Louise Brooks Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joseph Young, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Louise Brooks...
    [​IMG]
    (Courtesy of the phenomenal Louise Brooks Society Webpage which should be visited by everyone and anyone who want to know more about Ms. Brooks.
    **Louise Brooks**
    Probably best recognized for her role as the vixen Lulu in G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box (1929) and her work in the Pabst film Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), Louise Brooks defied 'conventional Hollywood wisdom' and for a short number of years established herself as an independent, fiery, and anomalous presense in Hollywood during the late 1920's and early 1930's. Before long, she had quit pictures, however, discouraged with a studio system that rewarded obedience and sexual favor and punished free-thinking and intellect.
    Her striking, trendsetting a-line 'bob' hairstyle, aquiline features and naturalistic, haunting presense in front of the camera gave her a unique timeless quality that would not be out of place even today. She is a cult icon, a 20th century legend with the same international recognition as contemporaries WC Fields, Humphrey Bogart, and Marion Davies. Louise Brooks lived a long life, and spent many of her later years in Rochester NY, in solitude.
    [​IMG]
    The reason I decided to post an homage is due to a recent discovery that several people I know have not heard of Ms. Brooks! [​IMG] While I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here on the HTF, I thought it would be fitting to stop and recognize her appeal, her talent, her films, and her life.
    [​IMG]
    Seven years ago, I had an opportunity to see a print of Pandora's Box with the Club Foot Orchestra's live interpretive rendition of the soundtrack. I have since seen a smattering of her pictures, and several of her higher profile films are available on home video, but at some point it would be wonderful to see a Criterion release or something along those lines.
    Is there anyone else on the HTF who shares this appreciation of the films of Louise Brooks? How does she figure into the canon of early American (and European) cinema? How has her unique style reveberated into present fads and styles, or into current cinema (such as Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction)?
    Thanks for sharing.
    ~joseph
     
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Am just about to order LOST GIRL, and am watching for any release of PANDORA's BOX.

    On the subject of The Look, was watching SON OF DRACULA last night, and thinking the actress who plays the girl who wants to wed Count Alucard looks like Bettie Page. Lost of those monster movies had great Goth girl characters.

    Louise Brooks didn't invent the Femme Fatale image, but she gave it one of its most recognized looks.
    PULP FICTION was just a blip for Uma, but she never looked better in my eyes.

    I like the 20's music. Club Foot Orchestra! I see THE MODERNs is coming to DVD shortly. I don't remember any Brooks references in it, but it has great 20's music.

    Do you remember ISADORA? Would be nice to have sympathetic biopics of characters like Louise or Bettie...

    I have long asked why Sarah Michelle Gellar doesn't get into the roles that would make her as precious as Lillian Gish became, or Louise Brooks.
     
  3. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The current Kino DVD of Diary of a Lost Girl is very nice and it must have been utterly shocking in its day. It still packs a punch, and Louise is great.
    Still no sign of Pandora's Box; Criterion has the rights secured but seem intent on churning out discs of marginally important documentaries and things that just happen to be in the Janus Films catalog instead of really important films like PB. [​IMG]
    She's kind of like James Dean, in that her reputation rests on a tiny handful of movies. It's interesting that these picture, and foreign silents to boot, have so captured the imaginations of many.
     
  4. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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  5. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    I've been a big fan of Louise Brooks since I saw the special on her (Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu) on TCM three or four years ago. Her beautiful face has been the wallpaper on my computer ever since. The TCM special is out on DVD and I highly recommend it.

    What I really liked about her was that she was incredibly intelligent and didn't suffer fools gladly. Unfortunately, the Hollywood of her day couldn't look past her beauty to her mind or tolerate her outspokeness.

    According to a chat with Criterion last year, they do have the rights to Pandora's Box and are anxious to release it. It has been somewhat problematic for them but they said to look for it in 2003.

    Rob
     
  6. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the info guys. [​IMG]
    I am surprised that so few people responded to this thread.
    [​IMG]
    ~j
     
  7. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I watched LOOKING for LULU last night. A very fine documentary, if short. I was taken with how good many of the clips were, from silent movies that I take it have never been issued on DVD. The clarity of image was outstanding, whereas the clips from Beggars of Life or Pandora's Box seemed blurry, full of those little flashes and scratches, that seems consistent with the age of those films.

    I noticed that William Powell was in Yellow Canary. Since THE THIN MAN is being issued, maybe some of his fans could join in the small (?) chorus asking for Louise Brooks films?

    I'm sure you're right about today's climate, Joseph. SMG does Clairol commercials and married Freddie Prinze Jr. I guess Joss Whedon's sensibilities must be given most of the credit for Buffy. But a year or so ago there was rumour of an SMG movie called THE IT GIRL, and it raised my hopes.

    Very good news about a possible Criterion issue of PANDORA's BOX.

    Trivia There was a strip club on Bank Street in Ottawa in the early 1970s that called itself Pandora's Box....

    PS - where does one find a big enough Lulu pic for wallpaper? Nearly all the images I've found are about 2x3"
     
  8. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Region 2 UK has released a special edition of Pandora's Box which also includes the documentary Looking for Lulu. I've been holding off buying it, hoping that Criterion will make an annoucement.
     
  9. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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  10. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Just received THE DIARY OF A LOST GIRL, and it stops playing properly half-way through. It completely locks on video, and sound continues in a garbled version.

    Its the first time this has happened on a Kino disk. I've emailed Kino, but wonder if anyone else has had a problem with this disk? Is it worth reordering in the hope I get a non-defective disk?
     

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