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Lulu in Hollywood

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,099 ratings  ·  95 reviews

Introduction by Kenneth Tynan

The collected writings of this icon of the silent era, in a new, more complete edition.

Louise Brooks (1906-1985) is one of the most famous actresses of the silent era, renowned as much for her rebellion against the Hollywood system as for her performances in such influential films as Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. Eight autobiog

Paperback, 168 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published 1982)
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Lulu in Hollywood by Louise BrooksThe Parade's Gone By... by Kevin BrownlowClara Bow by David StennHollywood by Kevin BrownlowBuster Keaton Remembered by Eleanor Keaton
Books about Silent Movies
1st out of 141 books — 59 voters
Falling Waters by Gary D. HenryMy Autobiography by Charles ChaplinClara Bow by David StennThe Parade's Gone By... by Kevin BrownlowMe by Katharine Hepburn
Best of Old Hollywood
7th out of 321 books — 91 voters

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Community Reviews

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After reading Laura Moriarty's The Chaperone and being disappointed by its noticeable lack of Louise Brooks, I wanted to find a nonfiction account of the silent film star's life. Luckily, in addition to the numerous biographies available, Brooks also wrote her own account of her career. It's not as comprehensive as I wanted it to be - the book is more of an essay collection than a straight memoir - but is otherwise a completely fascinating look into the early days of Hollywood.

Louise Brooks ha
"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
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
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
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
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.

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
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
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
Timothy Hallinan
I've been reading a ton of books about the early days of Hollywood and I had such high expectations about this one that I postponed it just so I could savor looking forward to it.

And what a drag. Despite all the mythologizing about Brooks (whose acting I have greatly enjoyed), in the end, this is an acerbic memoir by someone who doesn't seem ever to have actually liked anyone and who was delusional enough to say -- in this very book -- that the people living closest to the old condition of slave
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
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
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
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
My biggest complaint is that it is too short.

Louise Brooks wrote without prevarication about pre-talky Hollywood. Less a memoir than it is a series of essays on those she knew, it reads neither like a sensationalistic tell-all nor a white-washed pining for the "good-old days." Brooks prides herself on her dedication to truth (in fact, it seems to be the only thing she was truly proud of) and she paints realistic portraits of the people who populated early Hollywood. Though she never pulls her p
After watching Pandora's Box again I decided I wanted to hear how a young American actress ended up in Germany making a film about prostitutes and lesbians. Unfortunately the answer wasn't nearly as interesting as the question. This wasn't really an autobiography but rather a series of small essays about different people she knew when she was making films. To me the most interesting wasn't about a famous person but a lesbian alcoholic she knew whose claim to fame was that she was the niece of th ...more
Jim Dooley
No one tells the story of Hollywood in quite the same way as Louise Brooks. Her star shown especially bright during the years surrounding the transition from silent to sound films, and her reputation was as an especially difficult actress...primarily because she had a sense of what was right and she wouldn't back away from it. At the same time, she was the first to admit that she was a spoiled brat.

To us lesser mortals, she will always be The Girl With The Black Helmet because of her unique hair
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.
this is a very interesting, gossipy, judgey collection of autobiographical essays by silent film star Louise Brooks, (can't call them memoirs since she titled the last chapter "why i'll never write my memoirs") that gives insight to the inner workings of Hollywood in the 1920s and 30s, and by extension to the Hollywood culture of today. i am a dedicated reader of the blog, which often guesses at behind-the-scenes tensions between producers, directors, and stars, and points out t ...more
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
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.
I finished The Chaperone a few days ago and wanted to read something BY Louise Brooks instead of about her. I'm very glad I took the time.

Louise is a master of words and descriptions. I enjoyed her stories about herself, Bogart, Gish, Garbo, WC Fields and the German director Pabst, who directed her in Pandora's Box.

I have to agree with other reviewer's that she did not include enough about her self, but my appetite is whetted.

Ironically, her inclusion of the period that she spent in New York at
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.
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
Oct 08, 2015 Ruth marked it as to-read
UGH!! I'm one of those mental cases that HAS to read the entire book front to back. This book is an odd shape (picture 4 paperback pages made into a square - that's about the size/shape).

115 pages. PLUS 46 pages of INTRO?! So 1/3 of the book is intro. ONE. THIRD.

AND the intro guy waits until page 32 of 46 to reveal he actually HUNG OUT with Louise!! God-dammed it, LEAD with that! Otherwise, like me, people may wonder why you won't just shut up and get to her essays.

I had to return this book to
Mary Narkiewicz
Jan 30, 2014 Mary Narkiewicz marked it as to-read
a classic book by a great Hollywood Star.
classic must-read Hollywood book
After reading The Chaperone last summer, I became interested in learning about Louise Brooks. I'm from Kansas and she seemed interesting. I was not a fan of this book though. There were chapters that weren't even about her and the chapters that were about her were just like a series of things that happened (I did this and then the following year I was doing this and then this). It wasn't a story and it wasn't personal. I wanted to read something about her life from beginning to her end but it sk ...more
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
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“Over the years I suffered poverty and rejection and came to believe that my mother had formed me for a freedom that was unattainable, a delusion. Then ... I was ... confined to this small apartment in this alien city of Rochester. ... Looking about, I saw millions of old people in my situation, wailing like lost puppies because they were alone and had no one to talk to. But they had become enslaved by habits which bound their lives to warm bodies that talked. I was free! Although my mother had ceased to be a warm body in 1944, she had not forsaken me. She comforts me with every book I read. Once again I am five, leaning on her shoulder, learning the words as she reads aloud ‘Alice in Wonderland’.” 1 likes
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