Louise Brooks - The Girl in the Black Helmet


Ev'ry little breeze seems to whisper Louise. From Louise, a 1929 song

Milwaukee Film recently showed the cult classic Pandora's Box starring the timeless Louise Brooks with live musical accompaniment at the Oriental Theatre. She gave one of the most unforgettable performances in film history as Lulu, who is pimped by her "daddy," kept by a newspaper publisher, blackmailed by a con artist and meets Jack the Ripper. The Roaring 20s flapper would be at home in today's movies.

Barry Paris' Louise Brooks chronicles her life from a Kansas childhood to dancer in Broadway revue shows to emerging stardom as a Paramount actor, but the "Girl in the Black Helmet" was too free-spirited for the Hollywood studio system and self-destructive. When a friend asked why her movie career prematurely ended, she bluntly replied, "I like to...drink too much."

After decades in obscurity, Pandora's Box and its star reemerged to become cult favorites, which led to a second career for the well-read Brooks. She wrote a series of sardonic and perceptive essays on her movies, W. C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart and more for film journals that were eventually compiled in the well-received Lulu in Hollywood.

Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever is a coffee table book loaded with striking photos of Brooks taken by photographers ranging from the renowned Edward Steichen to Paramount studio photographer Eugene Robert Richee, who captured her best. The camera adored her. More people have seen photos of her than her movies. She was the inspiration for the comic strip Dixie Dugan and Cyd Charisse's vamp in Singin' in the Rain.

Submitted by Van Lingle Mungo

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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on May 8, 2012 7:52 AM.

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