“Love is a publicity stunt, and making love – after the first curious raptures – is only another petulant way to pass the time waiting for the studio to call.”
– Louise Brooks, quoted on Internet Movie Database (imdb.com)
Whew! How to explain the enigmatic allure and enduring appeal of Louise Brooks? Many admirers have tried.
A mini bio on imdb (credited to a Heidi MacDonald) tells us Ms. Brooks was the quintessential flapper of the Roaring 20s “while blatantly flaunting the accepted sexual and societal roles of women at the time. She is best known for her starring roles in G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl which were both filmed in Weimar Germany in 1929. She quit acting in 1938 at the age of 32 … She spent many years living in obscurity until (she was) rediscovered in the 1950s to great acclaim. Her status as one of the great actresses and beauties of motion pictures continues to this day.”
Writing in Bright Lights Film Journal on the centenary of her birth (she was born in 1906) Dan Callahan tells us: ” When she made her films in the roaring twenties, Brooks was at best a second-tier star … Yet she is better known today than Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, and many other silent heavyweights; her failure has lasted much longer than their success … you really only have to watch one, perhaps two films at most, then glide across the spare, highly controlled pages of her book of essays, Lulu in Hollywood, and you are left with an intense impression: she was so modern, so ahead of her time … Brooks was a beautiful loser … and won everlasting cult love in the process.”
She was the inspiration for , according to Laird Borelli in style.com, “a comic strip (Dixie Dugan), a play (Show Girl), a sci-fi novel (The Invention of Morel, later adapted into the movie Last Year at Marienbad), songs by (UK pop act) Orchestral Maneuvres in the Dark and (U.S. alternative rock band) Soul Coughing … ”
According to the Louise Brooks Society , “Anna Karina’s characters in Jean Luc Godard’s Une Femme est une Femme (1961) and Vivre sa Vie (1962) are modelled after the actress.” (For more about LBS (“At last count, its 1400 members hail from 49 countries on six continents! From Australia to Zimbabwe, from Canada to Argentina, from Canary Islands to Czech Republic …”) click on http://www.pandorasbox.com/
Personally I like Kenneth Tynan’s article (see link below). The famed critic visited Ms. Brooks in the latter part of her life and while thumbing through her collection of photographs she delivered a running commentary on the famous folks in the photos and her memories of them.
She is also on YouTube. Just type her name into the search engine and you will see clips from her silent films, bit parts in talkies and a fascinating interview Lulu in Berlin made late in her life by documentarians Richard Leacock and Susan Woll.