Scenes from the Movies

Peter Campbell

  • Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks
    Hamish Hamilton, 109 pp, £8.95, July 1982, ISBN 0 241 10761 X

The photographs of Louise Brooks in Lulu in Hollywood show a face as beautiful, and almost as unchanging, as a Japanese mask. Both praise and criticism notice this inexpressiveness: ‘Louise Brooks exists with an overwhelming insistence ... always enigmatically impassive,’ ‘Louise Brooks cannot act ... she does not suffer ... she does nothing.’ Her writing, on the other hand, is painfully self-revealing. Sometimes funny, sometimes angry, she is unfailingly perceptive about the arts of acting and film-making. The description of Pabst’s direction of Pandora’s Box is one of the best things in the book:

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