The Blue Raccoon

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Louees On The Flying Trapeze...

Billion-eyed audience, for your viewing pleasure, a laggard recognition of the 101st nativity anniversary of one of film's greatest and yet obscure personalities, Mary Louise Brooks, born in Cherryvale, Kansas, Nov. 14, 1906.

These images, via brooksie, show her in all her lithe-armed glory in the otherwise awful 1929 Philo Vance detective adaptation, The Canary Murder Case. The film shows early-going promise in its champagne-woozy perspectives of Louise as a calculating show girl, perched here on her swing that swoops over the heads of evening clothes attired swells and belles. One wonders of Baz Luhrmann ever viewed the film prior to his 2001 Moulin Rouge!

[Moulin Rouge! still from allmoviephoto]

Brooksians know that the '29 film was a mish-mash, created as a silent then dubbed, and Louise refused good money to go contribute her voice, and told Paramount's mighty Budd Schulberg where he could shove his cash.

Her career in The Pitchas was pretty much over after that, except for some minor roles in worse and worse films. Hollywood then--and now--didn't much cotton to uppity Talent/Product telling the Man-agement where to get off and how. Louise gets the last laugh, though, because she made a trifecta of fine European films, Pandora's Box, Diary of a Lost Girl, and the kitchen sink vérité of the Prix de Beauté. The latter has perhaps the most amazing final moments ever in cinema.

I insist, could be re-made today--perhaps by Baz Luhrmann himself--set in New York, or for gritty regional character, a small Southern town in the 1950s--or even the 1980s--in which our heroine tries to become a national sensation despite her man's jealousy through an MTV-esque talent contest. It sort of got made with Star 80. This is a cautionary tale about buying into the cold and callous promises of the Society of the Spectacle: "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing."

But why do that? There's the dubbed original, (Louees made to speak the French when she was conversant just in "Kansas English"), and Louise cavorting in a bathing suit. Now, that's entertainment.

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At 11:00 AM, Blogger basicmagic said...

nice one, harry!

vincent, in buffalo

At 11:27 AM, Blogger HEK said...


Thanks for looking in on us!


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