Louise Brooks was an original: a girl from small-town Kansas who became an international screen idol. She was a trendsetter in the roaring 20’s, a natural, unaffected actress and dancer whose sensual looks and light-hearted screen presence gave definition to that carefree time.
At a very early age, Louise made her way to New York. In rapid succession, she appeared as a chorus girl in George White’s Scandals and a featured dancer in The Ziegfeld Follies. Discovered on the stage, she made her screen debut in 1924. Her unique presence made people take notice and a Hollywood star was born. She did not remain a darling of the silver screen for long. Four years and fourteen films after her first role, Louise Brooks turned her back on Hollywood.
With biting wit and ruthless honesty, Louise Brooks lived life on her own terms. The more one delves into her life, the more complex and mysterious she becomes. She gave up fame and fortune to live the life of a nomadic artist. Louise was a living contradiction.
Today Brooks is more popular than ever, the most popular silent movie star on the Internet. Her life story is full of twists. Now she is the subject of a new documentary film, executive produced by Hugh M. Hefner and Turner Classic Movies. This hour long retrospective is narrated by Shirley MacLaine and includes interviews with Roddy McDowall and Dana Delany. Also featured are remembrances from friends, relatives and colleagues of Brooks including Francis Lederer, David Diamond, Adolph Green, Kaye MacRae, John Springer, Bill Klein, sister-in law Margaret Brooks and niece Rosanna Brooks. Senior Curator of the George Eastman House, Dr. Paolo Cherchi-Usai provides expert commentary. Of special note is a previously unseen-filmed interview with Louise Brooks herself, which was shot in 1976.
In today’s world, Louise Brooks would be revered for her honesty and integrity and as a symbol of feminine strength in the male dominated business of film. Louise was ahead of her time and too young to realize it.