splash  What did critics of the time think of The Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)? Opinion was mixed, though generally negative in tone. The film was shown around in Europe in the early 1930s; it was not screened in the United States until the 1950s. Here is a survey, in the form of a number of quotes, from some of the newspapers and magazines of the time.


“. . . whole stretches are quite average ….” — Heinz Pol, Vossische Zeitung

“One of many good, sometimes excellent works of director G.W. Pabst. In the middle of this is the accomplished and interesting American beauty Louise Brooks ….  Louise Brooks moves in silent beauty, frightened, defiant, waiting, surprised. Almost like a beautiful, tragic Buster Keaton. Wide-eyed, infantile, in adorable dresses ….” — Ernst Blaß, Berliner Tageblatt

“Louise Brooks brings her very charming and lovely femininity to advantage.” — Hans Sahl, Der Montag Morgan

“Louise Brooks is indescribably beautiful…. Her antithesis is Valeska Gert, administer of the corrupt reformatory. She is fabulous in itself.” — Walter Kaul, Berliner Borsen-Courier

“This time he has also been unfortunate in the choice of his heroine…. Louise Brooks (American) is monotonous in the tragedy which she has to present.” — Variety

“But the miracle is the interpretation by Louise Brooks in the role of Mary. The crowd stirred …. The lost girl, she is beautiful and still. She suffers and is unmoved. Louise Brooks, with an almost total absence of pretense, creates intense emotion.” — René-Girard, Cinémonde

“Louise Brooks is excellent in the role of Mary.” — Crainquebille, Cine-Journal

“. . . the banality of the plot, the sentimentality, the contrast between simple hypocrisy and uprightness would otherwise make the film ridiculous, if the actors’ performances were mediocre, or just good enough. It is really rather remarkable. Under the direction of Pabst all act well, and average Louise Brooks, misunderstood and misdirected by her fellow Americans, in this film becomes a revelation …. Louise Brooks is excellent in the role of Mary [Thymiane]. The crowd reacted to her …. She is a fallen woman, beautiful and still. She suffers and remains impassive. And this precisely what matters most: with an almost total “absence of acting,” she has created around himself an atmosphere full of intense emotions.” — Renato May, Bianco e Nero