I have to admit that I don’t know very much about Louise Brooks apart from what’s in the OMD song: I was quite into OMD in the early 1990s. However, although this film involves Louise Brooks, it’s actually a fictional story about a woman who never existed but who, in the film, is Louise’s chaperone when Louise leaves Kansas for New York. And is played by Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey.
It’s quite an involved and imaginative story: we learn that the woman was, as a toddler, left at a New York orphanage run by nuns, and was then shipped out to Kansas on a train carrying young children to be adopted. It sounded so horrific, and the horrified woman, when she found out, said that it sounded like some sort of slave market. The nuns pointed out that – like Anne of Green Gables, I couldn’t help thinking – she was taken in by a loving couple and given a good life. But what if she hadn’t been. Everyone knows the story of Anne, but somehow you never think very much about these children who were sent out across the US and Canada, and how it was all the luck of the draw as to who took them in.
She was hoping to find her birth mother, and she did find her, but none of it was very convincing. And then we learnt that, after her adoptive parents had died young, she’d married a rich lawyer, but then caught him in bed with another man. She ended up leaving him for a young German man who worked at the orphanage. It was all extremely far-fetched, and didn’t really have anything to do with Louise Brooks, so I’m not sure why the story involved her at all. But anyway, it was something to watch!