In the story line, Dubro, a former convict, opposes his daughter's plans to marry a neighbor, Vince Harwell Ed Nelson. When Harwell's current wife suddenly arrives at the church to stop the wedding. Laurie flees and is crushed to death by a team of horses racing through town.
Even as an elderly woman, Brooks toyed with sensuality, boasting to Kenneth Tynan that she could still ejaculate clear across a room, 1 but annihilation was her real passion.
She connected sex and death better than any other screen actress. At her centenary this year, her image remains as biting, sensual, and provoking as ever. When she made her films in the roaring twenties, Brooks was at best a second-tier star, at worst a nonentity.
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. The Brooks cult has spurred many articles, including the famed Kenneth Tynan profile for The New Yorker, a new coffee table book by Peter Cowie, and an extremely seductive, definitive biography by Barry Paris.
At a book signing for his third bio, on Audrey Hepburn, Paris all but confessed that there was not much to write about Audrey. When I brought my Brooks book to be signed, his face lit up. Paris inscribed my book with his favorite Brooksie quote: Denis and Ted Shawn, became a Ziegfeld girl, then made fourteen silent films at Paramount, seven of which are now lost.
She flitted to Europe, where she made two silent films for G. Pabst, and one French sound movie. When she returned, she was reduced to a two-reel comedy, small parts in two early talkies, and two leads in bottom-of-the-barrel westerns. When she was resurrected, Brooks wrote an impressive series of articles about her Hollywood experience, and her writing sealed her legend.
She seemed to have known or at least met just about everybody who else can claim to have slept with Chaplin and Garbo? Her life is her art, and the two joined in Lulu, but never converged again.
Almost everyone has seen at least a photograph of Louise.
Film fanatics recognize her Lulu as essential viewing. She is seemingly easy in that 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: Brooks was a beautiful loser.
She pioneered the marketing of a special kind of superior loserdom and won everlasting cult love in the process. Louise Brooks can be seen to have made the most of a raw deal. Undoubtedly, her character, particularly her sexuality, was changed forever when she was molested by an older man at the age of nine.
Flowers as her Rosebud, and who are we to disagree? Surely he preoccupied her, but she was a lady devoted to perverse preoccupations. Women like Louise Brooks and thirties star Frances Farmer were later cast by themselves and others as martyrs.
Farmer had just as much potential on-screen as Louise Brooks did, and she was just as eerily beautiful. Hawks also made the most out of Louise Brooks in A Girl in Every Porta buddy comedy that was seen by Pabst and helped to win her the part of Lulu.
In the sub-par films that followed, Farmer lost her vitality by degrees. The gallant observer cannot help but think she is being punished for some reason, and it makes for more drama in the tale of her life, which is the only thing that carries any currency today. One film filled with burning promise, beauty, even genius, is not enough for the coverage Brooks and Farmer have received.
You can hardly get any worse than that, and her tragedy has been exploited by three films, the best of which, Frances starred Jessica Lange.It's something you might not have given much thought to before, but how well you can balance offers an insight into your general health.
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