Louise Brooks - Rotten Tomatoes

Louise Brooks

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The daughter of a Kansas attorney, Louise Brooks was 15 when she accompanied her mother to New York. A talented if not inspired dancer, Brooks performed with the Denishawn dance troupe, then worked in such annual revues as George White's Scandals and The Ziegfeld Follies. Signed to a Paramount film contract in 1925, she was largely confined to nondescript leading lady roles in such films as W.C. Fields' It's the Old Army Game (1926), directed by her then-husband Eddie Sutherland. Better roles came her way in Howard Hawks' A Girl in Every Port (1927) and William Wellman's Beggars of Life (1928). With her darkly exotic good looks and distinctively bobbed-and-banged haircut, Brooks gained popularity with filmgoers, but neither critics nor studio executives were particularly impressed with her acting ability. All this changed when she was invited to work in Berlin by director G.W. Pabst. Her haunting, provocative performances in Pabst's Pandora's Box (1928) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) not only established her as a screen personality of the first rank, but also fostered a Louise Brooks "cult" which continued to flourish. Alas, when the temperamental Brooks refused to return to Hollywood to film sound retakes for her silent picture The Canary Murder Case (1929), she was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood. Despite another brilliant performance in René Clair's Prix de Beaute (1930), Brooks found herself consigned to thankless supporting roles when she returned to America. Soon she was scrounging for work in two-reel comedies and bit roles; her last screen appearance was a demeaning leading lady assignment in the 1938 Three Mesquiteers Western, Overland Stage Raiders, which she accepted because she needed 300 dollars in a hurry. She spent the next two decades in virtual obscurity, occasionally obtaining radio work, but generally limited to clerical and salesgirl jobs. She was rescued in the mid-'50s by a millionaire media executive with whom she'd allegedly had an affair, and who provided her with a modest monthly annuity for the rest of her life. She moved to Rochester where she formed a lasting friendship with film buff/curator James Card of the George Eastman House. It was Card who drew the reclusive Brooks out of her shell with a series of well-received Louise Brooks retrospectives. In her last two decades, she began a whole new career as a writer, producing well-researched and well-balanced articles on movie history. Still, she remained a mercurial personality to the end, alternately attracting and repelling her admirers with her unpredictable behavior. In 1982, Louise Brooks collaborated with Hollis Alpert on her witty, extremely candid autobiography, Lulu in Hollywood.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Why Be Good? Sexuality and Censorship in Early Cinema
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Lulu in Berlin
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Overland Stage Raiders
  • Beth Hoyt
1938
No Score Yet When You're in Love
  • Chorus Girl
1937
No Score Yet Windy Riley Goes Hollywood
  • Betty Grey
1931
No Score Yet God's Gift to Women
  • Florine
1931
No Score Yet It Pays to Advertise
  • Thelma Temple
1931
80% Prix de beauté (Miss Europe) (Beauty Prize Miss Europe)
  • Actor
1930
90% Pandora's Box
  • Lulu
1929
No Score Yet The Canary Murder Case
  • 'The Canary'/Margaret O'Dell
1929
100% Diary of a Lost Girl (Tagebuch einer Verlorenen)
  • Thymian
1929
No Score Yet Beggars of Life
  • Nancy
1928
No Score Yet A Girl in Every Port
  • Marie
1928
No Score Yet The Show-Off
  • Clara
1926
No Score Yet It's the Old Army Game
  • Mildred Marshall
1926
No Score Yet Street of Forgotten Men
  • A Moll
1925

Quotes from Louise Brooks' Characters

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