Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Albert Lewin's interpretation of the legend of the Flying Dutchman. In a little Spanish seaport named Esperanza, during the 30s, appears Hendrick van der Zee, the mysterious captain of a yacht (he is the only one aboard). Pandora is a beautiful woman (who men kill and die for). She's never really fallen in love with any man, but she feels very attracted to Hendrick... We are soon taught that Hendrick is the Flying Dutchman, this sailor of the 17th century that has been cursed by God to wander over the seas until the Doomsday... unless a woman is ready to die for him...

  • The beautiful Pandora Reynolds has a great many admirers. The men in her life will seemingly do anything for her - one, race car driver Stephen Cameron, gladly sends his car over a cliff to prove his love - but Pandora isn't enamored with any of them. The arrival of Hendrik van der Zee intrigues her however. He's strange man who keeps mostly to himself. Pandora soon learns that he is the legendary Flying Dutchman who, every 7 years, gets to live among mortals searching for the woman who would love him and be prepared to die for him, thus relieving from his burden of an eternal life of loneliness.

  • In 1930, singer Pandora Reynolds, gorgeous, enigmatic, and fascinated by danger and destruction, has the men of a small Spanish town in despair. Just when race driver Stephen Cameron thinks he's won her, a mysterious yacht appears in the bay whose eerie captain may be the legendary Flying Dutchman. Stephen has an apparently more dangerous rival in the form of an arrogant bullfighter; but Pandora's friendship with the Dutchman may lead them both to a rendezvous with Fate...

  • A seductive woman falls in love with a mysterious ship's captain.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In Spain, 1930, beautiful PANDORA REYNOLDS, an American chanteuse, drives every man to distraction. They fall in love with her, yet few can possess her. One such suitor, REGGIE, even poisons himself. Pandora's friends include archeologist GEOFFREY and his niece JANET. Eventually, Pandora agrees to marry race-car driver STEPHEN, whom she asks to prove his love by making him push his beloved race car off a cliff.

    But Pandora later spots a mysterious yacht at sea. She tosses off her clothing and swims to it, finding a solitary man on board, HENDRICK van der ZEE, a Dutchman, who's currently painting a portrait of the legendary Pandora. The real Pandora sees that she looks exactly the same. Clearly attracted to the melancholy, handsome Hendrick, Pandora makes a dinner date with him.

    Later, Geoffrey asks Hendrick to translate a Dutch legend, which turns out to be the legend of The Flying Dutchman, and we see it acted out. Convinced his wife Pandora has been unfaithful, the Dutchman kills her. When asked at his trial if he has anything to say, he blasphemes, declaring that Heaven is a lie, and asking that if he be wrong, God may do what He pleases with his immortal soul. That night, the door to his prison cell is mysteriously left open, and the Dutchman returns to his ship and sleeps. As he sleeps, a heavenly voice tells him that his wife was not unfaithful after all, and that he is cursed to sail his ship alone forever with a ghostly crew, unable to die, the curse unending until he finds a woman whose love is strong enough to die for him. He is allowed to go onshore every seven years to search for this woman. Pandora walks in as Hendrick finishes the translation, and she senses something is wrong with the deeply conflicted Hendrick.

    And indeed, we learn that Hendrick is the fabled Flying Dutchman, and he believes that Pandora is the reincarnation of his beloved. Meanwhile, Pandora's other suitor, JUAN MATALVO, a famous matador, returns to town, not happy that Pandora is engaged. Later, he sees Pandora kissing Hendrick, and he burns with jealousy.

    Hendrick is now certain he's found his lost love, but when Pandora tells him that she would give up her life for him, Hendrick intentionally angers her, sending her away in tears, realizing that he loves her too much for her to give up her life. Meanwhile, matador Juan Mantalvo wants Pandora to marry him, not racecar driver Stephen.

    Juan Mantalvo sneaks up on Hendrick one night, stabbing him, watching him fall to the floor, hoping that with Hendrick out of the way, Pandora will give up Stephen and marry him instead. But Hendrick cannot be killed, given the curse, and he gets up after Mantalvo leaves.

    At the big bullfight, Mantalvo performs with his usual skills. When he sees Hendrick taking a seat in the grandstands, however, Mantalvo, believing he has seen a ghost, is distracted long enough for the bull to gore him before the horrified crowd. He later dies, after telling Pandora the truth.

    Hendrick returns to his ship, but Pandora, realizing the truth, swims out and joins him. The two realize how fate has intended them for each other, and Pandora frees him from the curse by telling him she would die for him. And so, now a terrible storm comes up, wrecking the ship, and the two lovers-Pandora and the Flying Dutchman-are found dead on the beach in each other's arms.

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