“You’ll have to kill me to get rid of me.”
A beautiful, sexually liberated nightclub dancer (Louise Brooks) inadvertently shoots one of her admirers, lands in jail, and turns to prostitution to survive.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- G.W. Pabst Films
- Louise Brooks Films
- Silent Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary offers an excellent, in-depth analysis of this classic silent film by G.W. Pabst in his GFTFF, describing Lulu as “the victim of the weak men around her rather than the traditional vamp who causes (with pleasure) their downfall”. As with so many other sexually active females in the movies (i.e., Janet Leigh in Psycho, Blythe Danner in Lovin’ Molly — not to mention the doomed heroines of countless teenage horror flicks), Lulu must pay dearly for the “sins” of her attractions. It’s difficult to imagine anyone but Louise Brooks — surely one of the most beautiful and distinctive screen actresses of all time — in the lead role. As Peary notes, she “gives Lulu intelligence, spirit, and dignity, even in debasement.” He argues that while men may view her as a femme fatale, she is ultimately a “vivacious innocent” who “means no harm.”
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Louise Brooks (nominated by Peary for an Alternate Oscar as best actress of the year) as Lulu
- Gorgeous, expressionistic cinematography
- A creepy, horror-inspired ending
Yes. This silent masterpiece is essential viewing for any film fanatic. Discussed at length in Peary’s Cult Movies (1981).
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)