Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Christmas Album: Louise Brooks

Day Two of our Holiday round-up finds actress and icon Louise Brooks impassively contemplating the impending festive month ahead. Louise, who had an intriguing contrary streak, seems indifferent to that modernistic metallic looking tree that is drooping next to her, doesn't she? Then again, perhaps Brooks is thinking about that lonely man she was to meet on a joyless holiday street on Christmas Eve in London at the end of G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box (1928)...but, I don't want to spoil that ending for anyone.

Kansas born Louise Brooks, a trained dancer with the Denishawn troupe who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies, brought an apparently pure naturalism to her roles in films, beginning as an uncredited moll in The Street of Forgotten Men (1925), making a splash with director Howard Hawks' A Girl in Every Port and Beggars of Life under the direction of William Wellman, both in 1928. Despite her enduring European films made at the end of the '20s, among them, Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) and Prix de Beauté (1930), her American career petered out as silents faded away, in large part due to her own lack of interest, ending completely with Overland Raiders (1938), a sad little Western with a very young cowboy player, John Wayne, (who enchanted her).


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