Monday, February 27, 2012

Inspirational Icon Monday: Louise Brooks

A silent film star once said,"A well dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world." That star was Louise Brooks. The actrees that made the black bob the cut to get. The woman that made being both pretty and naughty fun. Brooks didn't have to say a word to mesmerize all those that watched her. In light of The Artist winning the gold man last night, I thought it only fitting to showcase the silent film queen who inspired the making of this film.

After being raised by parents that left her to her own avail, never disciplined her and blamed her when she was sexually abused by a neighbor, Brooks moved from her home state of Kansas to Los Angeles in 1922 when she joined a dance troupe. Unfortunately,  by 1924 the troupe director fired her when she showed a lack of work ethic. This disappointment fueled her fire and lead to a career boost when she was cast the following year as a featured dancer in the Ziegfield Follies on Broadway.This appearrance caught the eye of a Paramount producer who signed her to a five year contract and completely changed her life. She became a star, but once her contract ended she left the United States for Europe leaving the American film industry desperate to lure her back with "talkies" and bitter when they're temptation tactics fell short.

In Germany, Brooks made her most famous film out of the 17 she did with Pandora's Box. She continued acting overseas until she returned in 1931 to Hollywood only to realize that she cared little for the politics surrounding the industry. Her life had been painful and she had lived through several violently tumultuous affairs, and having a career in an industry which made her feel enslaved was of no interest to her.

Just as Georg Valentin in The Artist had to reinvent himself, Brooks did so too. She became a writer...and a courtesan. She accepted herself as sexually free, had always been comfortable with her nudity, and therefore found life as a call girl a natural way to make money. She may not be remembered for her class or etiquette, but Brooks does hold a legacy for standing alone. She knew she was damaged and with that did the best she could to enjoy life and choose instant happiness (even if it was fleeting) over living up to ideals set for her by others.

Chaneling Miss Brooks

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