Saturday, October 16, 2021

More about Louise Brooks in the early 1930s

It is a shame Louise Brooks' career fizzled out in the early 1930s. She could have been a contender.

In early 1930, publications carried stories of Brooks’ return to Hollywood. Behind the scenes, the actress was being courted by Columbia Pictures, where there was talk of a possible role in a Buck Jones western. Brooks, however, refused the part and walked away from a contract with the up-and-coming studio – just as she had done with Paramount in 1928, and American Pathé in 1929. Eventually, she found work in a trio of American talkies released the following year.

Brooks’ career had achieved a momentum which necessitated a strong role in a good film to keep her in the public eye. . . that film might have been the celebrated crime drama, The Public Enemy (1931), if only Brooks had accepted the role offered her by director William Wellman. Instead, what the world got were supporting roles in three lesser films. Each received scant attention and relatively few showings - the most popular and certainly the best of the lot was the slightly suggestive pre-code farce, God's Gift to Women. Nevertheless, it too was a lesser film, and none of the three did anything to help her flagging career. 

Windy Riley Goes Hollywood promo photo

Which again is a shame, because Louise Brooks could have shined in pre-code films. The actress even adapted her look, brushing back her bangs, exposing her forehead, and letting her hair grow just a little bit longer as was the style of the time. 

It Pays to Advertise promo photo

God's Gift to Women promo photo

Following the release of the three films in 1931, Louise Brooks dropped out of Hollywood for what amounted to a five year absence. She declared bankruptcy in 1932, got married and divorced in 1933, worked and toured as a ballroom dancer in 1933 and 1934, and drifted along until 1936, when she played a supporting role in the Buck Jones western, Empty Saddles (Universal). But before that, she was considered for but never offered the title role in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), James Whale's sequel to his 1931 hit film, Frankenstein. Oh, what might have been. . . . 

1 comment:

  1. Her beauty is timeless. Her obscurity makes her even more appealing. The original "It Girl". I've been helplessly fascinated with her for quite some time.

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