She appears on, and in, a surprising number of books. The latest, which was just released and is set to be one of the big books of the summer, is Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone. The striking photo on the cover depicts Louise Brooks, the silent film star. Brooks (1906 – 1985) is also a supporting character in Moriarty’s finely told novel.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there were no second acts in American life. Brooks is an exception. Back in the 1920s, at the height of her fame, Brooks was somewhat popular but never a top-ranked star. By the mid-1930s, when her career bottomed-out, she fell into an obscurity which lasted decades. Only since the 1970s has her celebrity reemerged and grown from small cult following to near mainstream recognition. Those that do not recognize her name almost certainly know her look.

Image

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The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has announced the line-up of films for their annual July event at the Castro Theater. And once again, they have put together a varied and interesting program.

The Festival opens with a special presentation of the air war epic, Wings, the first film to win an Academy Award — and ends with The Cameraman, Buster Keaton’s brilliant comedy about the business of making movies. In between, there is an international assortment of films from Sweden, Germany, Russia and China, as well as a couple of American-made films set in foreign locales.

Lulu's wedding dance in Pandora's Box

Lulu’s wedding dance in Pandora’s Box
Image courtesy of the Louise Brooks Society

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May is set to be an eclectic and even electric month at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont. In addition to three more installments of the famous serial, The Perils of Pauline, the venerable East Bay silent film museum is set to screen one of the big hits of the era, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, starring legendary Rudolph Valentino, as well as Laughing at Danger, an early thriller with plenty of pulp fiction trappings. And that’s not all.

alice terry

Alice Terry will be starring in
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with Rudolph Valentino

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Buster Keaton gets a beat courtesy of the tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus

Just about every year for the last number of years, the San Francisco International Film Festival has shown a silent film accompanied by contemporary musicians performing an original score.

Among others, the SFIFF has presented 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) with Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, joined by Daniel Handler on accordion; The Lost World (1925) with the Cambodian pop group Dengue Fever; The Golem (1920) with Pixies front man Black Francis; The Phantom Carriage (1921) with the legendary Jonathan Richman; Street Angel (1928) with the alt rock American Music Club; Sunrise (1927) with Lambchop; and the Japanese silent, A Page of Madness (1926), with the indie band Superchunk.

Buster Keaton, please meet Merrill Garbus

Buster Keaton, please meet Merrill Garbus

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