Lulu in Hollywood
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Lulu in Hollywood

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  729 ratings  ·  72 reviews
"These terse, raffish, authoritative essays are among the best discussions of American film I have ever read...She is terrific on actors and acting because her language is free from critical cant or hyperbole...At 22, she made film history as Lulu. At 75, her Lulu in Hollywood is another poised, extraordinary performance." -John Lahr, The New York Times Book Review
Paperback, 109 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Limelight Editions (first published 1982)
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Evan
If you want to find out the whole story about Louise Brooks, Barry Paris' comprehensive biography is the place to go (I've not read that yet, but the reviews are unanimous). This book is a series of essays about the people and places Brooks encountered during her short, tempestuous career in silent movies. By telling the stories of others (her friend, Pepi Lederer, a Hollywood washout who was the niece of William Randolph Hearst's mistress, the actress Marion Davies; Humphrey Bogart; W.C. Fields...more
Sketchbook
"The modern actress par excellence," said Henri Langlois of the Cinematheque Francaise. "Those who have seen her can never forget her. Her art is so pure that it becomes invisible." Others have said that LB was a "luminscent personality...unparalleled in film history" who causes "a work of art to be born by her mere presence." Catch LB on YouTube in a few minutes of "Pandora's Box" and you'll grasp the luxuriant kudos.

From the rigors of Bible Belt Kansas where she read the classics, and was seem...more
Ian
Louise Brooks was a true original, a brilliant actress who paradoxically didn't care about acting and actively loathed the Hollywood system, she made a handful of pictures in the US before committing what many would consider "career suicide" and heading off to Europe to make the luminous PANDORA'S BOX and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL for German filmmaker G.W. Pabst. Regrettably her career slowly fizzled after that and she was largely forgotten until silent film aficionados like Lotte Eisner and Kevin Br...more
Kirk
The story behind this book is almost as famous as the star who wrote it. In 1979, renowned British critic Kenneth Tynan---known for being the first man to say the F word on British television---was living in semi-exile in America when he happened to see a broadcast of PANDORA'S BOX. He immediately tracked down former silent film star Louise Brooks to Rochester, New York and began what can only be described as a decidedly kinky relationship with the septuagenarian. What do I mean by kinky? Well,...more
D. B.
Louise Brooks was a dancer-turned actress during Hollywood's silent era, and helped to make the bobbed haircut an iconic fashion statement in the 1920s. She also quickly became disillusioned with the then-as-now cutthroat practices of the studios and the way they treated actors as property to be used and discarded to make room for new talent. Brooks is a surprisingly talented writer, and a sympathetic one as well. If anything, her first-account essays just go to show that not much has changed in...more
Ken
Eight well written autobiographical essays which cover a variety of topics and opinions. I especially enjoyed her thoughts on Humphrey Bogart and W.C. Fields. Her friendship with Pepi Lederer, niece of Marion Davies allowed her to become a part of the William Randolph Hearst 'scene' at The Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
Louise Brooks has been called one of the brightest, and most intellectual actresses in Hollywood. And after reading her memoir, I think it's more accurate to refer to her as a writ...more
Phil
This is a fascinating collection of essays written by one of the most iconic legends of silent cinema. Brooks was a meteor - burning brightly, burning quickly, frighteningly individual and refusing to show any deference to authority. Other than a few small parts in the mid-thirties, her career in the movies was over by the time she was 25 and without any really big hits on her hands and yet, her instantly recognisable hairstyle and rare-for-a-movie-star intelligence has left her on the popular "...more
Claudia
I love how books are like Frost's "Two Roads" poem, where book leads to book to book. This has happened to me this summer. I read THE CHAPERONE by Laura Moriarty, bought on a whim in an airport because I needed a book for the plane. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...

More than half-way through I realized that one of the characters, irrepressible Louise Brooks from Wichita, was a real person! A silent movie star. I became enthralled and had to know more. Images of her are breathtaking for su...more
Jenn Chaplin
I adore Louise Brooks, she was so multi-talented and cared not for the false glamour of Hollywood's allure. This novel is a collection of autobiographical essays that Louise had written. I find her very complicated despite her simplistic way of viewing life. She was fiercely independent I believe it was her fear of allowing people in or her fear of rejection that caused her to state that she had never been in love; although sex made up a great deal of her persona. She hinted that her mistakes ma...more
Tosh
Wow! This is great. A silent movie star who was not only beautiful and hot (can't think of a better word for her, except I would sleep with her at the drop of a dime), but also a fantastic writer.

Her sketch like pieces on various friends of the silent cinema era is touching, smart, witty, and extremely clear-headed. One is not going to find another unique portrait on artists like WC Fields. And Louise Brooks was an amazing personality. She sort of got up and left her career as a movie star. Fant...more
Zach
Louise Brooks is a wry and erudite writer, and this collection of articles shows that the iconic silent movie actress was anything but a Hollywood starlet. I was most struck by how contemporary her life and attitudes seem even 80 year later. I've always admired Brooks for her movies, but after reading Lulu in Hollywood, I admire her for her mind, her independence, and for being a truly dualistic, conflicted person. It turns out she's probably more interesting than any of the characters she playe...more
Valerie
Read The Chaperone that has Louise Brooks as its main fictitious character and was curious to get a first hand account of the persona. It is more complex than the fictional Louise and more fascinating, but her own words about someone else can be turned right back around: what she oftentimes says is a footnote to her own vanity. Vane or not, she is a good writer and gives an interesting account of the silent movie era and some of its key players.
William
Brilliant observations and fascinating descriptions in a conversational but elegant style. Brooks' manner is so direct and straightforward that it is no wonder she was rejected by Hollywood's movie industry in her time. Brooks does not spare anyone but never comes across as malicious. (Humphrey Bogart fans will really appreciate her comments on this star and his evolution in the film industry.)
Kit Fox
Nov 29, 2007 Kit Fox rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone cool
I effing love Louise Brooks and you should too. Sure she's radiant onscreen, but she's aslo wicked smart and a great writer. She considered herself the "best read dummy in Hollywood," which is far from the truth. Shame how she was really put through the wringer. Either way, the French are right: Lulu does/has/will forever rock.
Mara
While the author can offer stunning insight and spin a good yarn, the writing is disorganized and the storytelling is too gossipy to really be enjoyable. That said, I appreciate having a fuller understanding of this highly romanticised era from a direct source.
MAP
3.5 stars

Even nearly 100 years after her career, Louise Brooks manages to mesmerize.

Why I practically had to beat up librarian to get my hands on this book
Carla Stafford
Louise Brooks is a beautiful, somewhat controversial film star of the silent movie era. Personally, I tracked this book down because her character intrigued me in the historical fiction novel, The Chaperone. This collection of her essays did not disappoint. Louise manages to gossip without seeming malicious, and I found her point of view to be both intriguing and primarily credible. Not only because she actually lived it, but both her praise and criticism of her fellow actors and directors is sp...more
Nathan Larson
One of the best old Hollywood memoirs available, from an amazing writer and a true legend
Anne
classic must-read Hollywood book
Ria
A great intro leads onto a fascinating account of Louse Brooks years in the film industry and some inciteful insights into her own personal life and her observations and assessments of others working at the same period in Hollywood and the European film industry.
From excerpts from her childhood to her adult years and working and personal relationships with those around her this book has it all.
A lot shorter in length than Louise Brooks a biography by Barry Paris this is still a very interesting...more
Karen
This is the earlier edition of Lulu in Hollywood which I got as an inter-library loan -- it has her essays and many photographs, but is missing "Why I Will Never Write My Memoirs" and the essay by Tynan.

Louise Brooks was an intelligent, rebellious, outspoken woman who bucked the system in Hollywood and walked away at the height of her career. From childhood in Kansas to dancer with Denishawn company in NYC (modern dance vis-a-vis Martha Graham) and Ziegfeld Follies, to Hollywood actress in silen...more
Karen
The Lulu in Hollywood I read was probably an earlier edition of this book ... it has her essays and many photographs, but is missing "Why I Will Never Write My Memoirs and the essay by Tynan.

Louise Brooks was an intelligent, rebellious, outspoken woman who bucked the system in Hollywood and walked away at the height of her career. From childhood in Kansas to dancer with Denishawn company in NYC (modern dance vis-a-vis Martha Graham) and Ziegfeld Follies to Hollywood actress in silent films in 19...more
Jason
I am a fan of Louise Brooks so anything I say is colored by my adoration of this actress. I am not a person, therefore, to take as a serious critic of the literary ability of the author, Ms. Brooks herself. It is not that I am big Silent Movie fan either, the way she moves, the vulnerability of her face and the magic of her smile has given me goosebumps time and time again. As an adult, who has lived in Hollywood, I have to say that I have quoted her endlessly when asked why I left: "You ask why...more
Vicki
I read this book as a companion to “The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty. I was fascinated by the character of Louise Brooks in that novel and wanted to find out how much was fiction and how much was the real thing. Turns out, most all of it was true to life.

So you’ve never heard of Louise Brooks? Her contemporaries included Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo. She counted Humphrey Bogart, W.C. Fields, and Charlie Chaplin among her friends. She was one of the most famous actresses of the sil...more
Douglas
This edition of Louise Brooks slight book (111 pages by Brooks plus 47 pages of photographs and an introduction), less of an autobiography than a series of observations of Hollywood (which she despised for many reasons, most of them quite valid) in the 1920s and 30s and several famous people she knew well, including W.C. Fields and Humphrey Bogart.

Besides her times in Hollywood, Louise Brooks danced and/or acted in New York, London and Berlin. From the 1920s through the early 1950s she had a se...more
LeeAnn Heringer
So, here's a woman, a jazz age baby, with the bob and dark eyes, who flees Kansas at 15 to study dance with Martha Graham, dances in the Follies, works in silent movies and hangs out with Hearst at San Simeon and Bogart and Chaplin and John Wayne and everyone who was anyone, steals part from Greta Garbo. Surrounded by men who paid her rent and took her dancing and bought her expensive clothes, she ends up throwing it all away when she's 30-ish because, man, she wasn't going to be a slave to the...more
Pat
"I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it will be with a knife." What else is there to say! Louise Brooks was one of the most illustrious actresses in the beginning on motion pictures, and then left it all behind at the height of her career. Known for her striking looks, intelligence, and brutal honesty, she revered the act of artistic expression and loathed the material machine that ran Hollywood. To this day there is still a huge fan base devoted to her. Raised in a small K...more
Constance
Guys, Louise Brooks is awesome. She's a great writer and her detached yet big approach to life is fascinating. I recommend this book, with the caveat that it gets a little Hollywood insider-y toward the end, although I guess that's kind of the point. Like M.F.K. Fisher's book, the essays about her earlier life are pretty amazing. I also really like the strength of Louise and some of the other women she mentions; the power that women, particularly famous women, had in the 20s and 30s is really di...more
Kyle
She's a helluva writer, that Louise Brooks from Kansas. Pairing her writing talents with her place as a truly fascinating (and talented) silent actress (Pabst's Pandora's Box, Wellman's Beggars of Life), she offers an excellent anecdotal history of early Hollywood, both gossipy and acutely aware of how strange and vacant the town can sometimes be.

It's impossible not to draw parallels between the star system that produced Brooks (and that she ultimately rejected) and what comes by today; as such...more
Susan Eubank
Here are the questions we discussed at the Reading the Western Landscape Book Club at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

• What does Lulu’s Hollywood look like?
• Which essay resonated for you the most? Why?
• Why did she walk away?
• How did she make her way in the world? Can you give an example of how these struggles continue?
• What was the most astonishing thing you learned about Hollywood?
• Tell me about what you think the strengths of the essays were?
• What is your Hollywood...more
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