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Lulu in Hollywood

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,381 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Originally published: New York: Knopf, 1982.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published 1982)
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Madeline
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
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
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Amazing, glamorous and intriguing, this book is undeniably incredible and definitely worth reading, especially if you love the history of film or acting.
Sketchbook
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jim
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a delightful surprise! Ms Brooks was very well-read and this is probably the reason she turned out to be a writer with considerable talent. A tragedy that it was a talent that she didn't exploit to the utmost, but then Louise didn't really exploit any of her gifts to her maximum benefit.

She started out as a dancer but ended up in film almost accidentally. her iconic role of Lulu in Pandora's Box is unforgettable, and I am very happy to have seen it. After a couple more films she e
...more
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
Timothy Hallinan
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
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
...more
Emily
I truly dreaded reading this. Whenever I had downtime in which I would usually read, I found myself doing the crossword on my phone instead. While I'm interested in old Hollywood (particularly the silent era) and Louise Brooks's career, I found her writing insufferable. She's one of those people who Values Truth Above All Else, which is nice in your art I suppose but in real life makes you someone who's not very fun to be around.

And that's not to say Brooks has to be likeable - she certainly do
...more
Ian
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Elizabeth
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In a series of essays is portrayed cunning and bravura in securing herself from Hollywood control without sending in the Calvary. Louise Brooks - what feminism truly was.
Claudia
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Phil
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kirk
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guilty-pleasures
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
Christopher (Donut)
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-the-movies
It has been a while, but I do remember the style as no nonsense.

The decision to make The Canary Murder Case a talkie was her final straw. She did not agree to the extra work, and so it was her last Hollywood movie (and if you watch it on Youtube, you see her speaking scenes were all workarounds).

That she went on to make two more films with G. W. Pabst was more of an artistic decision than a financial one. She wanted to make a couple of great films, and for her, great meant 'silent.'



I probably n
...more
D. B.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Writer's Relief
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The much-mythologized history of Old Hollywood continues to intrigue readers, but it’s rare to find a participant in that bygone era who writes about it with honesty. That’s just what silent film star Louise Brooks did when she wrote Lulu in Hollywood, a series of essays detailing her observations and stories about Old Hollywood and its denizens.

Lulu in Hollywood (named after her character in the G.W. Pabst film Pandora’s Box) begins with Louise as a young girl from Kansas who becomes a dancer i
...more
Jim Dooley
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Bo Olsen
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well this was a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. Louise was not only a beautiful actor of both the silent and talking era, but a wonderful writer as well, while having that sense about her to see the genius in those she worked with. I found this book in the Biography section but saw it more as a bio-memoir. She always seemed to know the right thing to do and life was never easy, what with her being a woman of her own mind. She hated all producers, and when the silent film era ended and talk ...more
Jenn
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan Liston
After reading the Barry Paris biography, I was very interested to hear Louise in her own words. Although this isn't an autobiography, but a series of essays, it did give a clear picture of her. Yes, she was clearly not a warm and tender type who suffered fools gladly, and probably had her fair share of acquaintances who couldn't stand her. But she was also obviously quite bright and rather ahead of her time. Her well written "takes" on the likes of W C Fields and Humphrey Bogart and her inside i ...more
Zach
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Tosh
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Valerie
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Kit Fox
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
William
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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.)
m_miriam
Dec 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: essay
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.
Greg
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Incisive & honest memories from a film actress better than her time would allow her to be.
Anne
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
classic must-read Hollywood book
Nathan Larson
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best old Hollywood memoirs available, from an amazing writer and a true legend
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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’.” 4 likes
“In writing the history of a life I believe absolutely that the reader cannot understand the character and deeds of the subject unless he is given a basic understanding of that person's sexual loves and hates and conflicts. It is the only way the reader can make sense out of innumerable apparently senseless actions.” 4 likes
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