Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nominate Louise Brooks films for 2016 National Film Registry

It's that time, once more. The Library of Congress is now soliciting nominees for their 2016 National Film Registry list. Please take a moment to nominate one or both of these two American silent films, The Show-Off (1926) and Beggars of Life (1928). Each is a fine film, very American, and each star Louise Brooks.

You can nominate as many films as you like, so why not add a fave Colleen Moore or Clara Bow film as well. It is easy to do. Just send a simple email with your nominees (reasons optional) to

Here is my short list:

The Show-Off (1926)
Beggars of Life (1928)
Why Be Good (1929)
Synthetic Sin (1929)
What Price Hollywood? (1932)

More information HERE: Your voice is important! Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final selections. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The National Film Registry historically has included only those films that were produced or co-produced by an American film company, typically for theatrical release or recognized as a film through film festivals or film awards. If in doubt, check the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for country of origin. Registry criteria does not specifically prohibit television programs, commercials, music videos or foreign productions, however, the original intent of the legislation that established the Registry was to safeguard U.S. films. Consequently the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress give first consideration to American motion pictures.

Looking for ideas on possible films to nominate? Check here for hundreds of titles not yet selected to the National Film Registry. This link will take you to the complete list of films currently on the Registry.

For consideration, please forward your recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) via email to: Please include the date of the film nominated, and number your recommendations. Listing your nominations in alphabetical order is very much appreciated, too. There’s no need to include descriptions or justifications for your nominations unless they’re films that have not been distributed widely or otherwise made available to the public. For example, if a film is listed in the Internet Movie Database or the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, no further information beyond title and date of release is necessary. Lastly, please tell us how you learned of the Registry.
Email is preferred; however, to submit via regular mail, send your nominations to:

National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Friday, August 28, 2015

Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players

 Louise Brooks, one of the most popular of the younger Paramount players. Clipping from 1927.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Louise Brooks and F. Scott Fitzgerald - a connection

I recently came across a review of an intriguing book, The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love, by James L.W. West III. The book was published by Random House in 2005. The review, by Fitzgerald scholar/biographer Scott Donaldson, reveals what The Perfect Hour only hinted at --  a previously unknown link between actress Louise Brooks and author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The publisher description of The Perfect Hour summarizes the book this way: "In The Perfect Hour, biographer James L. W. West III reveals the never-before told story of the romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first love, Ginevra King. They met in January 1915, when Scott was nineteen, a Princeton student, and sixteen-year-old Ginevra, socially poised and confident, was a sophomore at Westover School. Their romance flourished in heartfelt letters and quickly ran its course–but Scott never forgot it. Ginevra became the inspiration for Isabelle Borgé in This Side of Paradise and the model for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Scott also wrote short stories inspired by her–including “Babes in the Woods” and “Winter Dreams,” which, along with Ginevra’s own story featuring Scott are reprinted in this volume. With access to Ginevra’s personal diary, love letters, photographs, and Scott’s own scrapbook, West tells the beguiling story of youthful passion that shaped Scott Fitzgerald’s life as a writer. For Scott and Ginevra, “the perfect hour” was private code for a fleeting time they almost shared and then yearned after for the rest of their lives. Now West brings that perfect hour back to life in all its freshness, delicacy, and poignant brevity."

Being something of a F. Scott Fitzgerald devotee, I purchased a copy of The Perfect Hour and read it and liked it. If you like reading about Fitzgerald, you should too!

Deering Davis, 1926
What West reveals is that in the mid-Teens, while being courted by Fitzgerald, Ginerva King was infatuated with a "Chicago boy" by the name of Deering Davis, with the two suitors aware of one another. What Scott Donaldson reveals is that Deering Davis is the same Chicago boy / Chicago playboy who married Brooks in 1933.

Of course, it is known that Brooks had met Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald at a Hollywood party. Brooks described meeting the Fitzgeralds at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles in 1927. “They were sitting close together on a sofa, like a comedy team, and the first thing that struck me was how small they were.” Brooks “had come to see the genius writer,” adding, “but what dominated the room was the blazing intelligence of Zelda’s profile… the profile of a witch.”

What we don't know is whether or not Deering Davis (Brooks' second husband) ever revealed his earlier courtship of Fitzgerald's "first love" to Brooks. I suppose it's unlikely, as the Davis-King romance was one of youth and had taken place nearly 20 years earlier.

It has always been a mystery to me as to what Brooks saw in Davis. Was it the fact he was tall, dark, and handsome? I am just a straight guy and no judge of men. But to me, Fitzgerald is handsome, Davis not so. I don't think Davis photographed all that well, and he always seemed to have dark rings under his eyes. Ginerva King thought him a very good dancer, as did Brooks, who formed a dance team with Davis for a short time in the early 1930s.

What we do know is that Davis had a reputation as a Chicago playboy, and romanced many women. Evidently, he had what it took. Below is a little known clipping depicting Deering Davis and Louise Brooks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Louise Brooks and the koala bear

We've all seen the picture of Louise Brooks with a koala bear, but did we ever know it's name? Meet Archie.

Monday, August 24, 2015

There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood

"There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood," by the Blue Steele Orchestra, recorded May 1930. Mabel Bateson on the vocal.

There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood... by bigband78

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The other Louise Brooks: Louise Voray

Speaking of other Louise Brooks.... the actress we know had a Hollywood double named Louise Voray. I haven't been able to find out much about her besides this one 1930 clipping. (I also own an original photograph of the image on the right depicted in the newspaper clipping. She is a look-alike.) Since Brooks worked so seldom in Hollywood around 1929 - 1930, I can't imagined there was much need for her doubling. Does anyone know anything else about Louise Voray?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The other Louise Brooks and the Lindbergh baby kidnappers

In the 1920s and 1930s, there were two Louise Brooks whose name popped up in the press.

The other Louise Brooks, the pretty blonde showgirl whose career shadowed that of the actress Louise Brooks, was thought at one time to have been mixed up in the Lindbergh kidnapping case. The Associated Press send out her picture with the following caption in 1932.

"Louise Brooks, former showgirl, was being sought by Boston, Mass., authorities after police learned that the girl's mother, Mrs. Martin Brooks, of Boston, had received a letter from Louise purporting to tell that she knew the kidnappers of the Lindbergh baby, March 31, 1932. It is one of the hundreds of clues that police throughout the country are patiently tracking down."

Was this just a publicity stunt, or some sort of mix-up? I haven't been able to find anything else on this stray bit of information. Are there any Lindbergh baby kidnapping experts who know where this "clue" went - aside from the fact this Louise Brooks wasn't involved.