Louise Brooks in publicity still for Pandora’s Box (1929, dir. G.W. Pabst)
During the filming of Pandora’s Box, [G.W. Pabst] asked Louise Brooks, as Lulu, just emerged from taking a shower and coming into the living room to greet her lover, Alva (portrayed by Franz Lederer), “What do you have on under that robe?”
“My slip,” answered Miss Brooks.
“Go back in the bathroom and take it off,” said Pabst, which she did.
When she returned, wearing just the robe, she asked her director, “Mr. Pabst, why did you make me take my slip off? The audience won’t know that I have nothing on under my bathrobe.”
“That’s right,” he replied. “The audience won’t know, but he’ll know,” he said, pointing at Lederer, “and he’ll play the scene with you differently, knowing that, than he would if he didn’t know it. And that’s what I want, that difference.”
Miss Brooks told me this story and I think it underlines the point I’m trying to make that the director must do everything he can think of to feel that the scene is ready to be played to the maximum that he can feel. If he feels it, the audience will feel it. Ergo - the director as psychologist.”
-Herman G. Weinberg, excerpted from The Complete Wedding March (1975)
“For two extraordinary years I have been working on it - learning to write - but mostly learning how to tell the truth. At first it is quite impossible. You make yourself better than anybody, then worse than anybody, and when you finally come to see you are “like” everybody - that is the bitterest blow of all to the ego.
But in the end it is only the truth, no matter how ugly or shameful, that is right, that fits together, that makes real people, and strangely enough, beauty.”
-Louise Brooks on writing her memoirs
thanks to oldhollywood
You have brought peace to my last years.
For 69 years I have been frantically searching for myself.
And now you tell me that I am a “myth”.
What a blessing.
Henceforth, I shall disintegrate comfortably in bed with my books, cigarettes, coffee, bread, cheese, and apricot jam.
Regards - Louise Brooks
Louise Brooks in correspondence with Guido Crepax, 1976.