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 »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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[referring to the Egyptian]
He's acting like he wants to buy me.
I need money badly and you have none to give me... The Egyptian will give me 50 more pounds than the German police... You're in luck.
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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."
This feature has quite an unusual feel to it - generally downbeat, but engrossing, and filled with sordid characters and settings, yet somehow artistic. Moreover, it's not downbeat or sordid in the pretentious, empty way that characterizes so many recent movies. Rather, despite portraying its characters in a largely unfavorable light, it neither exploits them nor glorifies them. These persons are shown simply to be what they are, and while there is a certain inevitability about many of the things that befall them, there is a thoughtfulness as well. You would not want to be like, or perhaps even meet, most of these characters, and yet you want to wish them better luck.
Louise Brooks gets most of the attention (both in the movie itself and from those who discuss it). The "Pandora's Box" image for her character is appropriate, in that Lulu is never ill-intentioned nor malicious, and yet she often puts the other characters in difficult situations, just by being who she is and acting naturally. All of the other significant characters are defined largely in terms of their responses to her and relationships with her, and all of the characters (including Lulu) have very evident faults and make some very preventable blunders. The result is an unusual and very interesting movie. Director G.W. Pabst deserves the credit most of all for creating the atmosphere, putting everything together, and making it work so well.
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