The Relation of “Lulu in Hollywood” to “Alice in Wonderland”

August 2, 2019 5 mins to read
Michael Garcia Mujica
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Anyone looking to delve into the thoughts of the legendary actress Louise Brooks can find some delightful insights into the similarities between Lulu in Hollywood, Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. The big connection between the two is that Lulu’s Hollywood is a version of Alice’s Wonderland, seeing that all of the good people are sucked in under the power of producers.

Comparing Lulu and Alice

Perhaps one of the most direct most palpable connections between Lulu in Hollywood, Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass is the portrayal of Hollywood as a realistic sort of Wonderland. Anyone who has ventured to the streets of Hollywood can readily attest to its distinct flair for the bizarre. Even with the many developments and changes since Hollywood was still very much a Wonderland of sorts in the time period in question.

To truly appreciate what they have in common, one must start by seeing Louise Brooks, or, Lulu, as Alice. Upon initial examination, there are certainly some undeniable similarities between the two.

In her memoirs, she talks about her mother’s passing in 1944 and how she is still with her through memories, such as their readings of Alice in Wonderland. The very mention of it in this way indicates that the story left a strong impression on the talented actress.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland was written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, as a children’s novel. In this story, a young girl named Alice falls asleep and drifts off into her dreamland, Wonderland. 

She chases around a rabbit and comes in contact with many new characters trying to find her way back home.

Some of the characters are the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, The White King and Queen, the Mad Hatter, the Dodo, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and of course the infamous Queen of Hearts, or the Red Queen and her knights. Once she defeats the Queen of Hearts, she then awakens to realize it had all been a dream.

Many of the actors in the 1933 Alice in Wonderland, had also worked with Louise Brooks on other productions. Some of them include Richard Arlen playing the Cheshire Cat, W.C. Fields as Humpty-Dumpty, Leon Errol as Uncle Gilbert, Skeets Gallagher as the Rabbit, Cary Grant as Mock Turtle, Raymond Hatton as Mouse, and Ford Sterling as the White King. The actor of the White Queen, Louise Fazenda, was once mistaken for Louise Brooks.

One of the other infamous people in Brook’s life was Edmund Goulding. He had played the King of Hearts in 1909.

In the 1915 version of Alice in Wonderland, the costumes are the biggest part of the entire silent film. The performers are heavily done up in costumes, whereas Alice isn’t. To make all of the scenes work, masks and make-up are used.

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, written in 1871 also by Lewis Carroll. In the sequel, Alice is taken back through the looking glass, back to Wonderland, to find out she can’t remember anyone’s name, including her own. With the help of her previous friends and the White Queen, she does finally remember who everyone is, and who she is herself. Once again, the entire thing was just a dream, and she finds herself back home, playing with her kitten.

Lulu in Hollywood

Louise Brooks wrote seven pieces over a few years for film journals, with many different topics. Her early writings include a memoir of Marion Davies’ niece Pepi, who is addicted to morphine, an alcoholic, and a victim of the Hollywood scene.

Next is a rough writing on Humphrey Bogart, someone “afraid of words” and someone who never did anything, but “sit and drink and talk to people.” She wrote about W.C. Fields getting better treatment than Bogart, he was seen as one who feared being pushed aside and left to die in the Hollywood heap. She goes on to tell tales of other members or former members of Hollywood, some in negative ways, others in positive. Lulu in Hollywood features big-name gossip and a lot of surface appeal.

Further Reading

A few more notes on Lulu in Hollywood, Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, and how they are so similar. 

In both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Alice dreams of somewhere better, and it turns into something worse but ends in it all being a dream. Louise felt the same way with her life, going back and forth to Hollywood, and thinking it had everything, but in the end, it was all just a dream, and she found something so much better.

Her writings have put Hollywood into a different perspective to others, that it’s not all glitz and glam. The producers want too much from their actors and actresses, and they don’t get enough in return. Those producers feel like they own their crew, and treat them poorly, and then all of a sudden, the crew turns on their producers, just like in Alice.


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