Lulu in Hollywood

In popular culture

"I went to my father [film director Vincente Minnelli], and asked him, what can you tell me about thirties glamour? Should I be emulating Marlene Dietrich or something? And he said no, I should study everything I can about Louise Brooks."

     — Liza Minnelli, Inside the Actors Studio, on preparing           for the role of "Sally Bowles" in Cabaret

Louise Brooks as an unattainable film image served as an inspiration for Adolfo Bioy Casares when he wrote his science fiction novel The Invention of Morel (1940) about a man attracted to Faustine, a woman who is only a projected 3-D image. In a 1995 interview, Casares explained that Faustine is directly based on his love for Louise Brooks who "vanished too early from the movies". (Elements of The Invention of Morel, minus the science fiction elements, served as a basis for Alain Resnais's 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad.)

Brooks also had an influence in the graphics world – she had the distinction of inspiring two separate comics: the long-running Dixie Dugan newspaper strip by John H. Striebel that started in the late 1920s and ran until 1966, which grew out of the serialized novel and later stage musical, Show Girl, that writer J.P. McEvoy had loosely based on Louise's days as a Follies girl on Broadway; and the erotic comic books of Valentina, by the late Guido Crepax, which began publication in 1965 and continued for many years. Crepax became a friend and regular correspondent with Louise late in her life. Hugo Pratt, another comics artist, also used her as inspiration for characters, and even named them after her.

  • 1986: In the Jonathan Demme film Something Wild, a thriller with comedic and dramatic moods, Melanie Griffith plays a wild, reckless femme fatale who calls herself "Lulu" and adopts a bobbed hairdo like Brooks'.
  • 1988: For the Siouxsie and The Banshees album Peepshow and tour, singer Siouxsie Sioux sported a hairdo and costumes in Brooks' style.
  • 1991: In the British new wave group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released an international hit single named "Pandora's Box" as a tribute to Brooks. The video for the single used extensive footage of Brooks from the movie and included a text intro that explained who Brooks was.
  • 1998: Soul Coughing's 1998 song "St. Louise Is Listening" contains several references to Brooks.
  • 1999: The song "Interior Lulu", by Marillion is a reference to Louise Brooks, and mentions her in its first lines.
  • 2001: In Neil Gaiman's American Gods the character Czernobog refers to Brooks as the greatest movie star of all time.[28]
  • 2007: An exhibit titled "Louise Brooks and the 'New Woman' in Weimar Cinema" ran at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 2007, focusing on Brooks' iconic screen persona and celebrating the hundredth anniversary of her birth.[29]
  • 2011: In her novel of supernatural horror, Houdini Heart, Ki Longfellow uses Brooks as an actual character in the leading character's visions.
  • 2012: Brooks appears as a central character in the novel The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
  • 2013:In the novels Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman, the female protagonist, Allyson, is called "Lulu" because of her bobbed hair, which resembles that of Louise Brooks. Brooks' film Pandora's Box is mentioned and described in both books.
  • 2014: On Natalie Merchant's self-titled album, the song "Lulu" is a biographical portrait of Brooks.

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