Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Louise Brooks, Andre Roanne, Josef Rovensky, Fritz Rasp, Vera Pawlowa
Written by: Rudolf Leonhardt, based on a novel by Margarete Bohme
Directed by: G.W. Pabst
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 116
Date: 09/27/1929
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Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Pabst and Lulu

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Kino Home Video has released an amazing transfer of Diary of a Lost Girl, the second of two films American actress LouiseBrooks made for German director G.W. Pabst. Relegated to bit andsupporting parts in America, Pabst spotted Brooks in a 1928 Howard Hawksfilm and offered to cast her in the lead role in Pandora's Box. Sheagreed, broke her Hollywood contract, and left for Germany. ThroughPabst, she became one of the screen's most luminous, mysterious, potentand flat-out beautiful stars ever.

Pandora's Box, with the Jack the Ripper as its villain, is perhaps better known and more highly celebrated, but Diary of a Lost Girl is easily its equal. Brooks stars as the naive pharmacist's daughter, a poor girl who is raped and gets pregnant, is shipped off to an evil reform school, then escapes and joins a brothel before inheriting her father's money. Pabst presents this material delicately but without shying away from it, and Brooks drives the whole thing from the center seat.

DVD Details: The Kino disc was mastered from a beautiful German print containing footage not seen in the U.S. and includes a lovely new score by Joseph Turrin. It also contains a rare comedy short with an even rarer speaking role by Ms. Brooks.