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Pandora's Box (1929)
"Die Büchse der Pandora" (original title)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 6,025 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 61 critic

The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.

Writers:

(plays), (scenario), 2 more credits »
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Title: Pandora's Box (1929)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Fritz Kortner ...
...
Alwa Schön (as Franz Lederer)
Carl Goetz ...
Krafft-Raschig ...
Rodrigo Quast
Alice Roberts ...
Daisy D'Ora ...
Charlotte Marie Adelaide v. Zarnikow - braut Dr. Schöns - Dr. Schön's Bride (as Daisy d'Ora)
Gustav Diessl ...
Jack the Ripper (as Gustav Diesel)
Michael von Newlinsky ...
Marquis Casti-Piani (as Michael v. Newlinsky)
Sig Arno ...
Der inspizient - the instructor (as Siegfried Arno)
Edit

Storyline

The dancer and prostitute Lulu is the mistress of the newspaper owner Dr. Ludwig Schön and lives in an apartment paid for by him. When her former "protector" Schigolch visits Lulu, he brings the opportunist agent Rodrigo Quast that invites Lulu to dance in a play. Dr. Schön tells Lulu that he will marry the aristocratic Charlotte Marie Adelaide v. Zarnikow and mesmerizing Lulu forces him to marry her. However, in the wedding party, Dr. Schön finds Lulu partying with Schigolch and Rodrigo Quast in their bedroom and he gets his pistol and forces Lulu to shoot him. Lulu is arrested and almost six months later, she goes to the tribunal for trial. Despite the testimony of Dr. Schön's son Alwa Schön and his friend Countess Anna Geschwitz, Lulu is sentenced to five years in prison in a prejudicial verdict. But her friends cause a bedlam in court and Lulu flees. Alwa and Lulu decide to travel to Paris, but in the train, they are convinced to follow the crook Marquis Casti-Piani in the ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

lust | train | wedding | escape | mistress | See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 1930 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Pandora's Box  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,950 (USA) (16 June 2006)

Gross:

$9,950 (USA) (16 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored) | (Copy with French titles at Brussels Musée du Cinéma) | (original) | (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Louise Brooks' memoir, "Lulu in Hollywood", Alice Roberts was not aware her character was a lesbian until filming began, and she was initially opposed to playing the role as being attracted to Lulu. Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Brooks writes, convinced Roberts to pretend she was making her love gestures to Pabst, who was standing just off-camera. See more »

Goofs

As Lulu looks at herself in the mirror after the wedding, the wedding dress is off her right shoulder. The position of the dress on her right arm and shoulder varies between shots from when she is confronted by Dr Schon till his death. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Ludwig Schön: [title card] Kill yourself!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Greatest Silent Film
14 April 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Of all the silent dramas of the '20s, perhaps none is as compelling and inherently watchable as "Pandora's Box" of 1928. Amazingly, despite its age and completely different cinematic conventions, this G.W. Pabst picture continues to influence filmmakers worldwide. Made in Weimar Germany, it stars Louise Brooks, an American actress now considered the quintessential symbol of the flapper era. If not for her presence, the film would probably never have its incredible durability and cult status. She is the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Mia Wallace in both personality and sheer appearance. For the source of that chic haircut, look no further than Lulu, the proto-"femme fatale" played by Brooks. In a plot that could have come right out of a modern daytime talk show, she manages to destroy the lives of virtually everyone who loves her. Lulu (an aspiring actress), is simultaneously involved with Dr. Schoen (a prominent, high-society man) and his son, while being pursued by a lesbian admirer. To make matters worse, she is "supervised" by a rather disgusting, shady, pimp-like creature impersonating her father. And that's only the beginning. The girl's circumstances become even more bizarre as the action progresses. Obviously, given such a juicy storyline, the audience could well have been treated with a dose of laughable high camp. But Pabst, through brilliant cinematography (and, incidentally, silence), manages to retain dignity and generate powerful emotions as opposed to sarcasm and mild amusement. Precisely because the characters do not speak, we have an opportunity to witness their expressions and gestures. The camera spends much time on Brooks' face, showing the wide range of her emotions: from playfulness to rebellion to despair and back again. That face is one of the most versatile (not to mention the most beautiful) in the history of cinema. At the conclusion of the film's best scene-- as Dr. Schoen's fiancee catches him red handed in Lulu's dressing room-- her competitor slowly dismounts him with a momentary smirk full of hurt and disdain, yet somehow ballsy and triumphant. Such precious and sophisticated details make "Pandora's Box" a masterpiece. The title itself is mentioned in an inevitable courtroom scene midway through the story, by a prosecutor who crudely accuses the girl of being the root of all evil. This is where the film's sociological implications make it stand out from many of its contempories. Louise does not portray a conniving temptress. On the contrary, the people around her fall prey to their inhibitions, delusions and obsessions. Essentially, she is only an indirect cause of their demise and never fully responsible. Lulu's representation as a victim of nothing but her own zest for love and life in a stagnant, repressive society, is an example of humanist cinema at its finest. Brooks' personal life was no less turbulent than her character's: after a potentially prosperous career and scores of lovers (from Chaplin to Pabst himself), she quit the business, refusing to cooperate with its humiliating limitations and rigid standards. Fortunately for us, her name has been immortalized in an impeccable movie.


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