Still catching up on the silent news, and probably the biggest story from last week was the announcement from George Eastman House about the journals of Louise Brooks. Before her death in 1985, the star of Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl bequeathed her private journals to the New York film and photography museum, on the understanding that they remained under lock and key for twenty-five years. That time elapsed in August, and George Eastman House is now examining the journals.
We have good reason to expect a real treat should they be published (GEH has not announced any plans as yet). Brooks’ acerbic, observant 1982 memoir Lulu in Hollywood is a classic, and she wrote a number of well-regarded articles towards the end of her life. Brooks writes keenly and illuminatingly on a Hollywood stripped of its glamour, with intelligent observations on her films, her peers, and the industry in which she was such a contrary figure. What we have learned so far is that Brooks kept a private journal from 1956 onwards, and that she writes about Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and her own film roles. There are twenty-nine volumes, which range in size and content, amounting to some 2,000 pages.