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LOUISE BROOKS

by Robert Regan
“I have been taking stock of my 50 years since I left Wichita in 1922 at the age of 15 to become a dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. How I have existed fills me with horror. For I have failed in everything—spelling, arithmetic, riding, swimming, tennis, golf, dancing, singing, acting, wife, mistress, whore, friend. Even cooking. And I do not excuse myself with the usual escape of ‘not trying.’ I tried with all my heart.” Louise Brooks, in a letter to her brother. Louise Brooks was the typical Lost Woman of Hollywood, perhaps even the archetype. During the… Read more

“I have been taking stock of my 50 years since I left Wichita in 1922 at the age of 15 to become a dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. How I have existed fills me with horror. For I have failed in everything—spelling, arithmetic, riding, swimming, tennis, golf, dancing, singing, acting, wife, mistress, whore, friend. Even cooking. And I do not excuse myself with the usual escape of ‘not trying.’ I tried with all my heart.”
Louise Brooks, in a letter to her brother.


Louise Brooks was the typical Lost Woman of Hollywood, perhaps even the archetype.


During the four years from 1925 to 1928, she appeared in fourteen films, mostly for Paramount, moving from bits and window-dressing parts to supporting roles and, in Beggars of Life, leading woman. From these films and the widespread publication of her pictures in magazines and newspapers, her name and face had become quite familiar, and she was generally considered a rising star and was becoming recognized as a talented actress.


With the coming of sound, she rejected an offer to stay at Paramount with a salary cut, choosing instead to appear in a German film with a director of whom she had never heard. During the next two years in Europe, she played the leading roles in the three films that are today widely considered her best screen work: Pandora’s Box and The Diary of a Lost Girl for G.W. Pabst and Prix de beaute in France. None was particularly successful at the time.


Returning to the States, she refused to do sound retakes for The Canary Murder Case and found work hard to get. Between 1931 and 1938, she appeared in eight negligible films, sometimes in a bit part, sometimes ending on the cutting room floor. Her last film was Overland Stage Raiders, opposite young John Wayne on the very brink of stardom.


The story of Louise Brooks’ career in film sounds amazingly like that of any number of the artists written about in the Lost Women of Hollywood list. Why is she different from the others? Simply, she was found.

In the fifties, two film archivists on two continents discovered her films and began to show them. Henri Langlois, presenting her two Pabst films at the Cinemateque Francaise boldly stated, much to the consternation of the era’s guardians of culture, “There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks!” James Card of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York asked his friend, the Manhattan-based film publicist, John Springer, if he had any idea where to find Louise Brooks. Springer replied that she lived in his apartment building, across the hall from him. Card began a correspondence with Brooks, by then living a reclusive life, supported by a stipend from a former lover and by alcohol. Card was impressed by her intelligence and insight into her films and those of others and encouraged her to write, which she did for the rest of her life. A large selection of her articles on film were published in Lulu in Hollywood, still in print, highly readable, and stimulating.


In the meantime, her films began to be shown in museums, specialist houses and, occasionally, on television. Pandora’s Box is generally considered a masterpiece, and her portrayal of Lulu one of a handful of the great screen performances. In an irony which I am sure appealed to her during the last years of her life, Louise Brooks is better known today than while she was acting, and many of the biggest stars of the silent era have been virtually forgotten.


 

More about Louise Brooks:
Her book, Lulu in Hollywood, fascinating insights, well-written.
Barry Paris’ biography, thorough and highly readable.
Peter Cowie’s Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever, intelligent and knowledgeable text and many beautifully printed pictures.
Thomas Gladysz’s admirable and indispensable http://www.pandorasbox.com/ and http://louisebrookssociety.blogspot.com/

Louise Brooks on DVD: Most of her films that are know to exist are available at this time (autumn 2010).
The cornerstone of any Brooks collection is Criterion’s excellent Pandora’s Box. Not only is it a fine transfer of what is arguably her best film, but the extras include the very good TCM biography, Looking for Lulu, and Richard Leacock’s fascinating interview with her, Lulu in Berlin.
Also easily obtained in the US are :
It’s the Old Army Game
The Show-Off
Love ’Em and Leave ’Em
A Girl in Every Port
Beggars of Life
The Canary Murder Case
Diary of a Lost Girl (also includes her early sound short, Windy Riley Goes Hollywood)
Prix de beaute
Empty Saddles
Overland Stage Raiders


THE FILMS OF LOUISE BROOKS (1906-1985)


1925 The Street of Forgotten Men (Herbert Brenon), ph.: Harold Rosson.

In the spring of 1925, while appearing on Broadway in The Ziegfeld Follies, Brooks made a screen test, directed by Allan Dwan, for this film about criminals and professional beggars. The test was well-received, and she played in this picture for Famous Players, later called Paramount, then located across the East River from Manhattan in Astoria. The director, Herbert Brenon, was an important figure in the silent cinema. The previous year, he had made a popular and still well-regarded version of Peter Pan and the following year, an excellent Beau Geste. The leads were Percy Marmont, Mary Brian, and Neil Hamilton, and Brooks’ unbilled part as a moll lasts less than five minutes. However, she made an impression on the anonymous reviewer for the Los Angeles Times who wrote, “And there was a little rowdy, obviously attached to the ‘blind’ man, who did some vital work during her few short scenes.” Reel 2 of the seven reels of The Street of Forgotten Men is still missing. Part of the Brooks footage is included in Looking for Lulu.

1926 The American Venus (Frank Tuttle), ph.: J. Roy Hunt. LOST.

Some things never change. Variety said of this film that Famous Players “tried to stress the undress angle.” While the 1925 Miss America pageant was still in progress in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the studio had already begun work on the appropriately themed The American Venus under journeyman director Frank Tuttle. The winner of the coveted title, California beauty queen Fay Lanphier, was whisked off to Astoria to play an important role as a contestant and eventual winner of….the Miss America pageant! Starring Esther Ralston, Lawrence Gray, and former Keystone Kop Ford Sterling, the film also featured Brooks in her first credited performance. One reviewer said, “Consider Louise Brooks. Here is a Ziegfeld girl who brings to the screen a rare type of beauty and a warm personality.” She got a five-year contract with Famous Players, and Lanphier later appeared in Laurel and Hardy’s Flying Elephants. A few Technicolor fragments and two trailers are extant.




1926 A Social Celebrity (Malcolm St. Clair), ph.: Lee Garmes. LOST.

When Adolphe Menjou’s co-star, Greta Nissen, dropped out of this film during production, Brooks’ secondary role was rewritten and expanded and, voila!, she became the leading woman in her third movie! Some reviewers were less than enthusiastic about her acting, but most, including a number of women, were enchanted, some suggesting to the modern reader that she had already “become” Louise Brooks: “…a delightful young person with a lovely, direct gaze, an engaging seriousness, and a sudden, flashing smile that is disarming and winsome. A slim and lissome child, with personality and talent” and “She has a manner of teasing you to join her, while at the same time she warns you to keep your distance.” Either of these notices could easily have referred to her more mature work, and to indicate her nascent international reputation comes, “une bien jolie fille”!

1926 It’s the Old Army Game (Edward Sutherland), ph.: Alvin Wickoff.

Based on a number of W.C. Fields’ stage sketches and later more-or-less remade as It’s a Gift, this film was directed by Edward Sutherland, soon to be Brooks’ first husband. He later directed the Fields classic International House and Laurel and Hardy’s Flying Deuces. Brooks and Fields had become friends while both were working in the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. She later wrote, “I have never loved and laughed at W. C. Fields in films as I loved and laughed at him in the theatre. (There}…he was a make-believe character playing in a make-believe world. In films he was a real character acting in real stories. On the stage the crafty idiocy with which he attempted to extricate himself from ludicrous situations was unbelievably funny. The same idiocy attending the same situations on the screen gave his ‘real’ character sometimes a degraded, often a cruel and destructive quality.”

1926 The Show-Off (Malcolm St. Clair), ph.: Lee Garmes.

George Kelly, an uncle and inspiration to Grace Kelly, was a popular Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of the twenties. His The Show-Off and Craig’s Wife were each filmed three times. Brooks was critical of Malcolm St. Clair as a director, but I think she was unfair. Though far from being a Lubitsch, he had the right touch for domestic comedy, well illustrated by this popular film. As usual, most reviewers were more than kind to Brooks, though a few persisted saying she couldn’t act. She plays the girl next door, engaged to the leading woman’s brother, and though she has little to do, she does it well. It’s good to see that she could play a normal girl without losing any of her magnetism.

1926 Just Another Blonde (Alfred Santell), ph.: Arthur Edeson. LOST.

About 25 of this film’s 60 minutes are held by the UCLA Archive. It is said that all of Brooks’ scenes are included. On loan to First National and now working in Hollywood, she is again playing the second female lead and again, the reviewers giveth and taketh away. “Louise Brooks, while still unable to summon to her classic features an expression of real alarm when dire calamity threatens, does very well with a role that demands little more than airy banter with young men.” " . . . and Louise Brooks, who is said to be Clara Bow’s only rival as cinema’s most ravishing flapper, is a convincing argument in favor of modernism."

1926 Love ’Em and Leave ’Em (Frank Tuttle), ph.: George Webber.

One of Frank Tuttle’s better films, this adaptation of a Broadway hit is about a good sister, Evelyn Brent, and a bad sister, Brooks. Poor Brent, without Sternberg’s magic (Underworld and The Last Command) and in her first top-billed film, didn’t have a chance with such a thankless role and pitted against Brooks. The latter praised character actor Osgood Perkins, Anthony’s father, as the best actor she ever worked with. As usual, the reviews varied: “Louise Brooks is ideal in the role of hard-boiled, lying man-eating Janie.” “The real surprise of the film is Louise Brooks. With practically all connoisseurs of beauty in the throes of adulation over her generally effectiveness, Miss Brooks has not heretofore impressed anyone as a roomful (as Lorelei says) of Duses. But in Love ‘Em and Leave ’Em, unless I too have simply fallen under her spell, she gives an uncannily effective impersonation of a bad little notion counter vampire. Even her excellent acting, however, cannot approach in effectiveness the scenes where, in ’Scandals’ attire, she does what we may call a mean Charleston.” There was a remake in 1929 called The Saturday Night Kid directed by Brooks’ ex, Edward Sutherland, and with the rather odd casting of Clara Bow as the good sister, and Jean Arthur as the bad. Also in the cast was Jean Harlow in her first credited performance.

1927 Evening Clothes (Luther Reed), ph.: Harold Rosson. LOST.

Most of the reviewers made quite a todo about Brooks’ curly hairdo replacing her trademark Bob for this Adolphe Menjou vehicle, and most of them didn’t like it. I understand. It is certainly a shock in Pandora’s Box when she turns up without her bangs and her hair combed back, almost as if she’s no longer Louise Brooks. In the stills from this lost film, she looks fine, but we would have to see her in motion to appreciate the temporary look. This is also her first film not playing an American girl. She’s French. Vive la difference!

1927 Rolled Stockings (Richard Rosson), ph.: Victor Milner. LOST.

Richard Rosson was a member of one of the great film families. He and his brother Arthur each had longs careers as director and second-unit director, while brother Harold was one of the great cinematographers (and husband of Jean Harlow), and sister Helene was a fine silent actress who starred opposite Frank Borzage in his first film as director, The Pitch o’ Chance. This one is a college comedy in which two brothers, Richard Arlen and James Hall, both fall in love with the same girl. Guess who? You can’t please everyone; as one reviewer put it, " She isn’t particularly pretty and her acting is not out of the ordinary."

1927 Now We’re in the Air (Frank Strayer), ph.: Harry Perry. LOST.

In this vehicle for the comedy team of Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton (familiar to fans of B westerns of the thirties and forties), Brooks plays twin sisters, Grisette and Griselle, one raised in France and one raised in Germany. Yes, it’s that kind of movie, and it all takes place during the First World War. It’s said that the film uses air footage from Wings.

1927 The City Gone Wild (James Cruze), ph.: Bert Glennon. LOST.

This crime drama seems to be Brooks’ most “serious” film since her debut in The Street of Forgotten Men. She again plays a moll, poetically named Snuggles Joy. Several reviewers noted that she carried a gun in her purse. It also appears to have been an important production with lots of big names attached. James Cruz, fresh from Old Ironsides and The Covered Wagon directed from a script by Charles and Jules Furthman and Herman Mankiewicz. The cinematographer was masterful Bert Glennon who earlier had shot some marital comedies by De Mille, and Paul Bern’s neglected All Night Long. The same year he had photographed Sternberg’s trend-setting Underworld; he would later shoot four more Sternbergs and eight Fords. Add to this crew the popular and well-regarded Thomas Meighan in the lead, and that sounds like “major motion picture”! Just a few years ago, Kevin Brownlow asked to borrow the last known print from Paramount. They agreed, but an inspector found some nitrate deterioration on one reel and had the entire film destroyed.

1927 A Girl in Every Port (Howard Hawks), ph.: L. William O’Connell and R. J. Berquist.

Howard Hawks, whose fifth film this was said, "I wanted a different type of girI. I hired Louise because she’s very sure of herself, she’s very analytical, she’s very feminine, but she’s damn good and sure she’s going to do what she wants to do.” Brooks, on loan to Fox, doesn’t turn up until the last third of this tale of drinking and brawling and the affection between Spike, Victor Mclaglan, and Salami, Robert Armstrong. She almost breaks up the happy couple, but they go off into the sunset together at the end. This tale, inspired by What Price Glory, was remade in 1931 as Goldie with Spencer Tracy, Warren Hymer, and Jean Harlow, about to become the hottest woman of the thirties as Brooks was of the twenties.

1928* Beggars of Life* (William Wellman), ph.: Henry Gerrard.

In 1925, when Louise Brooks was dancing in the Ziegfeld Follies and Charlie Chaplin was in New York for the premiere of The Gold Rush, the two of them spent some time together. One of their evenings out was at the Schubert Theatre seeing a Maxwell Anderson play called Outside Looking In. Based on Beggars of Life, a memoir by Jim Tully, it was a highly realistic drama of hobo life. In the castwere Charles Bickford and James Cagney. I don’t know if the part that Brooks was to play in the film was in the play or the book, but I’m glad that someone thought of it. This was her best part yet in the best film of her American career. In a powerful, deservedly praised early scene, she describes her murder of her sexually abusive foster parent but, as a young reviewer pointed out, “It is much the same way in which Victor Seastrom showed thoughts in Masks of the Devil. Miss Brooks’ face was superimposed upon the action which took place during the murder, and thus the audience got her reaction to everything. It was very interesting.” Interesting, indeed. Brooks didn’t like Wellman, Tully, or co-star Richard Arlen, but she got along very well with top-billed Wallace Beery.

1928 The Canary Murder Case (Malcolm St. Clair/Frank Tuttle), ph.: Harry Fischbeck and Clifford Blackstone.

Shot silent by Mal St. Clair, this whodunit with William Powell as the amateur detective Philo Vance, suffered from the advent of sound. Paramount decided to reshoot it as a talkie, but Brooks had already been released from her contract when she refused a pay cut and was in Germany filming Pandora’s Box. When she returned from Europe, the studio’s B.P. Schulberg now offered her more money to film the sound retakes. Never one to forget an insult, she refused and found her career thwarted by rumors that her voice did not record well and that she was difficult to get along with. The retakes went ahead under Frank Tuttle with the voice of Margaret Livingstone, the vamp from Sunrise, substituting for Brooks’. The result is a pretty dull film, loaded with all the talk that characterizes the genre. Brooks looks great, but after she is murdered fifteen minutes in, there is not much of interest. Powell shows none of the elan he brought to Nick Charles a few years later in The Thin Man and Jean Arthur, a quintessential 1930s woman, just hadn’t gotten there yet. Only Eugene Pallette as the “dumb cop” seems comfortable working on microphone. The silent version was apparently released here and abroad for theatres not yet equipped for sound, but it is not known if it still exists. “Louise can be excessively evil when she tries – on the screen. …She shows quite a considerable advance in finesse, and she uses her voice nicely.” (Sic!)

1929 Pandora’s Box – Die Busche der Pandora (G. W. Pabst), ph.: Gunther Krampf.

I am not even going to try to add to the tons of words written about this seminal film since the fifties, but here are a few interesting quotations:

“The long search at last is ended. Lulu has been found. By the time this is in print it will be news no longer. Having literally searched the whole of Europe for a suitable type for Lulu in The Box of Pandora (adapted from the book by Wedekind), having interviewed hundreds and tested scores, in Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, G. W. Pabst has at last found, in America, the type for which he had been seeking in vain. Lulu will be no other than Louise Brooks, the well known junior Paramount star. The search for Lulu has been almost the principal topic of interest in Germany for a couple of months. Everywhere one went one heard “What about Lulu?”, “Is Lulu found yet” . . . Lulu is found. And now, after long delay, Pandora will be filmed by Nero Film." Close Up, October, 1928.



“Louise Brooks, especially imported for the title role, did not pan out, due to no fault of hers. She is quite unsuited to the vamp type which was called for by the play from which the picture was made.” Variety, March 6, 1929.


“Loulou, c’est Louise Brooks qui a interprètè avec beaucoup de talent son rôle delicat et difficile. Elle s’y montre tout à fait remarquable. Elle est séduisante, troublante et cruelle, surprenante de vie et d’intensité expressive.” Cine-Journal, April 26, 1929.


“In an introductory title the management sets forth that it has been prevented by the censors from showing the film in its entirety, and it also apologizes for what it termed ‘an added saccharine ending’ . . . . Miss Brooks is attractive and she moves her head and eyes at the proper moment, but whether she is endeavoring to express joy, woe, anger or satisfaction it is often difficult to decide.” New York Times, December 2, 1929.



“None of these scenes or effects could have been brought off had not Lulu been a convincing focus for them, and it seems that much of the credit for their sustained success must go to Louise Brooks, whom Pabst clearly found the most stimulating of collaborators. Her ‘passive’ performance balances between innocence and childishly fleeting – but intense – emotions with candour and precision. Nothing in it is ‘actorish’; Pabst found the character in the actress, and drew it out through counterpoint, gesture and inflection.” Monthly Film Bulletin, May, 1974.


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1929 The Diary of a Lost Girl – Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (G. W. Pabst), ph.: Sepp Allgeier.

The second of Brooks’ three European films was based on Margarete Bohme’s Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, a sensational best-selling novel first published in 1905, eventually translated into 14 languages and selling over a million copies. The frank sexual content, especially from a female writer, subjected the book to controversy and debate. The once highly regarded English novelist Hall Caine called it “a poignant story of a great-hearted girl who kept her soul alive amidst all the mire that surrounded her poor body.” His friend, novelist Bram Stoker, however, campaigned to have it banned. The English translation of this long out of print novel has just been reprinted in an illustrated “Louise Brooks Edition”, edited and introduced by film historian Thomas Gladysz, director of the Louise Brooks Society. The second screen adaptation, Pabst’s powerful film shows Brooks character, Thymian, raped as a teen, sent to a reformatory after bearing an illegitimate child, lured into a brothel, and eventually marrying into money and position. Again, the film was not well-received and again, there were those who just did not “get” the leading woman. e.g., “This time he has also been unfortunate in the choice of his heroine. Louise Brooks (American) is monotonous in the tragedy which she has to present.”

1930 Prix de beaute – Miss Europe (Augusto Genina), ph.: Rudolph Mate.

After Pandora’s Box wrapped, Brooks was no sooner off the boat in New York, when she heard from Pabst. He wanted her to star in a French film written by, and to be directed by, Rene Clair who had pleased the avant-garde with Entr’acte and moviegoers with An Italian Straw Hat. When she arrived in Paris, she was told that the production had been postponed, and Clair would not be directing. As she was already being paid, she opted to stay and enjoy the night life of the City of Lights. It would seem to be a pity that she would miss the opportunity to work with another major film artist, but it might not have turned out to be a creative marriage made in heaven. As she later wrote, “Everybody was very sad. Not me. The moment I met him I knew he did not love women and would make me look as ugly as possible.” Then Pabst came up with Diary of a Lost Girl, and Brooks was back to Berlin with a director who, presumably, did love women and certainly did not make her look ugly. After that, Prix de beaute was ready to proceed under Augusto Genina who had been directing films in France and Italy since 1912 and would continue to do so until the fifties. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that it would be one of the first French talkies with Louise, who spoke no more French than she did German, to be dubbed by one Helene Regelly. There is an odd rumor going about that her song was sung by the great Edith Piaf, but at that time The Little Sparrow was still performing in the streets with her acrobat father and was not discovered until 1935. This may have arisen from a recent screening of the silent version at the British Film Institute which is said to have used a Piaf recording during the film’s final scene.

1931 Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (Roscoe Arbuckle, as William B. Goodrich). Short.

This one is pretty awful, and we don’t see a lot of Brooks, but 1) it does show that with her more “modern” hair style she could be effective as a thirties girl , 2) her voice was fine, and 3) we get to see a little bit of her dancing. It’s a shame that a dancer whose skill was praised by Ruth St. Dennis and Martha Graham has been so rarely and only briefly filmed practicing the art that certainly had much to with the grace with which she moved. The director was the great, but now broken, Rosoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, working under a pseudonym. As Louise later told Kevin Brownlow, he “made no attempt to direct. He sat in his chair like a man dead, he had been very nice and sweetly dead ever since the scandal that ruined his career. But it was such an amazing thing for me to come in to make this broken-down picture, and to find that my director was the great Roscoe Arbuckle. Oh, I thought he was magnificent in films. He was a wonderful dancer—a wonderful ballroom dancer, in his heyday. It was like floating in the arms of a huge doughnut—really delightful.”

1931 It Pays to Advertise (Frank Tuttle), ph.: Archie Stout.

In Brooks’ “comeback” feature, she has 7th billing and a few minutes of screen time in the opening scene which is on YouTube, so we don’t have to watch the whole thing, though Eugene Pallette is, as usual, a great straight man. Based on a 1914 play, it had been previously filmed by Donald Crisp in 1919, and in 1936 remade in Sweden. The play was revived in New York in 2009, and a recent Film Forum series showed a new 35mm print. This history suggests that advertising is like a nitrate fire: you can’t put it out. A perhaps partial reviewer said at the time, “Carole Lombard is pretty as the Mary Grayson in the cast, but Louise Brooks, who used to be quite a name in the photoplay world, is more attractive as the actress who does the airplane fall and is not seen thereafter.” Contractually, Paramount owe her one more picture, and they decided that this small part would be a lesson to other recalcitrant actresses, but her old friend, director Tuttle, did what he could to build up the part and insure that she looked good. The leading man, Norman Foster, was married to Claudette Colbert at the time. He later gave up acting to become a steadily working director whose niche in film history comes from his association with Orson Welles. He directed the My Friend Bonito episode of It’s All True and was the credited director of Journey Into Fear.

1931 God’s Gift to Women (Michael Curtiz), ph.: Robert Kurrie.

This was a vehicle for Broadway import Frank Fay who plays a man irresistible to women. including Brooks, Laura LaPlante, Joan Blondell, Yola D’Avril, and Margaret Livingstone (the vamp in Sunrise and Louise’s voice in The Canary Murder Case). Brooks looked and sounded so good, that one might wonder why more offers did not follow. Actually, she was offered and accepted a leading role in William Wellman’s The Public Enemy, then backed out “in order to make a trip to New York.” Jean Harlow got the part and within a year was a star. Some time later, Wellamn asked Louise why she hated making movies. Her reply was that it wasn’t making movies that she hated, it was Hollywood. Wild Bill couldn’t understand.

1936 Hollywood Boulevard (Robert Florey), ph.: Karl Struss and George T. Clemens. Brooks’ scenes were deleted.

Unlike Louise, Florey loved Hollywood, and he loved actors from the past. This film had an amazing collection of silent movie players in the cast; some, like Brooks, edited out: Esther Ralston, Esther Dale, Albert Conti, Francis X. Bushman, Maurice Costello, Betty Compson, Mae Marsh, Charles Ray, Creighton Hale, Roy D’Arcy, Evelyn Brent, William Farnum, Florence Lawrence, and more.

1936 Empty Saddles (Lesley Selander), ph.; Allen Thompson and Herbert Kirkpatrick.

This was the third of 143 films directed by Lesley Selander between 1936 and 1968. Those that were not westerns could be counted on one maimed hand, but he will also be remembered for his television work, especially Lassie. Brooks’ part is not bad for “the girl” in a B western, and she carries it off well. She looks good and sounds good, and gives a positive impression of the sort of 1930’s woman she could have played if Hollywood had been interested. Buck Jones, the star, had been a popular cowboy actor since the silents, making several pictures with young “Jack” Ford. Jones liked to do something different every now and then, Like Ford’s Just Pals or Borzage’s Lazybones, but he always returned to the wild west. The cast is aother treasure for fans of old movies: Charles Middleton who is best-known today as Ming the Merciless, Lloyd Ingraham, a Griffith protoge who acted in 300 films and directed over 100, most notably Hoodoo Ann with Mae Marsh, character player Fred Campeau was one of Ford’s 3 Bad Men, and Gertrude Astor a Ford regular from Cheyenne’s Pal in 1917 to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in 1962.

1937 King of Gamblers (Robert Florey), ph.: Harry Fi!schbeck. Brooks’ scenes were deleted.

Brooks had one scene near the beginning and, to reduce the running time, it was easy to cut without damaging the plot. She thought Paramount was still out to punisher her, but I don’t think they cared anymore one way or the other. Evelyn Brent’s part was untouched.

1937 When You’re in Love (Robert Riskin and Harry Lachman), ph.: Joseph Walker. Brooks is uncredited.

At Columbia, Harry Cohn promised Brooks a test for a leading part if she would first dance in the chorus of a Grace Moore musical. She accepted, but he reneged, getting his own back for a perceived insult some years earlier.

1938 Overland Stage Raiders (George Sherman), ph.: William Nobles.



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