Rolled Stockings is a drama set among students at the fictional Colfax College. It was one of a number of similarly-themed films aimed toward the youth market of the 1920s. Besides Louise Brooks, who was then 20 years old, its cast included a few of Paramount’s “junior stars” — then up-and-comers Richard Arlen, James Hall, Nancy Phillips, and El Brendel. Brooks plays the love interest of two brothers, one a fop, the other an athlete.
To add verisimilitude, Rolled Stockings was largely filmed on and around the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. It also includes footage of actual crew races between the University of California and the University of Washington.
A summer release, the film proved popular wherever it was shown. Harrison’s Reports, a film industry trade journal, described Rolled Stockings as “a light comedy drama of college life” that was “Pretty good entertainment for the hot weather.” The Chicago Tribune named it one of the six best films of June, 1927. Not surprisingly, the film found a receptive audience in college towns across the country. The critic for the Ann Arbor Times News, for example, appreciatively stated “The three stars, Louise Brooks, James Hall and Richard Arlen are so thoroughly likable and the story so different from the usual line of college bunk, that Rolled Stockings proves to be a delightful bit of cinema entertainment.”
Rolled Stockings was a cut above many of the other motion pictures about the younger generation. The Seattle Times praised the film, noting “Paramount’s ‘youth’ picture, which is now at the Coliseum Theatre, has everything — a thrilling college crew race, some exciting automobile scenes, snappy comedy, a good love story and lots of pep.” Regina Cannon of the New York American proclaimed, “This is another college story and it is realistic enough to be entertaining. . . . Louise Brooks is seen for the first time in a ‘straight’ role. This child is so smartly sophisticated that it has seldom been her lot to portray anything but baby vamps on the screen. She has an unusual personality which the camera catches and magnifies, dresses snappily and makes the most of her every movie moment.”
Critics were divided on Brooks, the star of the film. Some noted her “provoking presence” and “demure charm, with its tricky suggestion of mild sophistication.” The Los Angeles Examiner wrote, “Louise Brooks is utterly adorable as Carol Fleming. She is exactly the type college boys swoon over. She displays a sincerity in her work that has been absent from her previous roles. Though this particular part offers little opportunity to show any great acting, she measures up splendidly in the few scenes that border on the emotional.” Across town, the Los Angeles Daily Illustrated News stated “Louise Brooks, judging by this film, is destined to go a long way. She has some of Colleen Moore’s qualities with a dash of Florence Vidor thrown in, and a lot of her own distinctive personality.”
The New York Daily Mirror countered, stating “Louise Brooks looks remarkably like Clara Bow, though she lacks the famed pep of our national flapper.” The Washington Times went even further, “The leading role is borne by Louise Brooks and the part could have been better cast. Miss Brooks has the bad habit of stalking through her screen parts like an automaton and her face is devoid of emotion under all circumstances.” In a piece titled “Louise Brooks Shows Acting Ability in Rivoli Feature,” Mark K. Bowman found middle ground in the Portland Oregonian, “In the past Miss Brooks has been accused of strutting instead of acting, but it is apparent in this latest picture that she is endeavoring to do less posing, which is a promising move.”
“Jim Treadway disappoints his father in not making the boat crew at college while his freshman brother, Ralph, makes the team and upholds the family tradition. Both boys are smitten, however, by the charms of Carol Fleming, but Ralph is handicapped by hazing and strict training rules. On the eve of the big college race, Jim takes Carol to a dance and leaves Ralph burning with jealousy; deciding to brave official disapproval, Ralph goes to the dance and takes a jazzy young blonde to a roadhouse. Jim follows and ejects his brother after a fight and is himself found with the girl. After being acclaimed a hero, Ralph confesses that he is to blame for Jim’s disgrace, and Carol finds happiness with the older brother.”
Production took place April 4 through May 5, 1927. The film was shot at Paramount’s studio in Hollywood, California, as well as at the Glendale train station (belonging to the Southern Pacific Railroad) in Glendale, California and in and around the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
Under its American title, Rolled Stockings, documented screenings of the film took place in Australia, British Malaysia (Singapore), Canada, China, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Dutch Guiana (Surinam), Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, and the British Isles (England, Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland). Elsewhere, this motion picture was known to have been shown under other language titles including Alles fur mein Madell (Austria); Freres ennemis (Belgium); Vijandelijke Broeders (Belgium); Meias indiscretas (Brazil); Medias Enrolladas (Chile); Medias Enrolladas (Cuba); Studenti i Colffaxu (Czechoslovakia); Válel puncochy (Czechoslovakia); Wend wenna wastu (Estonia); Freres Ennemis (France); Calze rimboccate (Italy); オール持つ手 (Japan); Bruder-Rivalen (Latvia); Freres Ennemis (Luxembourg); Medias enrolladas (Mexico); Wij, moderne studenten (The Netherlands); Gdy mlodosc szumi (Poland); Gole Kolanka (Poland); Tesouros da Juventude (Portugal); Meias Enroladas (in Portuguese-American newspapers); and Juventud, divino tesoro (Spain).
The film is presumed lost.
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— “Medias enrolladas” in Mensajero Paramount (the studio’s Spanish-language publication for North America).