Sunday, June 13, 2021

A few fascinating non-Louise Brooks finds

While researching Louise Brooks for my forthcoming book, Around the World with Louise Brooks, I too often come across all sorts of intriguing articles and images which have little or nothing to do with the actress. I try to resist them, and to stay focused on the project at hand. However, sometimes I give in and save something of interest with the intention of sharing. Here are a few recent finds.

The first is a page of delicious images of the lovely Marlene Dietrich, Brooks' one-time rival for the role of Lulu in Pandora's Box. The page comes from Paris-plaisirs : revue mensuelle esthétique et humoristique, a French publication. It dates from April 1930.

If you have seen The Blue Angel, and I hope you have, you will recall that an older character, Professor Immanuel Rath (played by Emil Jannings), was attracted to the youthful Lola Lola (played by Dietrich). 

Speaking of Professors, here is another recent find, a snapshot of Douglas Fairbanks leading a class on film at the University of Southern California. This clipping comes from a French film journal, and dates to February, 1929. I wonder if Fairbanks' son, Doug Jr., who appeared in the 1926 Brooks' film The American Venus, sat in on the class? Whatever the answer, I would guess this class more or less marks the beginning of film studies!

One of my favorite filmmakers of the silent era is Erich von Stroheim. I came across this 1937 article about the director which is essentially an interview -- which I think is fascinating. Too bad von Stroheim and Brooks never worked together. Oh what perverse delights would have resulted.

And for good measure here is something else I spotted on Facebook, a screen capture or film still from Billy Wilder's Menschen am Sonntag (1930), another film you really should see if you haven't. Known as People on Sunday, the film follows a group of residents of Berlin on a summer's day. It is beautiful, and evocative. What I find interesting about the image below are the postcards of film stars thumb-tacked to the wall. Brooks is not among them, but I do spot images of Garbo, Harold Lloyd, and second/third from the pretty actress' nose, Esther Ralston, the star of The American Venus.


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