Sunday, March 18, 2012

Louise Brooks: Away from Hollywood

Louise Brooks (1906-1985) was another independent spirit, reminding me in some ways of Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). They were both sharp and have, over the long run, presented an enduring challenge to cultural norms. Be free, they seem to say, from personal experience. 

Louise Brooks basically flipped off the Hollywood status quo. from the  perspective of the early 21st century, two of her most "real" films were directed by Austro-German  filmmaker G.W. Pabst: Die Büchse der Pandora / Pandora's Box (1929) and Tagebuch einer Verlorenen / Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). They are masterful, indeed, among the last of the original silent film period.

Louise Brooks was not only an alluring Ziegfeld Follies dancer and accomplished, independent-minded motion picture star -- she was also an incisive writer. You quickly catch her take on things in Lulu in Hollywood, Expanded Edition (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), a collection of her sometimes acerbic essays. Here one finds vivid descriptions of W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, G.W. Pabst, Lillian Gish, Greta Garbo and many others, combined with a philosophical dismissal of the Hollywood production code.

Today's Rune: Partnership.


Adorably Dead said...

Sounds like my kind of gal! :p

For a moment I thought you were going to write about the French film Amelie, the picture reminded me of it.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've heard about her but don't know much. I don't know that I've seen anything from her.