Pandora's Box (1929)
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 (Carl Götz), where she is reduced to walking the streets, with tragic consequences. Pandora's Box (based on two works by the controversial German writer Franz Wedekind) exudes smoky sensuality in every frame; regarded now as a masterpiece, the film received surprisingly scathing reviews, with most of the critical broadsides aimed at Louise Brooks (this was long before Brooks graduated from just another pretty Hollywood starlet to Cult Goddess). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critical Consensus: Soggy "Nacho," Aimless "Drift," Untidy "House"
– Rotten Tomatoes
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Critic Reviews for Pandora's Box
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.
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.
The movie remains one of the most insightful depictions of the elemental incongruity between man's nature and woman's.
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.
[VIDEO ESSAY] ["Pandora's Box"] can be construed as the first international LGBT film ever.
The movie's horrifying and beautiful conclusion becomes more poignant and powerful with each passing year.
There is so much of modern movie life here that the picture, like Brooks' beauty, defies the ravages of time.
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.
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.
"Pandora's Box" is a German silent film that Paris Hilton could relate to. She wouldn't like the way it ends, though.
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.
Bold for its time, this restored, uncut version is a touch slow at some points, but its star glows throughout.
Pabst was a psychologically astute filmmaker, but it's the shockingly sensual, charismatic Brooks that makes the picture.
It's something that should not be missed.
Audience Reviews for Pandora's Box
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.More
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 evocativeMore
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.
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