In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... See full summary »
Lulu is a beautiful young woman who can seemingly work her charms on all of the men around her. She is currently being kept by the rich editor Dr. Ludwig Schön. She is just a plaything however and he is engaged to be married to Charlotte, a woman of his own class. He arranges for Lulu to appear in his son Alwa's musical revue and he too falls for all of her charms. When Dr. Schön and his fiancée go to the theater, Lulu ensures that he is put in a compromising situation and the elder Schön feels he now must marry her, knowing full well it will ruin his reputation. On his wedding day, Dr. Schön reaches his breaking point. His actions cost him his life however and Lulu is convicted of manslaughter. She escapes with the help of her old cronies but together they begin a downward spiral.Written by
After a warm critical reception immediately upon release, this film fell into relative obscurity until British film historian Kenneth Tynan's article, "The Girl in the Black Helmet," published by The New Yorker in 1979 reacquainted the film public with Pandora's Box (1929) and its star Louise BrooksSee more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
See more »
Upon its initial release, the film was cut in numerous different ways to suit different countries:
In France, Alwa was not Schon's son but his secretary - a change which actually had the effect of implying a homosexual relationship between the two men.
In the United States, the film was released in a heavily censored 90-minute version, with a happy ending. This ending - in which Lulu joins the Salvation Army - was so unconvincing that when the film played in New York, its distributors placed a disclaimer at the beginning, emphasizing that they were not responsible for the censorship forced upon them, and they apologized for what was termed "an added saccharine ending."
The film was restored in 1983, but the fact that it originally ran 130 minutes and the restored version is only 110 minutes means that some original footage may be lost forever.
Besides the grim fatalist moral lesson, the film is lacking Expressionist ideals, and is more in tune with later Weimar cinema. The fact that it has a female lead certainly separates it from the classic Expressionist works. And shadowing and landscape techniques are much more modernized reflecting Weimar's embrace of technology and immersion into consumer culture. Even today, there are few female actors that represent such a powerful will and dominant presence as Louise Brooks did in her masterful performance. The film was not very popular at its time of production and I wonder how much that has to do with this strong female presence.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this