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Pandora's Box

Pandora's Box (1929)

tomatometer

73

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 4,814

My Rating

Movie Info

German filmmaker G.W. Pabst's late-silent classic Pandora's Box (Die Büchse der Pandora) stars the hauntingly beautiful Louise Brooks as libertine dancer Lulu. Ever out for the "main chance," Lulu persuades her wealthy lover Dr. Schön (Fritz Kortner) to marry her. But in a fit of jealous rage, he pulls a gun, a scuffle ensues, and she shoots him. Eventually escaping to London with the doctor's moonstruck son Alwa (Francis Lederer), Lulu takes up residence with her "adopted" father Schigolch

Nov 28, 2006

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (3) | DVD (11)

Louise Brooks, especially imported for the title role, does not pan out, due to no fault of hers. She is quite unsuited to the vamp type which was called for by the play from which the picture was made.

February 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the classic films of the German silent era.

February 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Brooks overwhelms the lens with her magnetic eyes.

October 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you've never seen Brooks -- or Pandora's Box -- you've missed one of the most extraordinary personalities and films of the silent movie era.

October 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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The movie remains one of the most insightful depictions of the elemental incongruity between man's nature and woman's.

July 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

2006 is the centennial of actress Louise Brooks, and to honor it, her greatest film, Pandora's Box, is being released in a new 35-mm print in New York's Film Forum before being taken around the country.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's horrifying and beautiful conclusion becomes more poignant and powerful with each passing year.

February 27, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

There is so much of modern movie life here that the picture, like Brooks' beauty, defies the ravages of time.

February 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

If ever an actor was born to be seen in black-and-white it was Louise Brooks, who is as luminous as ever in this new restoration of GW Pabst's silent nightmare-melodrama.

February 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The film...is more interested in the waywardness of almost everyone's longings and in their failures of self-preservation than it is about Lulu's particular immorality or recklessness.

January 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

"Pandora's Box" is a German silent film that Paris Hilton could relate to. She wouldn't like the way it ends, though.

December 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Give all due credit to Pabst, but Brooks pretty much single-handedly raises Pandora's Box above being just another doomed-bad-girl melodrama.... She makes Lulu unfathomable, a well that always has more to give. Therefore, so is the film.

December 11, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDJournal.com
DVDJournal.com

Bold for its time, this restored, uncut version is a touch slow at some points, but its star glows throughout.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Pabst was a psychologically astute filmmaker, but it's the shockingly sensual, charismatic Brooks that makes the picture.

July 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Brooks offers a brilliantly guileless performance.

June 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's something that should not be missed.

June 17, 2006
Greenwich Village Gazette

More than a little overbaked and frequently veering from the artistic to the artsy. But Louise Brooks is, herself, every inch a classic.

June 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

This is a stirring vision of the world gripped by a sinister moral vice--a nosedive into a carnal abyss of despair lined with visionary chiaroscuro sights and thorny mythological references.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Pandora's Box

The original melodrama. Louise Brooks is sooo sexy.
April 29, 2011
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

Brooks plays a girl who plays around with men, she doesn't want to be thought of as a prostitute or anything though, she never goes with guys she doesn't like. She marries an older man, but he believes he has ruined his reputation by doing so, so he decides they must die together. She doesn't think that's a good idea, but he ends up killing himself anyway, and she is blamed for his murder. She goes on the run with the guy's son, and they gamble away all their money. I wanted to write my own summary of this movie because the one on Flixster tells you about Jack the Ripper as if he played an important part throughout the film, but really we only see him in the end, which I don't want to give away. I didn't like this movie much because the story was pretty confusing most of the time, I think mainly because there aren't enough title cards (the written dialogue shown). Also, I thought the ending was stupid. I did like the movie for Brooks' acting and the interesting characters, so it's not a bad movie. Overall, it's okay.
October 23, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

it's hard to imagine the audience reaction to this when it premiered 80 (!) years ago. with frank sexual themes, lesbianism, prostitution and murder they couldn't have gone much further without lulu appearing stark naked. louise brooks looks amazing and gives a remarkable performance. lulu's not a bad girl really; she just wants to be loved. i liked the piano score too; very evocative
July 27, 2009
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Pandora's Box is a landmark film and an eye-opening experience for anyone who still thinks silent pictures are simplistic and benign.

Louise Brooks' "Lulu" is iconic in every sense of the word. From her graceful form to her soft focus closeups to the way she approached and embraced the character, Brooks is as close to pure graphic stylization as anything I've ever witnessed. She's utterly desirable and yet completely unobtainable. Her personification of femininity might have represented new-found freedom for women of that era but, as a man, I found her to be joyously frustrating.
February 23, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Büchse der Pandora (DE)
  • Pandora's Box (Die Büchse der Pandora) (CA)
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