Monday, May 31, 2021

Roberto Baldazzini's Hollywoodland published in France

Roberto Baldazzini's Hollywoodland, a graphic novel originally published in Italy in 2019, has just been published in France. The cover of the new French edition is picture below. Additional information about this new edition can be found HERE

Here is the publishers description, in French: "Hollywoodland : c'était l'enseigne qui trônait, il y a cent ans, en haut des collines surplombant Los Angeles, avant que le suffixe « Land » ne disparaissent. Des années qui virent la transformation d'une ville née en plein désert dans la Mecque du cinéma. Une Babylone en carton-pâte et ses décors magnifiques où se dissimulent toute la mesquinerie dont l'homme est capable. Dans une Amérique juste sortie de la première guerre mondiale, Hollywoodland est l'histoire de deux frères on ne peut plus différents, de leurs passions et de leurs désillusions. Ils ne le savent pas encore, mais le destin a déjà écrit pour eux des paroles de mort."

And here is the publishers description in English, after being run through a translation program: "Hollywoodland: it was the sign that sat enthroned, a hundred years ago, at the top of the hills overlooking Los Angeles, before the suffix "Land" disappeared. Years that saw the transformation of a city born in the middle of the desert in the Mecca of cinema. A cardboard Babylon and its magnificent decorations which conceal all the pettiness of which man is capable. In an America just emerging from the First World War, Hollywoodland is the story of two brothers who could not be more different, their passions and their disillusions. They don't know it yet, but fate has already written words of death for them." 

Pictured above is a sample page from the book, which hopefully will be published in English someday. (Others of Roberto Baldazzini's book have been published in the United States by NBM.) I have written about the artist and his earlier Italian edition in the past. Those earlier blogs can be found HERE and HERE

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. Michele Masiero is also an Italian graphic novelist, with a number of publications to his credit.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Thanks to those who helped translate the Chinese advertisements for When You're in Love, starring Grace Moore

A BIG thank you to the Louise Brooks fans on Facebook who helped translate the two Chinese advertisements for the 1937 film, When You're in Love.

Takeo Yoshida wrote that the big five characters 葛雷絲摩亞 (read right to left) in each ad is the name of Grace Moore, the star of the film which included Louise Brooks in a uncredited bit role as a masked chorus member. She also wrote that the four large characters 鳥語花香 (read right to left) in each ad is the movie’s title. BTW, according to Google's translation app, the literarl translation of the title characters read as "Birds and Flowers".

Here is a more detailed translation of the above ad, made by Michael Harvey and his teenage students near Shanghai.

Second line: Movie released today 2:30 afternoon, 5:30 afternoon, 9:15 evening.
Third line: Columbia company best romance movie of the year.
Fourth line: female main actor
Fifth line: male main actor
6,7 and 8 line: Watching this movie during night can make you feel like it is spring. After watching the movie will make you don’t want to sleep.
Tenth line: name of the movie
Line 1: Congratulation the movie earned a lot of money.
Line2: the movie palace theater, use the ticket to go in the cinema. Watch the time
Line 3: today, 2:30 afternoon, 5:00 evening, 7:45 evening. Cost of seats: 1 cent or 2 cents
Line 4: ladies and gentlemen, go buy the ticket.
Line 5: Name of the female actor
Line 6: she sings smoothly.
Line 7, 8 and 9: Watching this movie during night can make you feel like it is spring. After watching the movie will make you don’t want to sleep
Line 10: the name of the movie
Of all of Louise Brooks films of the 1930s, When You're in Love was likely the most popular. It played to big crowds just about everywhere. Lately, I have been working on a chapter on  the film for my forthcoming book, Around the World with Louise Brooks. So far, I have gathered material from a number of countries. It also played in Japan, where this portrait was published.

Under its American title, I have documented screenings of the film in Australia (including Tasmania), Bermuda, British Malaysia (Singapore), Canada, China, Dutch Guiana (Surinam), Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine (Israel), Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, and South Africa. As well, it was once advertised in Canada as When You Are in Love. In the United States territory of Puerto Rico, the film was exhibited under the title Preludio de amor (Spanish-language press). 
The film was also shown under the title For You Alone in British Malaysia (Singapore), Ireland, and the United Kingdom (including England, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, and Scotland).
Elsewhere, When You’re in Love was shown under the title Le Cœur en fête (Algeria); Sérénade (Austria); Sérénade (Belgium); Prelúdio de Amor (Brazil); Preludio de amor (Cuba); Když vy jste v lásce (Czechoslovakia) and Ked si zalúbeny (Slovakia, unconfiirmed); Serenade (Denmark); Preludio de Amor (Dominican Republic); Ma olen armunud (Estonia); Rakastuessa (Finland); Le Cœur en fête (France); Otan i kardia ktypa (Greece); Közjáték and Preludio de Amor (Hungary); Serenade (Iceland); Amanti di domani (Italy); 間奏楽 or Kansō-raku (Japan); Wenn die Liebe erwacht (Latvia); Serenade (Luxembourg); Preludio de amor (Mexico); Le Cœur en fête (Morocco); Als je verliefd bent (The Netherlands); Forelsket (Norway); Kiedy jestes zakochana (Poland); Prelúdio de Amor (Portugal); A rioi szerenad (Romania); Preludio de amor (Spain); När man är kär (Sweden); Le Cœur en fête and Wenn Du verliebt bist (Switzerland); Bir ask macerasi and Sen aska dusunce (Turkey), and Preludio de amor (Uruguay).
When You're in Love had a rather robust exhibition history. All of the titles listed above are based on vintage advertisements or reviews. If anyone can provide any additional information on a screening of this film anytime in the first few years after its 1937 release, I would be very grateful.
Pictured here are portraits of the film's two stars, Grace Moore and Cary Grant.


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Too cool Louise Brooks swag from Germany!

Yesterday, I received one of the best packages I have ever received. It came from Benjamin Meissner, a new Facebook friend who I met online during my recent appearance on Karie Bible's Hollywood Kitchen. Benjamin was one of the viewers, a posted some comments and questions which I was happy to answer.


In our chat, Benjamin posted a picture of a Louise Brooks picture which he spotted in a hairdresser‘s shop in a city called Flensburg, near the Danish border; he also offered to send me a Louise Brooks pin and postcard, which are available in Germany. Above is a picture of the Brooks photo in a German shop window, followed by a scan of the postcard and pinback button.

I was gobsmacked. The postcard and the pinback button are both very cool! Thank you Benjamin. The postcard is made by a German publisher,Gerstenberg Verlag GmbH ( Benjamin also sent me small box set of film star postcards which feature Louise Brooks, Marlene Dietrich, and Charlie Chaplin. Picture first is the Brooks card (which came with matching gold envelopes), followed by the front and back of the postcard box set.

Thank you Benjamin Meissner, Louise Brooks and film fan extraordinaire!
Benjamin is a BIG classic Hollywood fan and president of the international Marilyn Monroe fan club "Some Like It Hot" in Germany with members all over the world.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Need help with a Chinese film title for one of Louise Brooks' last films

Can anyone who reads or writes Chinese tell me which characters represent the title of the film in the newspaper advertisement pictured below. I think I know but want to be sure. The film is When You're in Love (1937), which was sometimes shown under an alternative title as For You Alone. The film starred Grace Moore and Cary Grant, while Louise Brooks had a uncreditted bit part as a member of the masked chorus.

I assume the title of the film is the four larger bold characters at the bottom of the advertisement. Can these be rendered via Chinese keyboard? Can someone do so and send them to me or post them in the comments.

Is the text in the black box the name of the theater? What are the five larger characters beneath it? Any help would be appreciated. I assume the other text in the advertisement refers to the film and this particular showing.

Here is another newspaper advertisement for another showing of the film in China, circa 1938. I believe the film title (at the bottom of the ad) is the same, but slightly stylized.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

German-language story from 1939 references Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks remained a recognizable, if not especially popular figure in Europe for at least a few years following the release of the two films she made in Germany -- Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. Both were released in 1929, and both continued to be shown on and off around Europe for another two years. Brooks' sole French production, Prix de beaute, was released in 1930, and like the two German films, it too was shown all over Europe for another two years. (Despite speculation to the contrary, Prix de beaute enjoyed a rather robust exhibition history around the globe.) Also still in circulation in 1930 and 1931 in France and Germany and Poland and elsewhere were a few or Brooks' American films including Beggars of Life (1928) and The Canary Murder Case (1929), as well as A Girl in Every Port (1928), which enjoyed a singular vogue in Paris. In fact, A Girl in Every Port was a favorite of the intelligentsia, and Jean Paul Sartre took Simone de Beauvoir to see the film on one of their first dates.

I mention all this because I sometimes wonder about Brooks' "continuing popularity" in Europe, especially after she stepped away from her Hollywood career in 1931. Fame fades for everyone, even our beloved Louise Brooks. As I have found, and as I document in my forthcoming work, Around the World with Louise Brooks (due out later this year), the number of magazine and newspaper articles about the actress dropped off in 1932, as does the paper trail of product advertisements (notably the Lux soap ads), ephemera (postcards, product cards, etc...), and references in "Where are they now?" type articles.

And that's why I was surprised to find Brooks referenced three times in a short humorous story published in an Austrian magazine in November of 1939, two months after the beginning of the Second World War and a few years after Germany had occupied Austria. The publication where I found the reference was a weekly humor magazine titled Die Muskete, and it was published in Vienna between 1905 and 1941. According to it's German-language Wikipedia entry, "Like other humorous magazines founded at the time, Die Muskete combined the works of young local artists and draftsmen with the work of young Austrian writers. At the same time, the magazine attached great importance to the artistic design and the high quality of the content. The magazine was originally intended for officer circles and quickly gained great importance, as the aim was to make it an Austrian counterpart of Simplicissimus, which later made it more widely used and very popular. It fought against excesses in the political, bureaucratic, clerical, military and social areas. During the First World War it developed into a 'funny soldier's sheet'. In 1919 the subtitle 'Humorous Weekly' disappeared and the magazine changed from jokes to an illustrated men's magazine." 

The references to Brooks occur in a short story by Josef Robert Harrer titled "Thomas Raverley." I wasn't able to find out much about Harrer except that he was a writer of the time, mainly active during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, with a few novels and books of short fiction and poetry to his credit. Besides this story in a 1939 Austrian magazine, I also found a story of his in a 1930 Estonian publication.

I haven't translated the piece as of yet, but from best I can tell the awkward, unmarried protagonist of the piece, Thomas Raverley, meets a young women who seems to be a receptionist, or secretary. He describes her as an "adorable girl who is almost as beautiful as Louise Brooks," with the added implication that this "Brooksian girl" resembled his secret screen crush. Later, on the same page of the story (page 35, depicted below), the actress is again referenced when the feminine character is again described as "almost as beautiful as Louise Brooks." Two pages later, Thomas and the young women meet again, "A curtain is pushed aside and the girl, who looks like Louise Brooks, approaches Thomas with a smile."
I don't yet know what the author meant by evoking Brooks' name, but I would guess that it has something to do with her type - i.e. a flapper or neue frau, as another once popular American actress is also mentioned later in the story, "the sweet Clara Bow."  Perhaps, even at this late date, Brooks still served as someone one could reference in a story. [Obviously, though, the drawings which accompany the story look nothing like Brooks, especially in regards to her hair.]



American actress Alice Faye appeared on the cover of this issue, notably. And also referenced on the last page of this story are references to other bits of American culture, namely a saxophone and a Jazz band, Prohibition, and even Mark Twain.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone familiar with this story, or with the work of the author, Josef Robert Harrer. This story is not the only shout-out to Louise Brooks which I have come across dating from the 1930s. There was a similar usage in a crime fiction story published in a French pulp. Evidently, as a figure still remembered by some, Brooks served as a descriptor... a cultural reference.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A Kartoon or Komic, and a Kinema Karol mentioning Louise Brooks

As I have mentioned many times in the past, one comes across all kinds of unusual and interesting stuff while researching a subject from the past. That goes for Louise Brooks, as well.

First up, here is a cute Paramount promotional cartoon titled "The Family Selects a Movie" which references Evening Clothes, the 1927 Adolphe Menjou film which features Louise Brooks. The actress herself is not mentioned. Nevertheless, it is rather charming, and speaks to how Paramount saw their films in the American marketplace.

Next up is a bit of verse, with the last piece, "My Best Girl" by Fussy in Beachy Head, England  referencing Louise Brooks (and Clara Bow). These "Kinema Karols" were published in an English film magazine, and also contain a bit of period charm. (And, if I am not mistaken, the Laurel and Hardy caveman still just below the date is from Flying Elephants, a two-reeler from 1928. That film is notable as the only other film in which Brooks' American Venus co-star, Fay Lanphier, made an appearance.)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Louise Brooks illustration in Jonathan Edwards book

Tipped off by a Facebook post, I emailed Welsh artist / illustrator Jonathan Edwards about his book, One hundred and thirty one faces: sketchbook vol 7. This 124 page book features pages from Jonathan's sketchbook as well as a few finished pieces. Most are in color. Among the book many subjects are author James Joyce, singer Francois Hardy, musician John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michael Basquiat, and many others. . . including Louise Brooks. Below is a quick flip through of the book, in which Brooks is one of the first personalities seen.

I emailed the artist, and asked why he included Brooks. He responded, "The portrait was originally drawn for an online B&W drawing competition that a friend of mine, Kunikazu Noguchi - a Tokyo based caricaturist, organises. I couldn’t resist drawing Louise Brooks. She’s such an icon and a gift to draw especially in pure black and white." 


Brooks was caricatured a number of times during her career in film -- in the 1920s and 1930s -- and she has also been caricatured a number of times in recent years. I have seen many if not most all of the caricatures from then and now, and this one is a favorite. Like other depictions of the actress, this one is stylistically angular, which I feel depicts a certain hardness in Brooks -- which is true. 

Jonathan Edwards work first appeared in 1993 in Deadline and Tank Girl Magazine with strips such as Dandy Dilemma, Simon Creem, The Squabbling Dandies and one pagers about Scott Walker, Sly Stone, Nancy Sinatra, Kraftwerk and The Beach Boys. Since then he has worked for the Guardian, Mojo, Q, Mad, The Black Eyed Peas, A Skillz & Krafty Kuts, The Jungle Brothers, The Glastonbury Festival, etc. His comics include Aunt Connie & The Plague of Beards, A Bag Of Anteaters (with Ian Carney) and Two Coats McWhinnie (also with Carney). He has also been a regular contributor to the Guardian since 1999, and illustrated the Hard Sell weekly column in the Guide from 2002 - 2011. His character design work includes collaborations with partner, Louise (AKA Felt Mistress), and his vinyl toy, Inspector Cumulus, is available from Crazylabel toys. For more details about the Felt Mistress collaborations (including our Selfridges Christmas window display) please click HERE.

Jonathan Edwards book, One hundred and thirty one faces: sketchbook vol 7, can be purchased HERE. Also available on his website are other books, prints and posters.More about the artist and his work can be found HERE.

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