Friday, February 7, 2020

Diary of a Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, screens in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The once controversial 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, will be shown in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, February 8th. My apologizes for the last minute notice, but I was just made aware of this screening. More information about the event can be found HERE.

The Kansas-born Louise Brooks plays the title role — the “lost girl” — in Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, or Diary of a Lost Girl. The film is a sensational story of a young woman who is seduced and conceives a child, only to be sent to a home for wayward women before escaping to a brothel. Beneath its melodramatic surface, the film is a pointed social critique aimed at society at large. It is notable that this film screening is co-sponsored by Tulsa Kids.

Diary of a Lost Girl is the second film Brooks made under the direction of G.W. Pabst. The first, Pandora’s Box, was also released in 1929. Like Pandora’s Box, this second collaboration was also based on a famous work of literature. Diary of a Lost Girl was based on the bestselling book of the same name by Margarete Böhme. At the time of its publication, one critic called the book “the poignant story of a great-hearted girl who kept her soul alive amidst all the mire that surrounded her poor body.” That summation applies to the film as well. And like the book, the film was the subject of attack - criticized by various groups and ultimately censored.

Though Brooks' American films were shown in Tulsa in the 1920s and 1930s, I wonder if the German-made Diary of a Lost Girl was shown there earlier  - sometime during the last few decades? (Diary was not shown anywhere in the United States until the late 1950s, and not in 1930 as the Circle Cinema website suggests. In fact, the film was first shown in New York state, and didn't debut elsewhere until the 1970s and 1980s.)

According to a notice in the Tulsa World, “The Circle’s 'Second Saturday Silents' series of monthly silent films continues with an 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, screening of this 1929 drama starring Louise Brooks. Live theater pipe organ accompaniment will be provided by the Sooner State Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society."

The Circle theater (located at 10 S Lewis Ave) bills itself as Tulsa’s Connection to Film History Experience. The Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s oldest-standing movie theatre. It originally opened in 1928 and now operates as the only nonprofit cinema in the area. As such, it celebrates creativity, the arts and filmmakers from around the corner and the world. Their regular series of silent films are shown with musical accompaniment played on a restored 1928 Robert Morton theatre pipe organ.

1 comment:

  1. A piece on this screening, “Diary of a Lost Girl explores the stigma of female sexuality," appeared in The Collegian, the student newspaper at the University of Tulsa. Please note: it contains a few errors.


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