Thursday, 5 April 2007

INTERVIEW: Thomas Gladysz, founder of the LOUISE BROOKS Society

The following is one of my favourite interviews from the Ramble Rocket era(2005). Thomas Gladysz created in 1995 and founded the Louise Brooks Society in 1994. He is a treasure trove of information and has been very generous with his time.

Can you briefly explain to the uninitiated who Louise Brooks was?

Louise Brooks was an actress whose greatest fame came during the silent film era. All together, she appeared in 24 films between 1925 and 1938. Today, she is best know for her 1929 role as Lulu - a sort of femme fatale - in "Pandora's Box." Some have called her one of the most beautiful women to have ever appeared in films. I agree. She is also a fascinating personality.

How long have you been interested in Louise and what started this off?
I have been interested - some would same obsessed - in Brooks for more than 12 years. My interest started after having seen her in "Pandora's Box." It is a remarkable film, and Brooks herself is really quite stunning. Seeing that film led me to want to know more about the actress, which led me to the remarkable biography by Barry Paris. Wanting to share my enthusiasm for the actress with others, I started the Louise Brooks Society. This year, the LBS celebrates 10 years on-line.

"European directors, European film critics, and European film lovers have long appreciated this Kansas-born actress."

Louise did a lot of work in Europe?
Of her 24 films, Brooks only made three films in Europe. However, those three films are considered among her very best. She went to Europe to play Lulu under the direction of G.W. Pabst, a great German director. Soon after, she made another film with Pabst, the equally acclaimed "Diary of a Lost Girl." Her third European film, "Prix de Beaute," was made in France. It was based on a story idea by Pabst and Rene Clair, a great French director. European directors, European film critics, and European film lovers have long appreciated this Kansas-born actress. I suppose some would say that the "cult" of Louise Brooks was born in Europe. Today, Brooks is considered an important actress on the continent.

Intro to "Looking for Lulu

She appeared with John Wayne in a "talkie" but then vanished. Why? What happened?
Brooks' last film was "Overland Stage Raiders," a B-western. After trying to re-establish her faltering career, Brooks came to the end of her days as an actress. John Wayne was at the beginning of his. (He would soon go on to star in "Stagecoach.") Regarding "Overland Stage Raiders," Brooks biographer Barry Paris wrote, "It is a dreadful film from start to finish, with every cliché known to Western man and western genre. Louise adored
Wayne but could not stand the humiliation of the film. "Raiders" was the last straw. She never made another movie."

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