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

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 6,268 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 64 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)
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Storyline

G.W. Pabst's film that catapulted Louise Brooks to international acclaim and made her 'the' icon of the Jazz Age tells the tragic story of Lulu, the hedonistic dancer and prostitute. Based on the plays of F. Wedekind. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst approached Paramount about loaning Louise Brooks to star in this film. Paramount refused, and Pabst was forced to turn to Marlene Dietrich as his second choice. However, Brooks and the studio were in the midst of a heated dispute about her salary. With Paramount unwilling to pay Brooks more money, she walked out on her contract and immediately agreed to replace Dietrich on the film. See more »

Goofs

The poster warning Londoners of Jack the Ripper is in German instead of English. See more »

Quotes

Lulu: You'll have to kill me to get rid of me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lulu in Berlin (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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