Louise Brooks from A to Z: Q and R are for Quirk, Redgrave, Ruskin, Rainer, Roberts, Rolick, Rochester, Riefenstahl, Ravel and Rolled Stockings

James R. Quirk was the Vice President and Editor of Photoplay in the 1920s. He was known not only for being incredibly good at his job and intensely thorough, but also for being the person people went to for advice. He was a close associate of Walter Wanger, as well as Eddie Sutherland and H.L. Menken- all members of Louise’s set in New York.  They are known for having comprised, along with a few others, the “Dinette Set”, that being akin to the “Algonquin Round Table”, only not as famous.

 

Vanessa Redgrave was in the last film that Louise recalls having seen in theatres, The Lovers of Isadora (1969). She recorded Redgrave’s performance as being “superb”.  (Paris, 480)

 

 

 

John Ruskin was one of Louise’s favorite philosophers and a part of what Paris calls her "Holy Trinity," which was thought to be made up of Nabakov, Proust, and Ruskin himself.

 

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Luis Rainer was a spectacular actress and visited Louise in Rochester when they both were awarded a George Eastman Award for their film work.  Jack Garner told us in an interview of how well the visit had gone, also telling Barry Paris in a separate interview that the two “hit it off marvelously,” (Paris, 529) which was not always the case for the other actresses who visited Louise at the time. 

 

Alice Roberts played the Countess Geschwitz in Pandora’s Box (1929).  Her role was significant because her character was supposed to be Lulu’s lesbian lover, which was a bold move by Pabst in that decade.  The funny part was that, apparently, this was unbeknownst to Roberts, who threw a fit upon discovering it while filming the wedding reception scene. Louise found this hysterical, and described the moment in amusing detail to Richard Leacock in Lulu in Berlin.  She also snaps at Leacock for pronouncing the Belgian Roberts’ name with an American accent (he’s British, by the way), and follows it by saying “well you’re just a lousy American-” with one of her sly half smiles.

 Alice Roberts and Louise Brooks in  Pandora's Box (1929).

Alice Roberts and Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box (1929).

Jeffry Rolick was a journalist in Rochester whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago.  He showed me a documentary about Louise and gave me his original article on Brooks to read.  He had asked her for an interview and she had cancelled last minute, lying and saying that she was sick.  He had taken this as a cue to send her flowers, and she, feeling terrible, wrote him back apologizing for her behavior and agreed to another interview.  A part of the interview still exists on a tape at the Eastman Museum, and it is very, very funny.  Louise is full of enthusiasm and her voice busts at the seems with laughter over her stories, leaving her breathless at one point, causing an irruption of a cough akin to that of an angered dinosaur.  

Rochester, NY, is where Louise Brooks lived from 1956 to 1985 when she passed away from a heart attack.  She occupied three different apartments while there, one on Grovsenor, the other on Buckingham, and the last on North Goodman.

 Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl, the famed documentary filmmaker from the Third Reich, was present on the set of Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), much to Louise’s chagrin.  She was learning from Pabst’s direction, and Louise was pissed that Riefenstahl was getting so much attention. She elaborates to Leacock in Lulu in Berlin

Maurice Ravel is who Louise listed as her favorite composer.

Rolled Stockings was a film that Louise made in 1927.  It was directed by Richard Rosson and produced by Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky and B.P. Shulberg. The film is now considered lost.

 

 

Charlotte Siller