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
The character of Lulu, the free-spirited and sexually-promiscuous Berlin flapper, her iconic haircut, blatant sexuality, and manner of dress momentarily influenced the model of what became known as the "new modern woman" in Europe and the United States. See more »
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 »
commented with irony the changes imposed by foreign censors and distributors: "I do not know why someone thought useful to substitute Doctor Schoen's son, Alva Schoen, by an assistant, mark Heding; or why the play-writer who is not exactly unknown in France, was renamed Thoma Wedering. I do not know why Loulou is acquitted in the French version, while she is condemned in mine; or why the so important sequence of Jack the Ripper was cut, which gives the film a ridiculous moralistic end. It is not surprising that the nature of my characters have been completely changed... I would at least hope that one would have shown the film as I have created it, to professionals, so that they could evaluate it. They did not want to do it. So many efforts wasted for nothing. They wield the scissors... When will be rid of this plague?" (Source: Pour Vous, Paris magazine, May 2, 1929, quoted by in "Amour-Erotisme & Cinéma", 1957.) See more »
I had heard "Pandora's Box" called a German Expressionist film, the class to which such great and outlandish films as Wiene's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", and Lang's "Metropolis" and the sadly dated but very interesting "Nosferatu" by Walter Murnau, I expected it to have the same elements-- extremely stylized acting and direction, bizarre artificial sets, and a general atmosphere of utter surreality. So I was very surprised at and fascinated with the naturalism of G. W. Pabst's "Pandora's Box", particularly with Louise Brook's celebrated performance as the cheerful, childlike, tragic femme fatale Lulu. Pabst's direction is essentially modern, even without the use of sound. While sometimes the direction and acting in even "Caligari" and "Metropolis" provoke laughter from the bemused audience,"Pandora's Box" holds the viewer spellbound, and its not infrequent humor is intentional. Like other German Expressionist silent films, "Pandora's Box" has a dark message. From the beginning, however, it is far less stylized, and the settings look like they might actually have existed in the 1920's, instead of only in someone's dream world. Nevertheless the film makes excellent use of Expressionistic lighting and chiaroscuro, which highlights the visions of fruitless and immoral frivolity, desperate gambling and unhealthy sexuality.
Altogether, this film is beautiful and absorbing, and even if nothing else, it should not be missed for Louise Brooks' superb performance.
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