Saturday, May 21, 2005

Louise Brooks and Denishawn

Louise Brooks effected her escape from Kansas not through the movies, but thanks to dance. Having impressed Ted Shawn during a touring visit to Wichita, she was offered a place at the Denishawn dance school in New York, arriving there as a 15 year old in 1922. By the years' end, she was a member of their touring company, and remained so, gaining larger and more prominent parts, until her dismissal in 1924, reportedly due to her attitude problems. Discipline never was Brooksie's strong card, not when there was parties to go to, and fun to be had.

For more on Louise's time with the company, Louise Brooks and the Denishawn Dancers gives a good overview.

The ever-impressive Louise Brroks Society has these two features: a bibliography of her press mentions in her Denishawn days; and a collection of Denishawn images.

There are several short biographies of the Denishawn founders: Ruth St Denis here and here; and her husband Ted Shawn here; and their most successful former pupil, Martha Graham, is profiled here.

Finally, two scanned copies of Denishawn souvenir programs, both from after Brooks' departure, but giving a good flavour of their work -
Souvenir Program of 1924 Denishawn USA Tour (part way down page)
Souvenir Program of 1925 Denishawn Oriental Tour (part way down page)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Guardian Archives, Part Two

For today's collection from The Guardian archives, we have:
an interview extract from 1966 with Charlie Chaplin;
a 2003 appreciation of Carl Dreyer;
an overview of the history of the British film industry;
a piece on Russian cinema, editing, and Vsevolod Pudovkin;
an interview with Gloria Swanson's daughter Michelle;
Charlie Chaplin the composer;
an article on Fritz Lang's ground-breaking Metropolis;
and finally
an obituary of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Guardian Archives, Part one

For your reading pleasure, I shall, over the next few days, be bringing together some silent film related articles from the British newspaper The Guardian.

From April 2003, we have renowned author, film historian and director Kevin Brownlow on the work of Clarence Brown. A feature on Carl Davis, composer of many well-received silent film scores, appeared in January 2000.

This April saw an article focussing on the recently rediscovered Rudolph Valentino & Gloria Swanson starrer, Beyond The Rocks. On a similar theme, 2003 saw the rediscovery of an early John Ford film in France.

2004 saw features on Neil Brand, film accompanist, the release on DVD of a collection of risque French silents, In The Good Old Naughty Days, and a piece on Benedict Mason's ChaplinOperas.

A season of his films at the National Film Theatre in 2003 lead to an article focussing on Anthony Asquith, a director today mainly remembered for 1940s British films like The Importance of Being Earnest, but who started his directorial career in the silent era.

Douglas Fairbanks was celebrated in 1999, and a meeting between playwright Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton was documented in an article from 2000. The same year also sees a review of Laurel and Hardy.

More to follow...

Monday, May 09, 2005

If at first you don't succeed...

Welcome to the new, improved, will actually contain some posts occasionally, Every Little Breeze Blog.
Having let the previous version fall somewhat by the wayside, I am now resolved to turn over a new leaf: there will be at least one post per week, highlighting interesting articles, website updates and more.
The blog will focus both on the central figure of Louise Brooks, and also bring to your attention general silent film related material and issues surrounding the culture and times of silent cinema.
If you should happen to find a link you feel should be posted to the blog, feel free to contact me at the address at the side and I'll give it a look.

And as a starter, here is a recent article by British comedian Paul Merton, on the influence silent slapstick has had on his career.