cinema in Istanbul, Turkey will screen the internationally acclaimed Louise Brooks' film, Pandora's Box (1929). The film, titled locally as Pandora’nın Kutusu’nun, will be shown on March 10th with live musical accompaniment by Yiğit Özatalay and Mustafa Kemal Emirel (Yürüyen Merdiven). This presentation is open to those 18 years and older. More information as well as ticket availability can be found HERE.

According to the Daily Sabah newspaper, "Kundura Cinema's most anticipated screenings with live music takes its place in the March program. Georg Wilhelm Pabst's silent film Pandora's Box, produced in 1929, focusing on a free-loving, status-climbing dancer who murders her rich paramour in Berlin, then takes up with a succession of other lovers. Pandora's Box will meet with audience in Turkey for the first time in Kundura Cinema. After many years of neglect, Deutsche Kinematek has restored the film with the supervision of Martin Koerber. The restoration is considered to be a great advertisement for what can be achieved in film industry through new digital techniques."

[UPDATE & CORRECTION: I received an email from the International Istanbul Silent Cinema event in Turkey which informed me that Pandora's Box was first screened in that country at the 3rd International Istanbul Silent Cinema Days in 2016, with the introduction by Deutsche Kinematek's director Martin Körber, who restored the film. That event took place on December 15, 2016. More information about that event can be found HERE.]

The venue puts a bit of a new twist on the film by describing it this way: "A free-loving, status-climbing dancer murders her rich paramour, then takes up with a succession of other lovers, gradually descending to the streets as a hooker. Pandora's Box is an acknowledged masterpiece and example of a 'femme fatale'."

The Kundura Cinema, housed in a former shoe and leather factory, began showing classic films late last year. The cinema is housed in the Beykoz Kundura building in an old industrial part of town that is fast becoming an artistic and cultural hub. (A film studio was also opened in the complex.) Kundura Cinema has transformed the building's boiler room, in the heart of the old factory, into a movie hall (seen below). Dating back to the 1800s, the Beykoz Kundura building was in use until the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

courtesy Kundura Sinema

According to The Guide Istanbul website, "What makes Kundura Cinema distinct from other movie theaters is its specially curated film programmes; the opening season presented a selection of old movies set in various cities. According to Yıldırım, their audience is mostly comprised of cinephiles, students, young professionals, and locals in Beykoz who enjoy some nostalgia. New and old, mainstream and independent—the selection of screenings aims to keep a diverse balance between canonical and noncanonical films from around the world."

An earlier article in the Daily Sabah newspaper noted, "The movies to be screened by Kundura Cinema in the 2018-2019 season are focused on cities. From the first modern cities to our age, from giant metropolitans to dystopian cities of the future, from New York to Paris, from Berlin to Mexico, from Tokyo to Istanbul, the selection takes viewers on a one year journey to different geographies all over the world. Continuing to look at the past, present and future from cities located all around the world, Kundura Cinema is introducing great movies, documentaries and short movies that have been prominent since the beginning of the history of cinema in an enchanting atmosphere. From fiction to experimental movies, from dramas to comedy, from film noir to science fiction, viewers will get the chance to watch movies from different genres, as well as films that have not been screened at movie halls before."

courtesy Kundura Sinema
I am not sure when Pandora's Box was first shown in Istanbul or in Turkey, but it is known that at least some of Louise Brooks films were shown back in the day. Here, for example, is a rare 1931 newspaper advertisement for the 1930 French production, Prix de beaute.

If you having similar clippings or know of other screening of Brooks films in Turkey, please let the Louise Brooks Society know. We would also love to hear from anyone who attends the Pandora's Box screening at the Kundura Sinema.

How to get there: The Kundura Sinema is located at Yalıköy Mahallesi, Süreyya İlmen Cd. No:1, 34820 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey. Phone: +90 216 323 31 30. Movie goers can use a private boat service that runs in accordance with the screening schedule and departs from İstinye to Beykoz Kundura’s port. A one-way ticket costs 5 TL. For public transportation—plus a little walk—take the Yeniköy-Beykoz or İstinye-Çubuklu ferry line. You can also catch a bus or dolmuş to Beykoz in Üsküdar and Kadıköy.

courtesy Beykoz Kundura
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