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Louise Brooks Society



A blog about an actress, silent film, and the Jazz Age; and occasionally the Denishawn Dance Company, writer Frank Wedekind, his character Lulu, Weimar Germany, Hollywood, the state of Kansas, books, music, art, history and other things sometimes only tan



Updated: 2017-02-18T06:59:08.367-08:00

 



Just Found Footage of Louise Brooks Favorite Author Marcel Proust

2017-02-17T09:58:53.619-08:00

It's well known that the French writer Marcel Proust (who authored Remembrances of Things Past, or In Search of Lost Time) was Louise Brooks favorite. In 1982, in an article in the New York Times Book Review titled “Books that gave me pleasure,” the actress is quoted: “I have been reading Proust all my life, and I’m still reading him.”

In the screen capture pictured below, the elusive author can be seen wearing a grey coat and a dark bowler hat.


Now comes word that a Canadian professor claims to have found the only existing moving picture of the French writer. According to various news sources including the Guardian (UK), "The black-and-white footage of a wedding cortege filmed in 1904 shows a brief glimpse of a man in his 30s with a neat moustache, wearing a bowler hat and pearl-grey formal suit, descending a flight of stairs on his own. Most of the other guests are in couples."

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To watch the entire clip, visit this link. Though just a fragment, this is very exciting news. Who knows what other lost fragmentary footage might be found? (A Louise Brooks fan can hope, can't they?)



Closing Time: Paintings by Max Ferguson with Louise Brooks

2017-02-15T09:00:49.223-08:00

Check out this nifty video tribute to the paintings of Max Ferguson (a fan of Louise Brooks). The actress is featured early on; and she is not the only movie legend spotted in this tribute. Can you spot the other. (Clue: he included an image of Brooks in one of his recent films.) Bonus points to those who can name the musical accompanist depicted in the painting which includes LB. And by-the-way, the music accompanying the video is "Closing Time" by Tom Waits.

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Happy Valentine's Day from the Louise Brooks Society

2017-02-14T13:04:02.629-08:00

I am not sure when this Valentine's Day card dates from, but I might guess it is the late 1920s or early 1930s. What caught my eye is the reference to "A gal in every port" and the inclusion of a bobbed female in the lower middle. This figure could be meant to be an Asian, or it could be meant to loosely resemble Louise Brooks, star of A Girl in Every Port (1928). Who knows, except Cupid?





Celebrating Black History Month: the career of Edgar Blue Washington

2017-02-10T06:30:38.057-08:00

There were few African-American actors in the films of Louise Brooks. Such were the times, and such were the stories. African-Americans, in bit parts, can be found in The Street of Forgotten Men (1925), American Venus (1926), Canary Murder Case (1929), and King of Gamblers (1937). Perhaps there were one or two others in one or two of Brooks' lost films.Certainly, the most prominent part played by an African-American was the role of Black Mose in Beggars of Life. Black Mose was played by Edgar "Blue" Washington (1898 – 1970). Unusually so, Washington received sixth billing, and his name appeared on the screen alongside stars Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen, Robert Perry and Roscoe Karns. Throughout his long film career, Washington appeared mostly in bit parts. Beggars of Life marked a high point. Washington was an actor (sometimes credited as Edgar Washington and sometimes Blue Washington) as well as a one-time Los Angeles prizefighter and Negro League baseball player. He appeared in 74 films between 1919 and 1961. In between acting jobs, he was also an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. The nickname "Blue" came from director Frank Capra, a friend.Washington was born in Los Angeles. Before getting into acting, he played for various teams in the Negro League. He was a pitcher for the Chicago American Giants starting in 1916. And in 1920, he was invited to join the newly formed Kansas City Monarchs, where he started at first base and batted .275 in 24 official league games. After a few months of barnstorming, Washington left the Monarchs. In December of 1920, after he had started acting, Washington rejoined the Los Angeles White Sox for a few games; he was also believed to have later played for Alexander’s Giants in the integrated California Winter League.Harold Lloyd helped Washington break into films, and this pioneering African-American actor appeared in the legendary comedian’s Haunted Spooks (1920) and Welcome Danger (1929). Sporadic work followed throughout the 1920s, as Washington appeared in movies alongside early stars Ricardo Cortez, William Haines, Richard Barthelmess, Ken Maynard, and Tim McCoy.Beggars of Life director William Wellman worked once gain with Washington in The Light That Failed (1939). The actor also appeared in a few films helmed by John Ford, including The Whole Town's Talking (1935) and The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936). Other notable movies in which Washington had at least a small part include the Charley Bower’s short There It Is (1928), King Vidor's all-black Hallelujah (1929), Rio Rita (1929), Mary Pickford's Kiki (1931), King Kong (1933), Roman Scandals (1933), Annie Oakley (1935), Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman (1936), and Gone with the Wind (1939).He was in three installments in the Charlie Chan series, and appears as Clarence the comic sidekick in the John Wayne B-Western Haunted Gold (1933).Despite the fair amount of screen time Washington enjoyed in this rather poor, 57 minute film, he is only named in this trailer. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_y9th1b7DlQ" width="560">Washington also had small roles in The Cohens and the Kellys in Africa (1930), Drums of the Congo (1942), Bomba, the Jungle Boy (1949), and other lesser fair. Unfortunately, many of these and earlier roles traded on racial stereotypes. His last part, as a limping attendant in a billiards hall, was in the classic Paul Newman film, The Hustler (1961).This blog is indebted to Mark V. Perkins excellent biography on the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) website. Give it a read.[...]



Louise Brooks and Wanda Hawley

2017-02-08T07:42:06.740-08:00

Louise Brooks is a magnet of meaning.... I just came across this short video clip, in which Emeritus Film Studies Professor Claudia Gorbman of the University of Washington discusses silent film actresses Louise Brooks and Wanda Hawley. I am not sure if this video clip comes from a larger film, or not, but it is worth a viewing. Give it a play.

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Diary of a Lost Girl with Louise Brooks shows March 5th in New York State

2017-02-06T03:30:02.541-08:00

The sensational 1929 Louise Brooks film, Diary of a Lost Girl, will be shown at 3 pm on March 5th at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale, New York. This Sunday afternoon screening will feature live piano accompaniment by Marta Waterman. More information about the event can be found HERE.

The historic Rosendale Theatre is a three-story, 260-seat movie theater and performance venue in Rosendale Village, a hamlet and former village in the town of Rosendale in Ulster County, New York. The building was opened as a casino in 1905, and began showing films in the 1920s. By the 1930s, a stage had been installed for live vaudeville and burlesque acts. In 1949, the venue was converted back into a movie theater. Today, the theater is run by the Rosendale Theatre Collective.


If you are wondering about Brooksian triangulation... the closest she came to Rosendale back in the day was Poughkeepsie, when she danced there as a member of the Denishawn Dance Company. Later in life, of course, Brooks lived in Rochester, New York.

Diary of a Lost Girl may well be making its debut in Rosendale. The 1929 film, directed by Georg W. Pabst (not Joseph Pabst), was the second Brooks made in Germany, following Pandora's Box. Controversial in its day, and poorly regarded, the film was not shown in the United States until the 1950s. Those screenings took place in Rochester, at the George Eastman House, under the eye of James Card, the museum's film curator. Diary of a Lost Girl made its theatrical debut in the early 1980s. More about the film and its eventful history can be found HERE.

A bit of trivia: In 1961, acclaimed director John Huston was beginning work on a biopic about Sigmund Freud. In an archive of correspondence about the film, Huston’s longtime assistant Ernie Anderson wrote to the director that Freud had no direct involvement with the making of Diary of a Lost Girl.



Beggars of Life with music by The Dodge Brothers in Manchester (UK) in May

2017-02-03T09:28:03.929-08:00

The outstanding 1928 Louise Brooks film, Beggars of Life, will be shown at Stoller Hall in Manchester, England on Saturday, May 13th. This screening will feature live music and will be accompanied by The Dodge Brothers and the fabulous Neil Brand. More information about this event can be found HERE.



The Stoller Hall web page reads:

25% discount when you book full price tickets for both Beggars of Life and the Dodge Brothers at 9pm. That means you can see the brilliant Dodge Brothers for just £5.50 each!

The classic silent film with live music from the Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand.

Film and cinematic landscapes come together when The Dodge Brothers – Mike Hammond, Mark Kermode, Aly Hirji and Alex Hammond – join forces with premiere Silent Film pianist Neil Brand to accompany rare Silent features. Their accompaniment to the Louise Brooks/Wallace Beery 1928 film Beggars of Life was greeted with great acclaim. Performing this at The British Silent Cinema Festival, The Barbican & The BFI Southbank has prompted glowing reviews and the band became the first ever to accompany a silent film at Glastonbury Festival in 2014.







David Shepard (1940 - 2017)

2017-02-01T09:07:51.847-08:00

David Shepard, a friend to many in the silent film community and a longtime champion of film preservation, has died. He was 76 years old. His ceaseless work on behalf of silent film deserves our ever lasting appreciation.I saw David just last December, and we exchanged a few words.... Below is a snapshot I took a five or six years back. David, second from the right in a white short, is surrounded by colleagues Kevin Brownlow, Diana Serra Cary (silent film star Baby Peggy), and Leonard Maltin. I can only claim to have been acquainted with David Shepard (1940 - 2017), having chatted with him numerous times, and having exchanged emails and seen him about at local film festivals for well more than a decade. I will miss him congenial presence. I also enjoyed reading and treasure my autographed copies of his books on movie legends King Vidor and Henry King. It was an honor to have my picture taken with Shepard last summer.David's involvement with silent film extends to Louise Brooks, who's now lost 1927 film, The City Gone Wild, he almost saved. In his 1990 book, Behind the Mask of Innocence, Kevin Brownlow wrote about an incident in the 1970s. “David Shepard, then with the American Film Institute’s archive program, had a list of 35mm nitrate prints held in a vault Paramount had forgotten it had. He asked me which title I would select, out of all of them, to look at right away. I said The City Gone Wild. He called Paramount to bring it out of the vaults for our collection that afternoon. The projectionist went to pick it up. ‘O, there was some powder on that,’ said the vault keeper ‘We threw it away.’ … He tried to rescue it, even from its watery grave, but a salvage company had carted it off by the time he got there.” A few years ago, I spoke with David about this incident, and he confirmed its details and expressed his frustration.  Back in November, Shepard was honored at a special event at Dartmouth College. At the time, Mike Mashon, Head, Moving Image Section, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, said “David is a giant in the field of film preservation, one of those rare talents who exemplifies the scholar’s rigorous research, the archivist’s attention to detail and the fan’s unabashed love and enthusiasm for movies.”Born in 1940, David had a lifelong love of film, having devoted most of his life to film preservation. Through teaching and scholarship, through his company, Film Preservation Associates, through his ownership of the Blackhawk Films library, and through his film and video restoration efforts, David had long worked behind the scenes helping save early films. Just as importantly, David made these films available to the home video market, first through laserdisc and VHS formats, and more recently through high-quality DVD releases "where the clarity and beauty of these early motion pictures can really be fully appreciated." Shepard has done as much as anyone to both preserve and promote our film heritage, especially the silent era. Shepard began restoring films when he joined the American Film Institute in 1968 as one of their first staff members. His company, Film Preservation Associates, is responsible for many high quality video versions of silent films. Some of these video releases came from the Blackhawk Films library (also owned by Shepard), and others from materials owned by private collectors and film archives around the world. David lovingly sheparded them into the world. Even this partial list of films restored by Shepard is astounding:    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)    A Farewell to Arms (1932)    The Birth of a Nation (1915)    The Black Pirate (1926)    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)    Carmen (1915)  &nb[...]



Trump's effect on the Louise Brooks Society and silent film

2017-02-10T12:17:22.910-08:00

On January 19th, 2017, the Trump administration said that it would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. Trump also said he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees both PBS and NPR. All together, such funding represents a minuscule portion - a reported 0.004% - of 2016 federal spending.The Louise Brooks Society stands against such actions. Each would disastrously impact the arts and American culture, as well as silent film preservation and exhibition -- including the films of Louise Brooks.Over the years, the Public Broadcasting System has shown silent films on television, as well as documentaries about silent films. I remember seeing Kevin Brownlow's magnificent Hollywood series on PBS in the early 1980's. That was my first sustained exposure to silent film and film history. Looking back, it changed my life. What's more, having examined old television broadcast records, I have also been able to find that PBS screened Pandora's Box on television a handful of times in the 1980's. I wonder how many individuals saw a great actress like Louise Brooks for the first time, and it somehow impacted their life?National Public Radio has, as well, covered many news stories related to silent film - stories likely not covered in the mainstream media. I myself, as the director of the Louise Brooks Society, have appeared on NPR stations across the country talking about the actress, most recently on WXXI in Rochester, New York. Without such attention to less popular art forms like silent film, American culture would be a much lesser thing.Similarly, both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities grant funds to various film festivals, including silent film festivals, as well as the specialized musicians who perform at them. And what's more, eliminating such funds would eliminate funds that go towards silent film restoration and silent film preservation, DVD releases, as well as the researching and writing and publishing of articles and books (and the making of documentary films) on silent film.I don't want to live in a world where the cultural standard is some crappy reality television show. The arts enrich our lives. All of our lives, whether we get a grant or not.The most important thing individuals can do is to keep informed and to support arts organizations and the media that gives coverage to the arts. This article has a number of great suggestions. Another thing we can do is to sign petitions against cutting funding. Here is a link to a petition on the whitehouse.gov website asking that funding not be cut to the NEA and the NEH. I think others are going around as well. As we know, Louise Brooks was a Denishawn dancer, an actress, and a great reader of books. I, for one, feel she would be against eliminating funding of the arts.Consider this: When the Nazi's came to power in Germany in the early 1930's, they too moved to control society by controlling culture. In fact, Margarete Bohme's sensational 1905 book, The Diary of a Lost Girl, which can be seen as a feminist social critique of German society and had remained in print since it was first published 25 years earlier, was driven out of print by right wing groups in the early1930's. Additionally, some of G.W. Pabst's films - like Diary of a Lost Girl and Pandora's Box - were suppressed. No one wants to see that happen again! allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KILF0ZxJ45U" width="560">[...]



Louise Brooks found in La La Land

2017-01-26T09:19:40.866-08:00

Speaking of La La Land, I was there last week researching two of Louise Brooks' films. I scored a lot of great material, nearly 200 pages worth of stuff, including many rare stills and publicity photos and lots of rare Paramount production records. The results of my research shall be revealed in the coming months..... Here is a snapshot of me outside the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Margaret Herrick Library. Over the years, I have visited the library nearly ten times, and am finally starting to feel I know my way around its way of doing things. While there, I also had the pleasure of running into author and film historian Mary Mallory while doing my research. Hello Mary!


Apparently, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills (where the Academy is located) is riddled with crime. Who da thunk? I spotted this WANTED poster tacked to a bulletin board.





Louise Brooks in La La Land

2017-01-25T08:48:44.590-08:00

I have seen an image on social media which people are saying is from the acclaimed new film La La Land. This romantic musical comedy-drama film is regarded as one of the best films of 2016, having been nominated for a record-tying fourteen Oscars!

The image in question is a street scene depicting a mural which depicts Louise Brooks. I haven't yet scene the movie. Can anyone confirm this image is from La La Land? Additionally, I am wondering, is this an actual locale in Los Angeles?







Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part five

2017-01-16T03:00:24.539-08:00

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record. Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the sixties through to the end of Brooks' life.Jan. 12, 1960Lunch with Lillian Gish at Gish's apartment in New York City. Later, Brooks attends a screening of Prix de beaute at the Y.M.H.A, where she gives a well received 10 minute talk. In the audience are John Springer, Jimmy Glennon, Jan Wahl and old friends Peggy Fears and Leonore Scheffer.March 27, 1960Listens to radio program from 7:00 to 8:00 pm which features Mitch Miller, Bosley Crowther, Archer Winston.April 16, 1961Watches television program on the music of the civil war hosted by noted conductor Frederick Fennell (of the Eastman Wind Ensemble).Feb. 12, 1962Brooks escaped injury after a small fire broke out in the living room of her Rochester apartment. Careless smoking was blamed for the incident, in which chair was wrecked and the fire department called.May 2, 1962Begins broadcasting "Portraits of the Stars" on "Woman's World" program at 10:05 am on WHAM in Rochester, NY.Nov. 6, 1962Discusses Fatty Arbuckle on "Does Scandal Destroy the Stars?" at 1:15 pm on WHAM in Rochester, NY.Dec. 12, 1962Meets Buster Keaton and his wife at the Sheraton Hotel in Rochester, New York.April 15, 1963Delivers a feminist-themed speech, "The Influence of Movie Stars on the Freedom of Women," before an evening meeting of the Catholic Women’s Club of Rochester, New York.Nov. 17, 1963Henri Langois visits Rochester, and is quoted at length about Brooks.Dec. 12, 1965Roddy McDowell is quoted in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle regarding his visit with Brooks.Dec. 27, 1965Kevin Brownlow visits Brooks in Rochester.July 12, 1966Views The Wedding March at Eastman House.Feb. 15, 1967Reading Ethel Merman's Who Could Ask for Anything More? (1955).July 4, 1968Visits composer David Diamond at his Rochester home.Jan. 30, 1971WROC Channel 8 broadcasts Overland Stage Raiders in Rochester.Feb. 23, 1972Due to a "lame hip," declines invitation from David Rockefeller to serve o[...]



Pandora’nın Kutusu starring Louise Brooks screens tomorrow in Istanbul

2017-01-14T07:55:15.834-08:00

The classic Louise Brooks film, Pandora's Box (1929), will be shown tomorrow in Istanbul, Turkey. This special presentation will feature live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. For more information about this special event, please visit THIS PAGE.


Pandora’nın Kutusu / Die Büchse der Pandora / Pandora’s Box

Kadın-erkek herkesin etrafında pervane olduğu cazibeli  ve güzel Lulu (Louise Brooks), varyete şovlarla birçok kişinin gönlünü çalmaktadır. Aşk yaşadığı varyete sahibi Dr. Schön’ün başka bir kadınla evleneceğini duyunca bu evliliği bozmak için elinden geleni yaparak, onu kendisiyle evlenmesi için ayartır. Fakat bu evlilik Pandora’nın kutusunun açılmasına neden olurken kendisi dahil herkesi trajedinin içine çeker. 1925 yılında ilk defa Amerika’da sinema dünyasına adım atan Louise Brooks’un Avrupa’daki ilk filmi olan Pandora’nın Kutusu, Alman oyun yazarı Frank Wedekind’in iki oyunundan uyarlanmıştır. Bu filmdeki Lulu karakteri, Brooks’un sonraki yaşamında bu isimle anılmasına neden olmuştur. Geçen yıl festivalde “Güzellik Ödülü”ne yer verdiğimiz Brooks’un ilk filmi kaçmaz.

Charming and attractive musical revue actress Lulu (Louise Brooks), who inspires admiration of both men and women and steals everybody’s heart, does everything to break the upcoming marriage of Dr. Schönn, a patron of the show and her former lover.  She succeeds in marrying him, but this opens Pandora’s Box ultimately leading to a tragic end for everybody, including Lulu. Louise Brooks began her career in the US in 1925.  Pandora’s Box, adapted from two plays by German playwright Frank Wedekind, was her first European movie.  After this movie, the name Lulu became Louise Brooks’ nickname. Last year’s “Beauty Prize” is followed by Louise Brooks’ first European movie. Don’t miss it!



Kickstarter campaign for Louise Brooks documentary, Documentary of a Lost Girl

2017-01-13T07:05:28.060-08:00

(image)
Pictured above: Film critic Jack Garner and documentarian Charlotte Siller.

Charlotte Siller, a dedicated Louise Brooks researcher and devotee, is doing something vital, and something important. She is making a documentary about Louise Brooks. And, she has set out to interview some of the last few surviving people who knew Louise Brooks. 

Documentary of a Lost Girl is an in-the-works documentary about Brooks which launched a Kickstarter campaign to help it reach completion. According to its campaign page, "This film will uncover the life of Louise Brooks through interviews, traveling, archival resources and Brooks-style immersive research." Find out more at http://www.documentaryofalostgirl.com/

I encourage everyone to find out more and to make a donation to this worthwhile cause. I already have . . . . Find out more HERE, and please consider making a donation. There is only about a week left to do so. A new documentary about Louise Brooks is something we all want.

frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" src="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/889269203/documentary-of-a-lost-girl-finding-a-modern-womans/widget/video.html" width="640">



Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part four

2017-01-12T12:01:59.079-08:00

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record. Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the forties and fifties.Feb. 23, 1940Brooks-O’Shea Studio of Ballroom Dancing opens in Hollywood.April 20, 1940Dances at the Arrowhead Spring Hotel in San Bernadino, California.June 15, 1940Los Angeles Times reports Brooks the victim of reputed swindler Benjamin F. Crandall; according to articles from the time, Brooks lost $2,000 in a Hollywood magazine stock promotion scheme.Jan. 1941Reads and takes notes on the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Aug. 3, 1942Hired as a sales girl at Garfields, a department store in Wichita. Brooks works the accessories counter.June ?, 1943Meets with writer Robert Benchley, who gives her a copy of Pascal's Pensees.June 29, 1943Attends original Broadway production of Oklahoma! at the St. James Theatre in New York, with William S. Paley, Ben Gimbel and two others.Dec. 24, 1944Brooks and Lothar Wolff spend Christmas Eve with Blythe Daly and Jim Backus.Dec. 15, 1948Lowell, MA journalist (and future Jack Kerouac in-law) Charles Sampas muses about Brooks in his column, "I can remember Way Back When and actress named Louise Brooks was the Number One favorite of the Square Beaux...."Nov. 10, 1949Brooks sees Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn perform "Creative Dances on Ethnic Themes" at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.Oct. 18-19, 1952Eastman House screens Beggars of Life, an "adult silent film not recommended for children."Nov. 10, 1952Visits rectory of St. John the Evangelist's Church (55 East 55th Street at First Avenue, New York City) seeking spiritual counsel.Dec. 13, 1953Receives confirmation in the Catholic Church at St. Patrick Cathedral in New York City. Bishop Flannelly presides. Before the ritual of being confirmed, those seeking confirmation choose to take a saint's name with whom they identify. After confirmation, the confirmed can pray to the saint for guidance an[...]



Louise Brooks featured in The Chap magazine

2017-01-11T03:30:19.208-08:00

A BIG thank you to The Chap magazine, who sent me a copy of their latest issue. It features an article about Louise Brooks, "Inventing the Girl," which I enjoyed reading.For those not familiar with the UK magazine, "The Chap takes a wry look at the modern world through the steamed-up monocle of a more refined age, occasionally getting its sock suspenders into a twist at the unspeakable vulgarity of the twenty-first century. Since 1999, the Chap has been championing the rights of that increasingly marginalised and discredited species of Englishman – the gentleman. The Chap believes that a society without courteous behaviour and proper headwear is a society on the brink of moral and sartorial collapse, and it seeks to reinstate such outmoded but indispensable gestures as hat doffing, giving up one’s seat to a lady and regularly using a trouser press."The new issue is their 90th. "The Chap’s 90th print edition is out now, with Neil Hannon on the cover and a full-length interview inside. We also have a long-overdue profile of Louise Brooks by our resident Doctor of Dandyism; some tips on dress for world leaders, with particular emphasis on how not to dress like Donald Trump; a walk on the wild side of Berlin’s cabaret scene; the life of Eugen Sandow, the Victorian strong man who invented modern bodybuilding. Sartorial matters covered include bicycle panniers, cardigans and whether slip-on shoes count as proper footwear. We offer a tribute to Albion, loyal Chap adherent who passed away recently; Anthony Newley’s bizarre 1969 film Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness; the launch of new accessories outlet Kit & Kaboodle; the sex scandal that began at a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Cricket looks at Harold Pinter’s lifelong devotion to cricket, which he thought was better than sex; Laszlo Krass reports from Rome on a plot to steal a valuable Caravaggio; our Parisian correspondent reports from the most elegant stall at the flea market. The Butler advises the gentleman with an embonpoint, Atters rounds up his stable of hirsute beauties and beasts and we crown another King of Chaps."Order the new issue from www.thechap.co.uk/magazineMy Louise Brooks paperweight holds down the opening pages of "Inventing the Girl." [...]



Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part three

2017-01-09T08:40:27.762-08:00

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record. Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights for the 1930s.Jan. 9, 1930New York Daily Mirror reports crooner Harry Richman says that Brooks will reunite with Eddie Sutherland.Jan. 26, 1930Attends cocktail party at Clifton Webb's. Also present are Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, authors Edna Ferber and Carl van Vechten, singer Libby Holman, actresses Marilyn Miller and Ruth Donnelly, and others (Edward Wasserman, Blanche Knopf ?).Feb. 25, 1930Attends performance of The Last Mile, a play by John Wexley, at the Sam H. Harris Theatre in New York. Among those in the cast is Spencer Tracey.April 2, 1930Book columnist William Soskin reports what a few celebrities are said to be reading (Clara Bow, Hulu), and somewhat incredulously notes Brooks is reading Hermann Sudermann's The Mad Professor and Stefan Zweig's The Case of Sergeant Grischa.Aug. 10, 1930Syndicated columnist Radie Harris reports Brooks is living at Lois Moran's Malibu home, Halikalani. (Neighbors include John Boles and Ronald Colman.)Aug. 23, 1930Syndicated columnist Louella Parsons reports Brooks, "still wearing the distinctive Dutch bob," was seen dining at the Coconut Grove. May 1, 1933Brooklyn Daily Eagle columnist Art Arthur reports seeing Brooks at the Ha-Ha Club in New York, where she joined a table with Peggy Fears and Lupe Velez. Other current and former stars were also in attendance, including Mae Murray.Aug. 17, 1934Crooner Harry Richman joins Brooks and Dario on the bill at the Blossom Heath Inn near Detroit, Michigan.Jan. 16-19, 1935Brooks and Dario dance at the Embassy Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Also on the bill is Enric Madriguera's Orchestra, and French singer Lucienne Boyer.Jan. 28, 1935Brooks and Dario begin dance engagement at the Patio in Palm Beach, Florida. Also performing is singer Bruz Fletcher. Oct. 17, 1935Brooks meets with G.W. [...]



2017 Kansas Silent Film Festival includes Louise Brooks Film

2017-01-07T10:39:34.625-08:00

The schedule for the 2017 Kansas Silent Film Festival has been announced. Among the special guests are Dr. Harriet Fields, who will be talking about her grandfather W. C. Fields, when the festival shows the 1926 W. C. Fields / Louise Brooks film, It's the Old Army Game. More information about the event can be found HERE.FREE ADMISSION for all showings  Fri. Feb. 24, 2017, 7:30-10:00 p.m. @ White Concert Hall, Washburn University Overture and Opening Titles, music by Ben Model, guest performerWelcome and Intros by Denise Morrison, Film Historian The Noon Whistle 18 min. (1923) with Stan Laurel—Music by Marvin Faulwell, organ, and Bob Keckeisen, percussion Crazy Like a Fox 25 min. (1926) with Charlie Chase, Oliver Hardy—Music by Jeff Rapsis on piano Feature introduced by Denise Morrison with Dr. Harriet Fields It's the Old Army Game 77 min. (1926) with W.C. Fields / Louise Brooks—Music score by Ben Model, guest performer Sat. Feb. 25, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-Noon@ White Concert Hall, Washburn University Overture & Short Opening Titles by Jeff Rapsis Welcome and Intros by Denise Morrison, Film Historian Film Documentary60 min. A special presentation by KSFF Koko's Cartoon Factory8 min. (1925) Animation by Max Fleischer —Music by Marvin Faulwel Adventures of Helen— Episode 1: The Wild Engine 20 min. (1919) with Helen Holmes —Music by Marvin Faulwell The Adventures of Prince Achmed 65 min. (1926) Cartoon Feature tinted in Color—Music score by Jeff Rapsis Lunch Break (on your own), resuming at 1:00 p.m. Sat. Feb. 25, 2017, 1:30-5:15 p.m.@ White Concert Hall, Washburn University Overature & Short Opening Titles by Marvin FaulwellWelcome and Intros by Denise Morrison, Film Historian The Boat 21 min. (1921) with Buster Keaton —Music by Marvin Faulwell Barbed Wire 67 min. (1927) with Pola Negri—Music by Marvin Faulwell Intermission Short Overature by Jeff RapsisIntros by Denise Morrison, Film Historian The Cardinal's Conspiracy 11 min. (1909) directed by D.W. Griffith —Music by Jeff Rapsis When Knighthood Was in Flower 120 min. (1922) with Marion Davies* —Music by Ben Model, guest performer (*not set yet. This will be a newly-available title and Ben Model is spearheading its restoration) Dinner Special Dinner Event, Our Ninth Annual CINEMA-DINNER, Seating begins @ 5:15 p.m. Dinner: 5:15-7:00 p.m. Music by TBA Speaker will be Dr. Harriet Fields, granddaughter of W.C. Fields— This event is by reservation only. Dinner is $35. Contact us to reserve your space — Sat. Feb. 25, 2017, 7:30-10:00 p.m. @ White Concert Hall, Washburn University [...]



Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part two

2017-01-06T07:01:43.281-08:00

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record. Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights for the last half of the 1920s.Sept. 16, 1925Brooks and a tipsy Herman J. Mankiewicz attend No, No, Nanette at the Globe Theater on Broadway.Sept. 17, 1925Brooks’ ghost-written review (by-lined by Herman J. Mankiewicz) of the stage play No, No, Nanette appears in the New York Times.Dec. 1, 1925Wearing a celebrated "drafty" costume designed by John Harkrider, Brooks attends the Lafayette fête (a society fundraiser) held at the Hotel Astor in New York City. Also there in costume were Gloria Swanson as Marie Antoinette, and Adolphe Menjou as Price Eugene, with Leon Errol acting as master of ceremonies, and Irene Bordoni singing. Also attending were Ethel Barrymore, Noel Coward, Richard Barthelmess, Marilyn Miller, Walter Wanger, Otto Kahn, John Jay Chapman, and others.May 26, 1926Brooks appears on the cover of the Danish film magazine Ugebladet — probable 1st appearance on a European magazine cover.Aug. 6, 1926Attends opening of first sound film, Don Juan (1926), with Peggy Fears and A.C. Blumenthal at the Warner Theater in New York City.Aug. 30, 1926Attends Rudolph Valentino’s funeral in New York City.Nov. 5, 1926Makes a personal appearance at a benefit pre-release midnight showing at the Rialto Theater of We're in the Navy Now, directed by Eddie Sutherland, who is also on hand. (As is Betty Bronson, Ricardo Cortez, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, William Powell, Evelyn Brent, and Philip Strange. Helen Morgan sings.) The event is a benefit showing in aid of the New York American Christmas and Relief Fund.July 8, 1927Attends the West Coast premiere of Way of All Flesh at Criterion Theater in Los Angeles, California.Aug. 27, 1927At the Paramount studio shooting scenes (interiors in the aviation headquarters and ante room) [...]



Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in London this month

2017-01-04T12:40:45.298-08:00

The British Film Institue (BFI) is screening the 1929 Louise Brooks' film, Pandora's Box, not once, but four times in January! The first screening took place yesterday, with the others following on January 6, 8, and 2 at the National Film Theater 2 in London. Tickets are on sale. For more information about this historic presentation, please visit THIS PAGE.


From the BFI website: "Pabst’s landmark adaptation of two plays by Frank Wedekind boasts an iconic performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu, the guiltless, guileless beauty who wreaks havoc among all those seduced by her raw sexuality, only to fall prey to an even darker force. A precise and subtle expressionism inflects the sets, costumes and make-up, highlighting the ruinous appeal of unbridled eroticism."

These screenings will feature live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney (6 Jan), Wendy Hiscocks (8 Jan), and Costas Fotopoulos (21 Jan).


Pandora's Box is now considered a classic, but when it was first shown in the UK in 1930, the press had reservations, as can be seen in this vintage clipping from the Louise Brooks Society archive.




Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part one

2017-01-04T14:41:50.761-08:00

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record. Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates  related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights for the years prior to Brooks becoming a film star.Nov. 14, 1906Born Mary Louise Brooks in the town of Cherryvale, Kansas to Leonard and Myra Brooks. A small article announcing the birth appears on the front page of the local newspapers, the Cherryvale Republican and Cherryvale Daily News.Sept. 2, 1910Performs in "Tom Thumb Wedding" at the Cherryvale Christian church. Admission is 15 and 25 cents. The following day, a newspaper article states there was "good attendance," and that the "program pleased the audience, and netted the sum of $300 for the church."Aug. 6, 1915As one of Bertha Nusbaum's piano students, performs "Little Fairy Waltz Op. 105, No. 1" by Ludovic Streabbog at the home of a neighbor.Jan. 18, 1918Brooks, who is called "Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary" in the local newspaper, leads a "Dance of the Flowers" with 12 other Flower Maidens in the Mother Goose Pageant at the local High School, a benefit for the Red Cross fund.Feb. 12, 1918Joins the newly formed G. K. Club (Girls Knitting Club), composed of other local youngsters, who enjoy games, music, treats, and other other activities and meet at the home of a neighbor.May 2, 1919Dances "The Gloating Dance of Destruction" (as arranged by Mrs. Milburn Hobson) at "The Progress of Peace" pageant at the Beldorf theater in Independence. The event is advertised, and mention is made in the ad of Brooks performance. A "large audience" turns out. The event, under the auspices of the local Y.M.C.A., is a benefit to further the sale of Liberty bonds. (Vivian Jones, the future Vivian Vance, also takes part.)Nov. 15, 1919Hosts an outing for friends, who take in the Dorothy Gish comedy I'll Get Him Yet at the Best Th[...]



Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society and Buster Keaton, Japan, 1926

2017-01-01T00:26:00.861-08:00

Happy New Year from the Louise Brooks Society. This year, 2017, promises to be a great year for fans of the actress--with the expected release of a new book, at least one new DVD, amultiple screenings around the world, and an unprecedented announcement that will rock LB fans everywhere! (Regarding the latter, I know what it is, but can't say. Sorry.) And Happy New Year from Buster Keaton from 1926. This image is taken from a 1926 Japanese film magazine.




German Avant-Garde Films in Japan, 1926

2016-12-31T00:30:02.071-08:00

In the silent era, language was no barrier to films fro Europe or the United States being shown elsewhere around the world, including Japan. Then, as now, Japan had an active and curious film culture. And that curiosity extend to "avant-garde" films from abroad, including German movies made in the "New Objective" and Expressionist styles. Here are a few examples of German films shown in Japan in 1926. They are the G.W. Pabst directed film The Joyless Street (1925), starring      Greta Garbo, Asta Nielsen, and Werner Krauss; the horrific Robert Weine directed The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), starring Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, and Lil Dagover; and lastly, the Hans Neuman directed A Midsummer Night's Dream, starring yet again once more Werner Krauss.






And yes, the expressionist tinged G.W. Pabst directed Louise Brooks film, Pandora's Box (1929) was also shown in Japan. Come back next year, tomorrow, for another special treat from Japan.



A Look Back at this year's Louise Brooks Society Blog

2016-12-30T12:00:02.357-08:00

This year, the Louise Brooks Society posted nearly 200 times. Some were short form posts, and some were long form. As a blogger, I am especially proud of the long form pieces which broke new ground, or revealed some new information about Louise Brooks. Here are a few of my favorite posts: if you haven't already checked them out, please do so.Louise Brooks, at the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and 16th StreetBeggars of Life recording sessions, the detailsLouise Brooks, Modernism, the Surrealists, and the Paris of 1930Louise Brooks and the Maltese FalconLouise Brooks at a drive-in and other firsts from the 1950sMy recent trip to London in search of Louise Brooks (pre-Brexit)  Louise Brooks as "Lulu the Sinful"When Louise Brooks almost signed with PatheLouise Brooks asks just how short is a short skirt...Louise Brooks and The Invention of Morel, by Adolpo Bioy CasaresFirst known event advertisement to name Louise BrooksSome of these posts proved popular, some less so. Nevertheless, all of them gained at least 100 hits or reads. The following posts stand out as they gained more than 500 hits or reads. A few approached 1000.Louise Brooks in late 1920's Japan - clippings in need of translation Louise Brooks’ 1928 Trans-Atlantic Voyage to EuropeTo Bob or Not to Bob: Perhaps the Definitive Article on Silent Film Star Hair Styles On the Beach with Louise BrooksNew 2K Restoration of Beggars of Life Heading to Theaters Louise Brooks Oddities #8 Louise Brooks Oddities #1 Stacks of BrooksSince this blog was started (on LiveJournal), there have been nearly 2800 posts.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them. There are more to come. Next year, 2017, promises to be a great year for fans of the actress--with the expected release of a new book, at least one new DVD, multiple screenings around the world, and an unprecedented announcement that will rock LB fans everywhere![...]



Now Online: Treasures From American Film Archives

2016-12-29T12:00:10.983-08:00

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) has made freely available for online viewing 47 films from its first DVD set, Treasures from American Film Archives. Originally released in 2000 and hailed by Roger Ebert as “a treasure trove of old, obscure, forgotten, rediscovered, and fascinating footage from the first century of film,” Treasures marked the first time that America’s archives had joined forces to share their films with home video audiences and showcase the amazing range of American films. It received an award from the National Society of Film Critics and was called the “best set of the year” by The New York Times.  Treasures eventually sold out, as did an Encore edition made possible through the support of the Cecil B. De Mille Foundation. We are committed to keeping the Treasures films accessible to the public and now present them on our website.Mastered from the finest archival sources, the 47 films include the first feature-length Snow White (1916), Western star William S. Hart in Hell’s Hinges (1916), The Toll of the Sea (1922) in two-strip Technicolor, The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) by James Sibley Watson Jr. and Melville Webber, John Huston’s searing antiwar documentary The Battle of San Pietro (1945), and footage of Orson Welles's 1936 “Voodoo” Macbeth. Together they represent 10 stunning hours, including the first publicly exhibited movie, cutting-edge avant-garde works, silent-era features, pioneering special effects films, landmark independent productions, documentaries, newsreels, animation, political ads, and home movies made from coast to coast. One not to miss is Three American Beauties (1906).All films are accompanied by program notes by the set’s curator Scott Simmon (University of California, Davis) and feature either their original soundtracks or commissioned scores supervised by music curator Martin Marks (MIT).Since its release Treasures from American Film Archives has been valued by cinephiles and educators—this online release ensures that a wide audience can continue enjoying these films, either as entertainment, a teaching resource, or, best of all, both.I have each of the NFPF box sets. You should too.[...]