Sunday, November 29, 2020

Louise Brooks books for sale - limited time / limited availability

Looking for something good to read? In search of that special gift for the Louise Brooks or silent film fan on your holiday shopping list?

The Louise Brooks Society is pleased to let everyone know that for a limited time (through December 10) each of the following titles are available at a special sale price. And what's more, the LBS will ship the book for free within the United States. Send an order via email to silentfilmbuff AT gmail.com. The LBS accepts major credit cards through its safe and secure PayPal account. Want a special inscription? Send a note along with your order, and we'll be happy to oblige.  


Louise Brooks, the Persistent Star (softcover 1st edition)
by Thomas Gladysz
-- This 296 page book brings together 15 years work by the Director of the Louise Brooks Society. Gathered here are the author's best articles, essays, reviews and blogs about the silent film star and her films: Beggars of Life, Pandora’s Box, and Diary of a Lost Girl are discussed, as are many other little known aspects of Brooks’ legendary career. With dozens of illustrations, many rare.  AUTOGRAPHED by the author.

Sale price $20.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

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Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film (softcover 1st edition)
by Thomas Gladysz
-- This first ever study of Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by William Wellman, Jr. A must have addition to your library, and an essential companion to the KinoLorber DVD/Blu-ray. AUTOGRAPHED by the author. 


Regular price $10.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film (softcover 1st edition)
by Thomas Gladysz
-- This first ever study of Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by William Wellman, Jr. A must have addition to your library, and an essential companion to the KinoLorber DVD/Blu-ray. AUTOGRAPHED by the author AND BY WILLIAM WELLMAN JR. (Limited availability, act now.)

Special price, $75.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)
With the Kino DVD of the film, featuring audio commentaries by Thomas Gladysz and William Wellman Jr., only 1 available (not autographed)
OR
With the Kino Blue-ray of the film, featuring audio commentaries by Thomas Gladysz and William Wellman Jr., only 1 available (not autographed)

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Now We're in the Air (softcover 1st edition)
by Thomas Gladysz
-- This companion to the once "lost" 1927 film tells the story of the film’s making, its reception, and its discovery by film preservationist Robert Byrne. With two rare fictionalizations of the movie story, more than 75 little seen images, detailed credits, trivia, and a foreword by Byrne. AUTOGRAPHED by the author. 


Regular price $15.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

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Now We're in the Air (softcover 1st edition)
by Thomas Gladysz
-- This companion to the once "lost" 1927 film tells the story of the film’s making, its reception, and its discovery by film preservationist Robert Byrne. With two rare fictionalizations of the movie story, more than 75 little seen images, detailed credits, trivia, and a foreword by Byrne. AUTOGRAPHED by the author AND BY ROBERT BYRNE. (Limited availability, limited time offer.)


Special price, $30.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)
 

Looking for more great reads and more great deals?
Check out our "Related Books for Sale" Page.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks, screens in theatre December 27

In person / in theatre screenings of films featuring Louise Brooks are few and far between these days. But happily, one of the actress' best films will be shown a month from today. 

On Sunday, December 27th, Beggars of Life (1928) starring Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen, and Wallace Beery will be shown at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre in Wilton, New Hampshire. Admission is free though a $10.00 donations are encouraged to defray expenses - this special event will feature live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis. More information may be found HERE.

The theatre description of the film reads: "Classic late silent drama starring Louise Brooks as a train-hopping hobo who dresses like a boy to survive. After escaping her violent stepfather, Nancy (Brooks) befriends kindly drifter Jim (Richard Arlen). They ride the rails together until a fateful encounter with the blustery Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery) and his rambunctious band of hoboes, leading to daring, desperate conflict on top of a moving train."


  For those thinking of attending, here are the theatre's Covid 19 rules:

    If you are coughing or have any symptoms of cold or illness, STAY HOME!
    Note the staggered start times of the movies. Plan to arrive earlier than in the past to allow for hand sanitizing and temperature checks. Social distancing must be maintained in the ticket/concession area. Showing up 5 minutes before the film starts is not a good idea!
    Temperature checks will be conducted while purchasing your ticket.
    Social Distancing is required ANYWHERE in the building. Be considerate of others, especially while in the Ticket and Concession area.
    Seating capacity is reduced and is not reserved or blocked. YOU are responsible for Social Distancing within the Theatre. Arrive early to get your spot. Be considerate of others.
    Masks/Face Coverings are required (and not provided by the theatre) when moving within the building and STRONGLY SUGGESTED while seated.
    Please wash your hands at the Hand Sanitizer Station in the Lobby.
    The theatre reserves the right to re-seat you, or ask you to leave if you are not complying with the rules, to maintain a safe experience for the other patrons.

Can't make this New Hampshire event? 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 lively Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra score, also includes an informative audio 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 purchased 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.


 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Another nifty new Louise Brooks related find #2

During this pandemic era, I continue to stay home and conduct what research I can over the internet. And recently, I came across a few items which I had never seen before. I thought I would share them with readers of this blog. Here is the second installment in a short series of new finds.

This new find has to do with Louise Brooks' return to Hollywood, following her time in Europe during which she made three films. Brooks had spent some time in New York City, but to mark her return to Hollywood proper, her old friend George Olsen threw her a party - a party to which the public was seemingly invited as this event was advertised.


Earlier in the month, newspaper across the country ran the headline that Brooks would go to work for Columbia pictures and would star in a Buck Jones' western, hence the tagline "Brilliant Columbia Star." That didn't work out right away, and it would be six years before Brooks appeared in a Buck Jones film (Empty Saddles, from Universal) or seven years in a Columbia picture  (When You're in Love, starring Grace Moore). Nevertheless, this was a chance for fans to welcome Brooksie back to Hollywood, provided they made reservations at Olsen's. 

Besides the mention of Columbia studios, the clipping shown below is also notable in that it was one of the few mentions of Pandora's Box in any Los Angeles newspaper at the time. It also incorrectly notes that Brooks had worked for UFA. She did not.

George Olsen, after whom Olsen's Culver City nightclub was named, was a popular bandleader and a prolific recording artist. He signed with the Victor label in 1924, and remained one of Victor's most popular bands until 1933. (I have a couple of CD's of his music.) Notably, one of the musicians who was a member of his band in 1930 was the singer-saxophonist Fred MacMurray, who passed on his way to eventual movie and television stardom. I don't know if Olsen's band, let alone the future Double Indemnity / My Three Sons star was present at Brooks' party, but it is possible.

Olsen and Brooks likely knew each other through their time together in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1925. Sometime during Olsen's appearances with the Follies (in 1924 and 1925), he met and in 1926 married singer Ethel Shutta, a friend of Brooks who also appeared in the 1925 Follies as well as Louie the 14th. And here is where it gets interesting....


The group of dancers seen in the 1931 Brooks' film Windy Riley Goes Hollywood were recruited from the chorus of George Olsen’s Culver City nightclub. And what's more, that film starred Ethel's brother Jack Shutta, a stage performer making his screen debut in the title role of Windy Riley. Jack Shutta, by the way, was also the manager of Olsen's nightclub! 

To end this blog, here is Double Indemnity / My Three Sons star Fred MacMurray singing "I'm in the market for you" with George Olsen's jazz / dance band.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A nifty new Louise Brooks related find #1

During this pandemic era, I continue to stay home and conduct what research I can over the internet. And recently, I came across a few items which I had never seen before. I thought I would share them with readers of this blog. Here is the first installment in a short series of new finds.

This new find has to do with the time Louise Brooks and her Mother, Myra Brooks, almost crossed paths in Hollywood, of all places. The late 1920's were a busy time for both women. Louise was making films on the east coast, and beginning in 1927, in and around Los Angeles, California. Her Mother was a public speaker with engagements around the Midwest. 

On April 19, 1929, Louise departed New York City for Europe aboard the Ile-de-France. She was headed to Paris, where she was engaged to begin work on Prix de beaute. A few days earlier, Brooks' mother had arrived in Los Angeles, where she was set to give a series of "self-improvement" themed talks. Between April 15 and May 25, Myra Brooks was engaged to speak on "agelessness and the necessity and method of keeping youthful" and "What Every Woman Wants to Know" at the Studio of Philosophy in Hollywood. As with her talks elsewhere, promotional coverage sometimes mentioned that the speaker was the mother of a famous actress.

Over the years, I have uncovered a handful of articles about Myra Brooks' talks in Benton Harbor, Michigan (near Chicago), in Kansas, and as well listings for various engagements in scarce Chautauqua publications. However, this is the first time I have uncovered any documentary material related to her Hollywood engagements. Here are three advertisements for Myra Brooks' Hollywood talks.

 

I haven't been able to find anything about the Studio of Philosophy in Hollywood. Does any reader of this blog know anything more? To give some context, on the pages where the above clippings appeared there were articles and advertisements for Theosophy, Christian Science, and various Catholic and Christian movements and groups - even dieting. Today, I suppose, these self-improvement movements with a spiritual flavor might be called "pop psychology."

To me, it's interesting that both Louise and her Mother strove throughout their lives to make sense of the world. Myra seemed to do this through self-improvement and self-empowerment. Louise seemed to do this by reading, not only philosophy but also history and biography, and by writing in her journals and by writing letters. I think, Louise's writing was her way of explaining the world to herself.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Little seen Louise Brooks film The Show Off to screen in Australia

The little seen 1926 Louise Brooks film, The Show Off, will be shown in a theatre in Australia on Saturday, December 5th. This rare pandemic era screening will take place at The Majestic Theatre in
Pomona, QLD. More information about this event can be found HERE. (I have seen The Show Off a number of times, and think it is one of Brooks' better comedies, though her role is that of a supporting player.)


The Majestic Theatre is located in the heart of the Noosa Hinterland in the small historic town of Pomona, in Queensland, Australia. The Majestic Theatre is a not for profit, small community run theatre and cinema that has been in operation for almost 100 years as both a community hall and a silent film theatre. They show silent films every Saturday at 12 noon, and claim to be the "World's Longest Running Silent Film Theatre." Check their calendar for other silent film offerings, including Clara Bow's It on November 28.


The Majestic Theatre description of its upcoming Louise Brooks screening reads:  "The Show Off is a 1926 American silent film comedy produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures, based on the play of the same name by George Kelly. Directed by Mal St Clare, the film stars Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson and Louise Brooks. This film is one of two films that co-starred popular Broadway actor Gregory Kelly (first husband of Ruth Gordon who died shortly after The Show-Off wrapped production. The film was produced in Philadelphia and New York City thus becoming a sort of time capsule record of buildings long gone and neighbourhoods changed. No need to book. Tickets at the door. 12 noon to 2pm. Doors & Bar open 11.30am. $15 for adults & free for kids. Snacks & refreshments available."

Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson, Gregory Kelly, and Louise Brooks in The Show Off
 

Though released in the United States in August, 1926, The Show Off only debuted in Australia in mid-January, 1927 when it opened in Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (New South Wales), and Hobart (Tasmania). To learn more about the film, visit the Louise Brooks Society webpage on the film.

Pomona, the site of next month's screening, is about 124 kilometers from Brisbane, the capital and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland. When The Show Off first opened in Brisbane, it played briefly at the Valley Theatre as part of a double bill with Romola, starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Ronald Colman and William Powell. Ahead of its showing, the local Brisbane Truth newspaper described The Show Off as a "sparking comedy," while the Sunday Mail described it as a "interesting and humorous production."

A couple of months later, The Show Off played elsewhere in Queensland, including March and April runs in Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, and the Toowoomba region. It was described favorably, and said to be "well worth seeing." None of the Queensland articles or reviews singled out Brooks beyond mentioning her and Lois Wilson were in the cast; instead, most of the coverage was focused on comedian Ford Sterling, one of the original Keystone Cops. Below is the advertisement which ran when the film showed in Mackay.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Happy Birthday to Louise Brooks

 Happy Birthday to Louise Brooks, who was born on this day in 1906 in Cherryvale, Kansas. 

Film buffs are celebrating in Zurich, Switzerland, where a major retrospective is coming to an end. Read all about it in a big new article, "Lulu Forever: the 2020 Louise Brooks FilmPodium Retrospective (Zurich)," on FILM INTERNATIONAL. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Spend Election Night with Louise Brooks and other film stars

In 1928, the United States presidential election was held on Tuesday, November 6. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (a Republican) defeated the Democratic nominee, Governor Al Smith of New York. There was a good deal of interest in the election, even among those who went to the movies on election night. So much so, movie goers - including those who took in the recently released Louise Brooks' film, Beggars of Life - were given election returns during the show! 

For example, in Elmira, New York, two William Wellman films were showing. The Strand was showing the sound version of Beggars of Life, while the Regent was showing the road show version (with sound effects) of Wings. Both theaters were also announcing the results of the day's election.


There are many other instances of election results being announced at movie theaters around the country. For instance, Beggars of Life was also showing at the Royal in Kansas City, Missouri - and again, national and local election returns were on the bill, as seen in this small advertisement.


Beggars of Life was also showing in Dayton, Ohio on election night in 1928. The local State theater, however, choose not to announce election returns, though they did offer an extra late night 11 pm showing - perhaps as an election night distraction? However, other local venues like Loews (showing Fazil with Charles Farrell and Greta Nissen) and the Rialto (showing the sensational sex film Girls of the Underworld) did announce results, as did the Dayton theater showing the stage play Wooden Kimono.

How did they do it? How did theaters receive the latest news during the pre-television, pre-internet era? The answer can be found at the top of this Los Angeles clipping.


Monday, November 2, 2020

New Louise Brooks novel released in Switzerland

French writer Daniel Bernard emailed me to let me know about his new novel, Un dernier Charleston, Louise (One last Charleston, Louise), which has just been published in France Switzerland by Editions Lemart. Here is the front and back cover.


And here is something the author sent me about the book:

"The novel begins in 1957 at Idlewild Airport in New-York. Two women meet as they have accompanied someone to the plane going to Europe. Suddenly, they begin to talk to one another. “I’m Louise, says a brunette, the Louise Brooks!” Angela, the other woman answers: “I’m Angela, please to meet you!”

Then begins this imaginary story about the well-known star, Louise Brooks, and diverse characters: Angela, who is a German immigrant, Helmut, a former assistant to Pabst, the director of Pandora’s Box, and perhaps a lover, and a few others.

Through chapters that are written a bit like film scripts, with a lot of dialogues, we go back to 1928, as Louise was in Berlin, for the shooting of her famous one and only masterpiece, Pandora’s Box, by Pabst, to 1937, as Angela meets Leni Riefenstahl in Minister Speer’s office, in the 50’s in Paris, when Henri Langlois calls Louise back to Europe discovering the fallen and forgotten star, and many other situations.

The plot mixes true events and fully delusive moments that attempt to depict Louise’s personality, if she ever would act that way, with a tender and gentle look. Illusion, images, life, sexuality and the German period of the late 20’s, that Louise had just seen in Berlin are the background, and New York.

The novel contains a great quantity of dialogue, concerning a star of the silent movies, which is stunning. You read it as if you were a witness, hidden somewhere in the scenes surrounding the actors of he novel. At times, hints on the story of cinema art, that has changed the world until now, tells you details and/or facts that a few are aware of. In the background, a drama, well described, in a parallel montage effect, which is a justification if not an explanation of the whole plot: there is no witness of this story written by a true connoisseur."


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