Film 20: Diary of a Lost Girl

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Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) dir. G.W. Pabst.  Germany.

In her autobiographyLulu in Hollywood,one of the most charming and honest books about the movies ever written, Brooks says Pabst refused to discuss the details of a performance with her and never held group discussions with his actors: “He wanted the shocks of life to release unpredictable emotions.” Nor did he encourage his actors to associate with one another. “Every actor has a natural animosity toward every other actor, present or absent, living or dead,” she writes, and Pabst used that tension to enhance the emotions in a scene. She tells another story. In the scenes in their films where Brooks wears thin dresses or nightgowns while dancing with an actor, he forbid her to wear anything under them. “No one will know,” she told him. “The actor will know,” he said.Abigail: This has some pretty major plot holes, including but not limited to a maid who is murdered in the first scene and never mentioned again.

–Roger Ebert

Abigail: This has some pretty major plot holes, including but not limited to a maid who is murdered in the first scene and never mentioned again.  There are some charming scenes, but again, they are drowned out by an equal amount of mediocre and confusing ones.  I think it might be fair to say I don’t like G.W. Pabst, or his dry and awkwardly paced films.

Forrest: I liked this better than “Pandora’s Box,” but only just. That it was 20 mins shorter no doubt helped. But it suffered the same problems, and Louise Brooks still doesn’t do it for me. I’d be curious, though, to see her in the hands of a better director.

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