Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Rocky Twins - Louise Brooks look-alike drag queens from the 1930s

I recently came across a reference to The Rocky Twins -- a pair of Louise Brooks look-alike drag queens whose real names were Paal and Leif Rocky. They were Norwegian twins. According to the online endnotes Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise (Simon & Schuster) by Sam Irvin, The Rocky Twins "were known to prance around the stage practically naked, wearing only thongs to conceal their family jewels. At other times, they would dance in drag as Jazz Age beauties, dead ringers for Louise Brooks."

During the Pansy Craze of the early 1930s, they "danced in the capitols of the world" and performed with and for the likes of Josephine Baker, Mistinguett, Charles B. Cochran, Max Reinhardt and even the Dolly Sisters - who they were said to impersonate. They also knew Lorenz Hart, Lew Cody, Edmund Goulding and other artists and actors, and were photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene. The Rocky Twins can also be seen with Marion Davies in the 1933 film Blondie of the Follies.

While there is nothing to tie them specifically to Louise Brooks -- especially as they were said to impersonate the Dolly Sisters, who also resembled Brools, I wonder if Brooks knew of them. She was certainly comfortable with men in drag and others gay entertainers of the time (Brooks frequented Bruz Fletcher's nightclub in Hollywood). Here is another pic of The Rocky Twins.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

New release: Diary of a Lost Girl first reviews

Diary of a Lost Girl
The second and final collaboration of actress Louise Brooks and director G.W. Pabst (Pandora's Box), DIARY OF A LOST GIRL is a provocative adaptation of Margarethe Böhme's notorious novel, in which the naive daughter of a middle class pharmacist is seduced by her father's assistant, only to be disowned and sent to a repressive home for wayward girls. She escapes, searches for her child, and ends up in a high-class brothel, only to turn the tables on the society which had abused her. It's another tour-de-force performance by Brooks, whom silent film historian Kevin Brownlow calls an "actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history." - Thomas Gladysz

Germany 1929 112 Min. B&W 1920x1080p (1.33:1) Stereo 2.0
German inter titles with optional English subtitles

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (Tagebuch einer Verlorenen)
Directed by G.W. Pabst

Based on the novel by Margarethe Böhme Photographed by Sepp Allgeier
With Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp, André Roanne, Franziska Kinz
Music by Javier Perez de Azpeitia (piano)
Reconstruction and Restoration: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna;Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF, Frankfurt am Main; Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden
Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, Director, Louise Brooks Society
Bonus: "Windy Riley Goes Hollywood" (1931, 18 Min., featuring Louise Brooks)

"We are impressed with the image quality of this new home video edition of Louise Brooks' last great film and recommend it enthusiastically to Brooks fans and silent film collectors alike." - Silent Era

"With a good commentary, and a later American short subject starring Brooks.... The Kino Classics Blu-ray of Diary of a Lost Girl is a marvelous reconstruction and restoration. With their plain title cards and tight continuity, German films of this time can be a little abrupt. But the film is surprisingly easy to follow. The inter-titles are in German, with English subs. We’re told that pieces of the picture came from different sources. All blend well save for one obvious recovered censor scene in which Meinert actually lays Thymian down on a bed. Most of the rest of the picture is in great shape. It was indeed strange, recognizing bits of the show from the long-ago screening, but only now having a clue as to what’s going on. . . . The presentation is given a piano score by Javier Perez de Azpeitia, which plays very well. Thomas Gladysz’s commentary is thorough and informative. . . . The commentary tells us everything known about practically everybody who shows up on screen." - Glenn Erickson, Trailers from Hell 

"The Kino blu ray is a beautiful high def transfer . . . The insightful audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz offers a wealth of fascinating information about the movie and about Ms. Brooks" -- film historian James Neibaur,  examiner.com

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Louise Brooks in Dana Delany's library

Emmy award winner and longtime Louise Brooks Society member Dana Delany was recently asked by the New York Post which books figure prominently in her library. Her answer came as no surprise.
Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks

When I was in my 20s, Nick Kazan — Zoe’s dad — told me I reminded him of Louise Brooks, but I didn’t know who she was. Then I saw “Pandora’s Box” and was blown away. Her acting was so naturalistic, sexual and innocent at the same time. She didn’t find her voice until the end of her life, with these essays, which were published in the New Yorker.
Dana Delany     Photo: FilmMagic

Friday, October 9, 2015

KINO's new DVD and Blu-ray of The Diary of a Lost Girl starring Louise Brooks

Here I am holding advance copies of the new KINO DVD and Blu-ray of The Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), for which I provided the audio commentary -- and in which are revealed are number of previously unknown and little known facts about the film and its making. Like, the name of the musical group seen performing in the nightclub scene, and the actor (who was James Joyce's friend) who appears in the film who also had a part in the first ever staging of Pandora's Box in Vienna (alongside Frank Wedekind), and the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari connection, and the fact that one scene was filmed in present day Poland, and more.....

The discs release on October 20th. And, there will be a release party in San Francisco on November 14th (Louise Brooks birthday) at Video Wave in Noe Valley at 2:00 in the afternoon. Details to come.

Don't miss out. Pre-order your copy today! Oh, and here is the trailer.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks screens in Brooklyn, NY on Nov 8

Pandora's Box, the G.W. Pabst directed film starring Louise Brooks, will be shown one month from today at the Brooklyn Public Library on Sunday, November 8.

The screening is free, and is part of a series of silent film screenings at the library curated and hosted by Ken Gordon. More information may be found HERE.

This special screening of the 1929 film coincides with the William Kentridge staging of the 1937 Alban Berg opera, Lulu, at the Metropolitan Opera in Manhattan on various dates during the month of November.

The film and the opera are both based on Frank Wedekind's plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box, 1904).

The screening, with live piano accompaniment by Bernie Anderson, will take place at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, at 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238, which is at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway.

Although the branch does not open until 1:00 pm, a side-door, on Eastern Parkway, will open at 12:00 noon, to allow entry to the Dweck Center Auditorium, where introductions will begin at 12:30 pm, and the film soon after.

Louise Brooks' birthday takes place on November 14th. Why not attend this special event to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Slovenian advertisement with Louise Brooks and Marlene Dietrich

I recently came across this 1930 newspaper advertisement from Slovenia which promotes the showing of two films, Sinji angelj (The Blue Angel) with Marlene Dietrich, and a Louise Brooks film, here titled Zrtev velike ljubezni, which translates into Victims of a Great Love.

I am stumped as to what Victims of a Great Love would be -- either I would guess Diary of a Lost Girl or Prix de Beaute. Can any Slovenian speakers help?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Louise Brooks: Cool Pic of the Day

Louise Brooks looks like she just returned from a trip from New Zealand or Singapore -- or is she ready to step out and have some fun?