Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Beggars of Life with Louise Brooks screens in Madison, Wisconsin on December 1

The University of Wisconsin Cinematheque is featuring an image of Louise Brooks at the top of their homepage. That's because the Cinematheque is set to show the sensational 1928 Louise Brooks film, Beggars of Life, on Friday, December 1st. This screening is part of the Cinematheque's "Silents Please!" series of great movies from before the dawn of sound. This 7pm event will take place in 4070 Vilas Hall in Madison. More information about this screening can be found HERE.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

San Francisco Silent Film Festival winter event on December 2

Here is the line-up of films for the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival winter event, which is taking place at the Castro Theater in San Francisco on December 2. It is a terrific line-up of movies. The link to ticket information can be found HERE.

I will be attending part of the event, and for those interested, I will be signing books, including the RECENTLY released Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film and the NEWLY released Now We're in the Air, following the showing of The Last Man on Earth (at approximately 1:15 pm or so). I will also have a few copies of my DVDs and the "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl on hand.

This promises to be a special signing, as it will be taking place in the very theater were the "once lost" Louise Brooks film, Now We're in the Air, was first premiered earlier this year. Joining me will be Robert Byrne, who uncovered the film and wrote the foreword to this new book.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed)
10:00 AM (72 min)
The first full-length animated feature ever, Prince Achmed is loosely based on tales from The Arabian Nights. This enchanting film tells its story—an evil sorcerer trying to best the princely hero—entirely through cut-paper silhouettes against tinted and toned backdrops. Director Reiniger’s exquisitely expressive cutouts depict magical scenes of adventure involving flying horses, Aladdin, the Witch of Fiery Mountain, and the beautiful Princess Pari Banu, among others! A treat for all ages!



The Last Man on Earth
12:00 PM (70 min)
This gender-bending 1924 comedy imagines the year 1954 when an epidemic of “masculitus” has wiped out the male population, except for one sad sack, Elmer Smith (Earle Foxe). Gertie the Gangster (Grace Cunard) discovers the hermit Elmer and sells him to the government—for a hefty $10 million—where his fate will be decided in a boxing match on the floor of the US Senate!  


Tol'able David
2:00 PM (94 min)
D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms made Richard Barthelmess a star, but it was Henry King’s Tol’able David that cemented his place in the silent firmament. Barthelmess is the sensitive young David forced to confront brutal Goliaths in King’s rustic American coming-of-age tale. David’s serene Appalachian childhood comes to an end when a trio of outlaws terrorizes his town, crippling his brother and causing the death of his father.

The Rat
4:30 PM (78 min)
Set in the criminal underworld of Paris, this 1925 British box-office smash hit features the beguiling Ivor Novello as the apache Pierre Boucheron, aka The Rat. Novello would go on to star in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger (1926) and Downhill (1927), but it was The Rat that made him a Valentino-like sensation. Novello’s knife-throwing Rat (a role he created for himself on stage) is dangerous to men, irresistible to women—especially to slumming aristocrat Zélie de Chaumet (Isabel Jeans). Director Cutts does a splendid job bringing Belle Époque Paris to life in his London studio. 

Lady Windermere's Fan
7:00 PM (90 min)
Silent Oscar Wilde! If any filmmaker in history could convey the wit of the audaciously verbal Wilde in purely visual terms, it was the audaciously clever Ernst Lubitsch, aided here by a superb cast: May McAvoy as Lady Windermere, Ronald Colman as Lord Darlington, and Irene Rich as the notorious Mrs. Erlynne. Wilde’s biting comedy of social affectation and hypocrisy finds perfect expression under Lubitsch’s deft direction. The two masters shared an ethos, voiced here by Wilde’s Lord Darlington: “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.” 
Sex in Chains (Geschlecht in Fesseln)
9:15 PM (92 min)
William Dieterle, who would go on to direct Hollywood classics like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Portrait of Jennie, started his career as actor/director Wilhelm Dieterle in Germany. Despite its lurid English translation, Sex in Chains is actually a message film about the human cost of imprisonment—for the imprisoned and society—that argues for prison reform. Dieterle himself plays the protagonist Franz Sommer, in jail for involuntary manslaughter, who turns to his cellmate for companionship. The film’s depiction of prison homosexuality was far ahead of its time, and so bold as to acknowledge that it could even lead to love.
Fans of Pandora's Box may recognize someone in this still.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pandora’s Box (Pandoran lipas) with Louise Brooks screens in Helsinki, Finland on November 27 and December 1

The National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI) in Helsinki, Finland will screen Pandora’s Box (Pandoran lipas) on November 27 and December 1, 2017 as part of their ongoing Louise Brooks series.

Brooks is the focus of the four film series at the country’s National Audiovisual Institute, which is set to show Beggars of Life on October 12 and 15, Diary of a Lost Girl (Kadotetun päiväkirja) on October 19 and 21, Prix de beaute (Miss Europa) on October 27 and 29, and Pandora’s Box (Pandoran lipas) on November 27 and December 1.

Here is some further information from the KAVI site. Times and ticket availability for each film may be found HERE.
Louise Brooks, kimaltava tähdenlento
12.10.2017 - 01.12.2017

Louise Brooksin elokuvauraa voi luonnehtia tähdenlennoksi, sillä hänen aktiivinen elokuvauransa kesti vain vuosikymmenen. Parhaimmat elokuvansa hän teki Euroopassa G. W. Pabstin kanssa. Hollywoodin Brooks jätti sopimusrikkojana, eikä paluu unelmatehtaaseen enää onnistunut.

The following is from the KAVI website:


Ohjaaja: G. W. Pabst
Henkilöt: Louise Brooks, Gustav Diessl, Fritz Kortner
Maa: Saksa
Tekstitykset: English subtitles
Ikäraja: K16
Kesto: 134 min
Teemat: ELOKUVAN HISTORIA
KINO KLASSIKKO
LOUISE BROOKS
Kopiotieto: 2K DCP • Deutsche Kinemathek (restauroitu laitos 2009 George Eastman House, in cooperation with La Cinémathèque française, Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Narodní filmový archív, Deutsche Kinemathek)
Lisätieto: Franz Wedekindin näytelmistä • sonorisoitu • uusi musiikki Peer Raben
 
G. W. Pabst löysi hehkuvan Lulunsa Howard Hawksin elokuvasta A Girl in Every Port. Pandoran lippaassa (Die Büchse der Pandora, 1929) Brooksin amoraalinen roolihahmo on viaton ja sensuelli – nainen, joka ei tunnusta rajojaan. Elokuva perustuu Franz Wedekindin näytelmiin, joissa ekspressionismi yhdistyy melodraamaan. Pabst tutki totuutta kuitenkin viileästi uusasiallisuuden hengessä, realistisesti ja vähäeleisesti tuoden samalla esiin yhteiskunnallisia epäkohtia ja kaksinaismoraalia.
 
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Kreikkalaisessa mytologiassa Pandora on kuolevainen nainen, jonka jumalat lähettivät kauneudella ja muille naiselle tärkeinä pitämillään ominaisuuksilla varustettuna kostamaan Prometheukselle tulenryöstön. Mukaansa Pandora sai lippaan, jonne oli kätketty kaikki inhimilliset synnit ja pahuudet. Tietenkin Pandora meni uteliaana avaamaan lippaan, ja ilkiömäisyydet karkasivat maailman turuille. Jumalat pääsivät sammuttamaan kostonjanonsa.

Ekspressionistina tunnettu Sveitsin saksalainen näytelmäkirjailija Frank Wedekind hyödynsi Pandora-myyttiä kahdessa näytelmässään Erdgeist (1895) ja Die Büchse der Pandora (1905), joiden päähenkilö edusti niin avointa seksuaalisuutta ja moraalista alennustilaa, että näytelmien esitykset kiellettiin Euroopan eri kolkilla lähes tyystin.

Saksalaisen Georg Wilhelm Pabstin (1885-1967) tunnetuimpiin saavutuksiin – läpimurtoelokuvan Iloton katu (1925), Brecht-sovituksen Kerjäläisooppera (1931) ja työläiskuvauksen Toveruus (1931) ohella – kuuluu edellä mainituista Wedekindin näytelmistä yhteensulautettu eroottinen melodraama Pandoran lipas (Die Büchse der Pandora, 1928). Ennen Pabstia oli aiheeseen tarttunut kameran avulla jo Leopold Jessner vuonna 1922, jolloin Lulua esitti tanskalainen supertähti Asta Nielsen.
Pabst suunnitteli ottaa elokuvansa päärooliin nuoren Marlene Dietrichin, kunnes hän päätyi Howard Hawksin ja William Wellmanin mykän kauden varhaistöissä näkemäänsä amerikkalaiseen näyttelijään ja tanssijaan Louise Brooksiin, ”amerikkalaiseen Venukseen”, jolle Pandoran lippaan Lulu muodostuikin uran tärkeimmäksi saavutukseksi.

Pandoran lipas on mustanpuhuvan romantiikan ja tunteellisen ekspressionismin täyttämä traaginen tarina naisesta, joka pyrkii olemaan täysin vapaa. Pabstin tulkinnassa Lulu on lapsenkasvoinen viettelijätär, luonnonvoima, joka kulkee sekä viattomana, että rikoksiin syyllistyen kohti tuhoaan viiltäjä-Jackin kynsissä. Lulu vaihtaa yhteiskuntaluokkaa kuin paitaa, ampuu ikääntyneen aviomiehensä tohtori Schönin (Fritz Kortner), joutuu oikeuteen murhasta syytettynä, mutta karkaa tohtorin pojan Alvan kanssa, vaeltaa orgioista toiseen, leikittelee miesten intohimolla ja päätyy lopulta prostituoiduksi.

Pabstin perusnäkemys on enemmän yksilöpsykologinen kuin yhteiskunnallinen protesti. Ihmiselle on annettu vapaus valita, mutta hän ei osaa käyttää sitä. Lulu osaa kyllä rakastaakin, mutta hän tuhoaa samalla kohteensa. Suunta onkin koko ajan valosta pimeyteen: elokuvan alun kuulaat, joskin häilyvät kuvat muuttuvat vähitellen saksalaiselle ekspressionismille ominaisen hämäriksi, pölyisiksi ja bordellinkatkuisiksi. Elämän visva on synnyttänyt hirviöitä, Pandora on avannut lippaansa.
Pandoran lipas on täynnä voimallisia symboleja, esineitä, asentoja ja eleitä, jotka saavat melkeinpä unohtamaan elokuvan mykkyyden. Pabst ei ole pelännyt groteskeja, häpeilemättömän osoittelevia kuvia, missä seikassa piileekin tämän klassikon kestävyyden kivijalka. Ollaan kaukana nykyelokuville tyypillisestä innostumattomasta taltioinnista. Lisäksi Louise Brooks on hahmo, jonka olemus hyvittää jopa murhankin.

– Antti Lindqvist, Katso 29/1984

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy birthday to Christy Pascoe - Louise Brooks Society book designer

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Christy Pascoe (aka site bilder), the designer of the covers of the three books issued (so far) by the Louise Brooks Society. Not only is Christy my wife, she is also my companion in my work. I love her so.

Here is a look at the front and back covers of the three books we've worked on. I think she has done a terrific job. And I am proud to have my name on such good looking books. BTW: More are in the works!

The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition)
by Margarete Bohme (Author) and Thomas Gladysz (Editor, author of the Introduction)
Paperback – 2010
purchase on amazon // Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Powells // ABEbooks // Alibris
also available at the George Eastman Museum store in Rochester, NY


 

Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film
by Thomas Gladysz (Author), William Wellman, Jr. (Foreword)
Paperback – 2017
purchase on amazon // Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Powells //  ABEbooks // Alibris
also available at the George Eastman Museum store in Rochester, NY





Now We're in the Air
by Thomas Gladysz (Author),‎ Robert Byrne (Foreword)
Paperback – 2017
purchase on amazon // Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Powells // ABEbooks // Alibris

Friday, November 24, 2017

TODAY: Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, screens in Bristol, England

Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks as Lulu, will be shown in Bristol, England on November 24th. This special event, hosted by South West Silents, will take place at the Cube Microplex (BS2 8 Bristol, United Kingdom). Time and ticket availability may be found HERE.

This film will show from a 35mm film print from the National Film and Television Archive with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney, and will feature an introduction by Pamela Hutchinson, author of just published BFI Film Classics book on Pandora’s Box



"G.W. Pabst’s 1929 silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box stars Louise Brooks in the role that secured her place as one of the immortal goddesses of the silver screen.

This controversial, and in its day heavily censored, film is regularly ranked in the Top 100 films of all time (including Cahiers du Cinema and Sight & Sound). Brooks is unforgettable as Lulu (Louise Brooks), a sexy, amoral dancer who creates a trail of devastation as she blazes through Weimar-era Berlin, breaking hearts and destroying lives. From Germany, she flies to France, and finally to London, where tragedy strikes. This stunning photographed film is loosely based on the controversial Lulu plays by Frank Wedekind, and also features one of the cinema’s earliest lesbian characters." 

 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Louise Brooks Society all over the place....

The Louise Brooks Society was begun in 1995 as a gathering place for like-minded individuals from around the world.


The Louise Brooks Society is devoted to the appreciation and promotion of the life and films of Louise Brooks. The mission of the society is to honor the actress by stimulating interest in her life, films and writings, as well as her place in 20th century culture; by fostering and coordinating research; by serving as a repository for relevant material; and by advocating for the preservation and restoration of her films and other material.

The purpose of the LBS is to promote interest in the actress by offering membership in a society; by serving as a focal point for related activities; by disseminating accurate information including scholarly texts and bibliographies; and by offering individuals a variety of materials to aid in their appreciation of the actress. Above all, the LBS encourages the viewing of Brooks’ surviving films, and the fellowship of her admirers.

Future projects include the publication of new material about the actress (in the form of books and e-books), as well as the ongoing development of its website, its blog, and RadioLulu. The LBS also hopes to raise funds toward the restoration and release of an unavailable Brooks’ film. Other projects are on the drawing board.


Want to learn more ? Follow these links:
Visit the LBS page on LAMB


Monday, November 20, 2017

Louise Brooks and Louise Brooks-related books for sale

Looking for something good to read? Want to learn more about Louise Brooks and her films? The Louise Brooks Society has a small number of new & gently used books for sale of interest to the dedicated fan. Some are hard to find, some less so. Each are in very good or better condition. Your purchase helps support the LBS. To place an order via PayPal, please send an email to louisebrookssociety AT gmailDOTcom

Louise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti-Star (softcover 1st printing)
edited by Roland Jaccard
-- scarce first book on the actress, contains hard-to-find writings by and about Louise Brooks and the Lulu character along with 90 illustrations, edited by the noted French film critic, novelist. This rare 1986 copy was AUTOGRAPHED in Paris by Roland Jaccard. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


Only one copy available
$250.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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The Chaperone (hardcover 1st edition)
by Laura Moriarty
-- The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922. Soon to be a major motion picture from PBS Masterpiece and the team that brought the world Downton Abbey. This copy AUTOGRAPHED by Laura Moriarty. Your purchase helps support the LBS (who supplied the cover image).


Only one copy available
$85.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA) 

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Lulu (softcover 1st edition)
by Samuel Bernstein
-- This engaging novel tells the story of the "the laughing girl with the black helmet of hair and the sexy bangs." A good read. These copies are in like new condition and are AUTOGRAPHED by the author. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


A few copies available
$15.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Louise in Love (softcover 1st edition)
by Mary Jo Bang
-- In this highly praised collection of poems, Mary Jo Bang jettisons the reader into the dreamlike world of "Louise," a woman in love. AUTOGRAPHED by the poet. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Only one copy available
$25.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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The Diary of a Lost Girl (softcover 1st edition)
by Margarete Bohme (edited & with an introduction by Thomas Gladysz)

This new edition of the original English language translation brings this important book back into print in a glorious new edition, with more than three dozen vintage illustrations. The introduction details the book's remarkable history and relationship to the 1929 film. AUTOGRAPHED by Thomas Gladysz. Your purchase helps support the LBS.

Copies available
$27.50 (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. AUTOGRAPHED by the author. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


Copies available
$13.50 (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. Your purchase helps support the LBS.

Copies available
$17.50 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Louise Brooks (hardcover 1st edition)
by Barry Paris
-- Simply put, a must read; the definitive biography of Louise Brooks and likely the best film biography every published. This edition, with illustrations, was published in 1989. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Only two copies available
$30.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Lulu in Hollywood (hardcover 1st edition)
by Louise Brooks
-- Brooks' own collection of autobiographical essays. This edition, with a photo insert, was published in 1982. Introduction by William Shawn. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Only two copies available
$25.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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The Show-Off  (hardback)
by William Almon Wolff
-- This hard-to-find novel is based on the acclaimed play by future Pulitzer Prize winner George Kelly, which was the basis of the 1926 Louise Brooks film of the same name. Scarce is dust-jacket, though a little worn. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Only two copies available
$85.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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The Diary of a Lost One (hardback)
by Margarete Bohme
-- A vintage American hardback edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, published by the Hudon Press in 1908. In good condition without dustjack. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Only one copy available
$85.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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The Canary Murder Case (hardback)
by S.S. van Dine

-- A photoplay edition of the classic mystery novel with stills from the 1929 William Powell / Louise Brooks film. In good condition, without dustjacket. Your purchase helps support the LBS.



Two copies available
$12.50 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

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Lulu in Hollywood (softcover)
by Louise Brooks
-- Brooks' own collection of autobiographical essays. This edition, with a photo insert, was published in paperback in the 1980s. Introduction by William Shawn. These copies are in very good condition. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


A few copies available
$12.50 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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San Francisco Silent Film Festival (softcover)
two programs
-- These illustrated 80-page+ programs each contain material related to Louise Brooks: The 2012 program with Louise Brooks on the cover (pictured left) contains an illustrated essay by Thomas Gladysz on Pandora's Box. The 2017 program contains a piece by Thomas Gladysz on Now We're in the Air.


One set available
$10.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Il Guanto Rosso (softcover)
by Tadeusz Rozewicz
-- A scarce copy of this 2003 Italian collection of poems by the acclaimed Polish poet, with an image of Louise Brooks on the cover (images supplied by and credited to the LBS). Text in Polish and Italian. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


Only one copy available
$40.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)


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Lulu
by Alban Berg

-- This pair of items includes the softcover libretto for Alban Berg's opera, Lulu. Printed in German in Austria by Universal Edition. Also included is this now scarce 1994 CD, featuring the Lulu Suite by Berg, with Louise Brooks on the cover. Your purchase helps support the LBS.


Only one pair available
$40.00 (includes shipping & handling within the USA)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

RARE silent version of Prix de beaute screens in Maryland on November 18

The terrific 1930 Louise Brooks film, Prix de beauté, will be shown at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Springs, Maryland on Saturday, November 18th. And better yet, it will feature live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne, a superb musician who has given new life to the rarely shown silent version of the film. (I have seen Horne accompany this version of the film in the past, and it really is terrific.) More information including ticket availability can be found HERE.

PRIX DE BEAUTÉ


Silent with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
PRIX DE BEAUTÉ aka MISS EUROPE

PRIX DE BEAUTÉ was the final film Louise Brooks made in Europe before returning to Hollywood, following her two collaborations with G.W. Pabst, PANDORA'S BOX and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL. It was badly served by its sound version, released in 1930, and has been little revived since. Shown in its silent version, however, the film is revealed to be a masterpiece of modernist melodrama, and perhaps Brooks' finest work. Lucienne (Brooks) is a typist for a Parisian newspaper alongside her boyfriend and their best pal. When she wins a beauty pageant, glamorous new opportunities start to come her way, badly straining her relationship with her old friends. 

DIR Augusto Genina; SCR René Clair; PROD Romain Pinès. France, 1930, b&w, 113 min. NOT RATED 113 Minutes, Drama
 


A few years back, I had the chance to ask Stephen a few questions about his work as a musical accompanist, and specifically for Prix de beauté. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

TG: What is your approach to composing the score for a silent film?

SH: My approach varies from event to event, depending on many variables - some of them quite prosaic, such as how much time I have! On occasion I'll be commissioned to compose a fully notated score, either to perform solo or with other musicians. Most often my approach is improvisatory, but 'planned'. By which I mean that I'll watch the film and prepare certain musical elements, along with certain specific effects, such as when I'll switch between instruments (for those that don't know, I'm something of an instrumental multi-tasker). I like the elastic quality of an improvised performance, which I think can sometimes respond from moment-to-moment in a way that is hard to do with a fixed score. But equally I recognize that people like a good tune! So I try to thread melodic elements throughout, which I guess creates something of a hybrid: an improvised score.

TG: Were there any special challenges in composing the score for a silent film that is today best known as a sound film?

SH: I think it's simplest to assume that the audience hasn't seen the sound version. Obviously several people will have done, but the event should ideally stand on its own terms, as a silent film / live music event. However, there are some challenges that this silent version presents, particularly all the images that specifically reference sound effects: the repeated close-ups of loudspeakers, etc. One has to make a decision about whether to acknowledge them musically, or 'play through' them instead.

Unless you're playing an instrument that can produce comparable sound 'effects', I think it's best to approach these things in a slightly abstract way. In the tango song scene I've chosen to focus on a couple of specific elements within the scene - rather than trying to create an impression of vocalizing, for instance. However, the song in the final scene is inescapably important, so I think that I have come up with a rather clever solution to the problem.

TG: Were you able to integrate the two songs used in the sound version into your score? If so, how?

SH: I'm largely gearing the performance to people who are coming to this film without having seen the sound version. The songs are not generally known now, so while it's important that I play a tango when they're dancing / singing a tango, I don't think that it has to be the one sung in the sound version. But just wait until the climax...

TG: What can those who attend this screening screening look forward to?

SH: A lovely but flawed film, elevated to near-classic status by the transcendence of Louise Brooks. On a musical note, I've noticed that the music I'm preparing often starts in a major key, before resolving to the minor. I think this is the influence of the Brooks persona: full of joy, but with a lingering note of melancholy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NEW BOOK: Pandora's Box (BFI Film Classics) out today in UK

Pamela Hutchinson's new book, Pandora's Box (BFI Film Classics), has just been released in the UK. (Those in the UK can order the book here.) The 106 page book, published by the British Film Institute, is a study of the classic 1929 film starring Louise Brooks.

According to the publisher, the book "revisits and challenges many assumptions made about the film, its lead character and its star. Putting the film in historical and contemporary contexts, Hutchinson investigates how the film speaks to new audiences."

A handful of screening marking the book's publication have been set up around England. Hutchinson will be present to introduce the film and sign copies of her book. According to online sources, tickets for these events are going fast, if they haven't already sold out! The official launch event for the book will take place at a screening of Pandora's Box on Sunday November 19 at the BFI Southbank in London. Pamela will be there to introduce the film and to sign copies of the book afterwards. The film will screen on 35mm, with live accompaniment from John Sweeney. More info about that special event HERE.

There are a series of other screenings planned around the UK to support the launch of the book. You can read about them HERE. Those events include:
  • November 24, 2017: Cube Cinema, Bristol: 35mm projection, introduction, live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney. Book tickets here.
  • December 3, 2017: Phoenix Cinema, Finchley, London: 35mm projection, introduction, live accompaniment by Stephen Horne. Book tickets here.
  • December 10, 2017: Eden Court, Inverness: 35mm projection, Q&A, live accompaniment by Stephen Horne. Book tickets here.
The book is scheduled for release on November 19 in Germany and France, and in the United States on December 19, 2017. Show your support and love of Lulu, and order your copy today!

Pamela Hutchinson is the Editor of Silent London, and writes on early and silent film for the Guardian newspaper and Sight & Sound. Read her piece on Louise Brooks the Hollywood rebel HERE. And, watch for an interview with Pamela in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NEW BOOK about the Louise Brooks film, Now We're in the Air

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

Since today is a special day to all those who might read this blog, it gives me great pleasure to announce the publication of my NEWEST book, Now We're in the Air. The book is available on amazon.com, as well as barnesandnoble.com, IndieBound, and elsewhere. The retail price of this softcover edition is a mere $15.00. Order your copy today! 

For those who want one, autographed copies will be available next week. Please email me directly at silentfilmbuffATgmailDOTcom



This companion to the once "lost" 1927 Louise Brooks' film tells the story of the film’s making, its reception, and its discovery in Prague by film preservationist Robert Byrne. Also considered is the surprising impact this otherwise little known film has had on Brooks’ life and career. This 130 page, 8" x 10" book features some 15,000 words of text including two rare fictionalizations of the movie story, more than 75 little seen images, detailed credits, trivia, and a foreword by Byrne. I believe this is a book anyone interested in silent film, especially fans of the actress, will want to own.

The covers were designed by my wife, Christy Pascoe. I think she did a great job! The front cover is picture above. And here is a look at the back cover.


Of course, my previous work, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, is still available but no longer my NEWEST book. It too is available on amazon.com, as well as barnesandnoble.com, IndieBound, ABE.com and elsewhere.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NEW BOOKS: film biographies and film history

There are a number of just out and forthcoming film biographies which I am looking forward to. If you like biographies or works of film history, you will want to check out each of these titles. I haven't had a chance to read any of them yet, but plan on doing so. A couple I have dipped into. The description that follows is from the publisher. [I just got my copy of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film, and it looks great. Curtiz, of course, is the director of the 1931 Louise Brooks film, God's Gift to Women, and the book does mention the actress. The Miriam Hopkins should also be a great read. I loved the author's earlier biography of Ramon Navarro.]


Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film by Alan K. Rode
University Press of Kentucky

Academy Award–winning director Michael Curtiz (1886–1962)―whose best-known films include Casablanca (1942), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Mildred Pierce (1945) and White Christmas (1954)―was in many ways the anti-auteur. During his unprecedented twenty-seven year tenure at Warner Bros., he directed swashbuckling adventures, westerns, musicals, war epics, romances, historical dramas, horror films, tearjerkers, melodramas, comedies, and film noir masterpieces. The director's staggering output of 180 films surpasses that of the legendary John Ford and exceeds the combined total of films directed by George Cukor, Victor Fleming, and Howard Hawks.

In the first biography of this colorful, instinctual artist, Alan K. Rode illuminates the life and work of one of the film industry's most complex figures. He begins by exploring the director's early life and career in his native Hungary, revealing how Curtiz shaped the earliest days of silent cinema in Europe as he acted in, produced, and directed scores of films before immigrating to the United States in 1926. In Hollywood, Curtiz earned a reputation for his explosive tantrums, his difficulty communicating in English, and his disregard for the well-being of others. However, few directors elicited more memorable portrayals from their casts, and ten different actors delivered Oscar-nominated performances under his direction.

In addition to his study of the director's remarkable legacy, Rode investigates Curtiz's dramatic personal life, discussing his enduring creative partnership with his wife, screenwriter Bess Meredyth, as well as his numerous affairs and children born of his extramarital relationships. This meticulously researched biography provides a nuanced understanding of one of the most talented filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age.

Barbara Lamarr: The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful for Hollywood by Sherri Snyder
University Press of Kentucky

Barbara La Marr's (1896–1926) publicist once confessed: "There was no reason to lie about Barbara La Marr. Everything she said, everything she did was colored with news-value." When La Marr was sixteen, her older half-sister and a male companion reportedly kidnapped her, causing a sensation in the media. One year later, her behavior in Los Angeles nightclubs caused law enforcement to declare her "too beautiful" to be on her own in the city, and she was ordered to leave. When La Marr returned to Hollywood years later, her loveliness and raw talent caught the attention of producers and catapulted her to movie stardom.

In the first full-length biography of the woman known as the "girl who was too beautiful," Sherri Snyder presents a complete portrait of one of the silent era's most infamous screen sirens. In five short years, La Marr appeared in twenty-six films, including The Prisoner of Zenda (1922), Trifling Women (1922), The Eternal City (1923), The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924), and Thy Name Is Woman (1924). Yet by 1925―finding herself beset by numerous scandals, several failed marriages, a hidden pregnancy, and personal prejudice based on her onscreen persona―she fell out of public favor. When she was diagnosed with a fatal lung condition, she continued to work, undeterred, until she collapsed on set. She died at the age of twenty-nine.

Few stars have burned as brightly and as briefly as Barbara La Marr, and her extraordinary life story is one of tempestuous passions as well as perseverance in the face of adversity. Drawing on never-before-released diary entries, correspondence, and creative works, Snyder's biography offers a valuable perspective on her contributions to silent-era Hollywood and the cinematic arts.

Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel by Allan Ellenberger
University Press of Kentucky

Miriam Hopkins (1902–1972) first captured moviegoers' attention in daring precode films such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), The Story of Temple Drake (1933), and Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932). Though she enjoyed popular and critical acclaim in her long career―receiving an Academy Award nomination for Becky Sharp (1935) and a Golden Globe nomination for The Heiress (1949)―she is most often remembered for being one of the most difficult actresses of Hollywood's golden age. Whether she was fighting with studio moguls over her roles or feuding with her avowed archrival, Bette Davis, her reputation for temperamental behavior is legendary.

In the first comprehensive biography of this colorful performer, Allan R. Ellenberger illuminates Hopkins's fascinating life and legacy. Her freewheeling film career was exceptional in studio-era Hollywood, and she managed to establish herself as a top star at Paramount, RKO, Goldwyn, and Warner Bros. Over the course of five decades, Hopkins appeared in thirty-six films, forty stage plays, and countless radio programs. Later, she emerged as a pioneer of TV drama. Ellenberger also explores Hopkins's private life, including her relationships with such intellectuals as Theodore Dreiser, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and Tennessee Williams. Although she was never blacklisted for her suspected Communist leanings, her association with these freethinkers and her involvement with certain political organizations led the FBI to keep a file on her for nearly forty years. This skillful biography treats readers to the intriguing stories and controversies surrounding Hopkins and her career, but also looks beyond her Hollywood persona to explore the star as an uncompromising artist. The result is an entertaining portrait of a brilliant yet underappreciated performer.

Harry Langdon: King of Silent Comedy by Gabriella Oldham and‎ Mabel Langdon,‎ with a foreword by Harry Langdon Jr.
University Press of Kentucky

Among silent film comedians, three names stand out―Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd―but Harry Langdon indisputably deserves to sit among them as the fourth "king." In films such as The Strong Man (1926) and Long Pants (1927), Langdon parlayed his pantomime talents, expressive eyes, and childlike innocence into silent-era stardom. This in-depth biography, which features behind-the-scenes accounts and personal recollections compiled by Langdon's late wife, provides a full and thoughtful picture of this multifaceted entertainer and his meteoric rise and fall.

Authors Gabriella Oldham and Mabel Langdon explore how the actor developed and honed his comedic skills in amateur shows, medicine shows, and vaudeville. Together they survey his early work on the stage at the turn of the twentieth century as well as his iconic routines and characters. They also evaluate his failures from the early sound period, including his decision to part ways with director Frank Capra. Despite his dwindling popularity following the introduction of talkies, Langdon persevered and continued to perform in theater, radio, and film―literally until his dying day―leaving behind a unique and brilliant body of work.

Featuring never-before-published stories and photos from his immediate family, this biography is a fascinating and revealing look at an unsung silent film giant.

Mr. Suicide: Henry "Pathe" Lehrman and The Birth of Silent Comedy by Thomas Reeder
BearManor Media

It was every immigrant’s dream. Within ten years of his 1906 arrival in the U.S., Henry Lehrman had achieved both fame and fortune in the fledgling film industry. Widely acknowledged as the creator of frenetic comedies of unusual artistry and unparalleled mayhem, Lehrman’s guidance and creativity ushered newcomer Charles Chaplin to international popularity at Mack Sennett’s Keystone. Roscoe Arbuckle, Ford Sterling, and numerous others benefited immeasurably from his direction as well, at Keystone and later at Lehrman’s own Sterling, L-Ko, and Fox Sunshine companies. By 1919, Lehrman’s meteoric rise led to the realization of his dreams: full independence and artistic control with his Henry Lehrman Comedies. And then it all collapsed. Lehrman’s career hit the skids with the studio’s failure, followed by his involvement in the era’s most notorious scandal: the alleged rape and subsequent death of Lehrman’s fiancé, Virginia Rappe, at the hands of his friend Arbuckle. MR. SUICIDE: HENRY “PATHE” LEHRMAN AND THE BIRTH OF SILENT COMEDY is a riveting cautionary tale for all aspiring artists whose dreams exceed their grasp.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks, shows in Brooklyn on November 12

Beggars of Life, the acclaimed 1928 silent film starring Louise Brooks, will be shown today at the Brooklyn Public Library in Brooklyn, New York. An American silent film classic, Beggars of Life stars Louise Brooks as a train-hopping hobo who dresses like a boy to survive.

This screening, part of the Sunday Silent Movie Matinee, will take place at 12:30 pm at the Central Library, Dweck Center. Hosted & Curated by Ken Gordon, with Live Piano Accompaniment by Bernie Anderson. More information may be found HERE.

BEGGARS OF LIFE (1928) 82 minutes

"In celebration of Louise Brooks' upcoming birthday, on November 14th, we present her best American film and dramatic role. She plays a young woman, who, in self-defense, kills her guardian when he tries to molest her. Pursued by the police, she disguises herself as a boy and joins a young hobo, played by Richard Arlen, as they try to ride freight-trains toward freedom, until confronted by a group of hoboes and the intimidating Oklahoma Red, played by Wallace Beery. Adapted from a book by Jim Tully, subtitled "A Hobo Autobiography," about his years as a road-kid. Directed by William A. Wellman, who had earlier directed the award-winning WINGS (1927)."

Silent Movie Matinees are sponsored by Los Blancos and a generous anonymous donor.

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. Based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, and directed with adventuresome verve by William Wellman (Wings, The Public Enemy, A Star is Born, The Ox-Bow Incident, etc....), Beggars of Life is an essential American original.

See the movie - read the new book about the movie!

This first ever study of 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 (screen legend 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.” With more than 50 little seen images, and a foreword by William Wellman, Jr.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Émile Zola's Chanson de Lulu -- of interest to those who inhabit the Lulu-verse

I came across this sheet music online, and thought it might be of interest to those of us who inhabit the Lulu-verse. It is a song titled "Chanson de Lulu" by Émile Zola (words) and Alfred Bruneau (music). It comes from a four act opera called L'Ouragan.

Émile Zola (1840-1902), of course, is the famed French author of Nana and other literary works. [On July 26, 1958, Louise Brooks viewed a print of Jean Renoir's film version of Nana at the George Eastman House -- follow THIS LINK to view a video clip from the film.]

Alfred Bruneau (1857-1934) was a French composer who played a key role in the introduction of realism in French opera. Zola and Bruneau collaborated on a three operas, including L'Ouragan. It was considered his best work. The sheet music shown below was published in France in 1901. L'Ouragan was given in Moscow in a Russian translation in 1905.

One reference I found described the opera as a "gloomy story of love, jealousy, and revenge" set among fisher-folk on an unnamed coast. Otherwise, I haven't been able to find much else about this piece, and how it might fit, if at all, into the Lulu-lineage. (There was, as well, a famous circus performer named Lulu in Paris around the turn of the last century.) Some additional images from the original 1901 opera production may be found HERE.

Would anyone know of an English-language translation of "Chanson de Lulu" ?



 

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