Pandora's Box - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pandora's Box Reviews

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May 5, 2018
Pandora's Box is the sort of film an actor would kill to have themselves immortalized in cinematic history in the way Louise Brooks' legendary, seductive (I might be a homosexual, but I'd be damned if I didn't find her transfixing and attractive), inimitable performance as Lulu. Her performance is often hailed as one of the greatest ever captured on film and needless to say, the rumors are true. Louise Brooks as Lulu is one of the greatest performances ever recorded. I'd been curious about silent films and had only seen a very select few before coming across this one. Pandora's Box is always listed as one of the all-time greats of silent cinema, but it certainly comes at a cost (I bought the out-of-print Criterion Collection edition from Amazon for over $90. Now the price is over $120 at the time of this review. I have no regrets about what I paid for it). The story follows a beautiful woman named Lulu whose beauty and actions send her along with others around her in a downward spiral resulting in death, running from the law, broken hearts, and then some as she inadvertently leaves a trail of destruction in her wake. It's a film about desires, the reckless abandon of human nature, otherworldly beauty (Which Brooks certainly exuded) and how others seek to obtain it, morals, and even more. There's a lot to chew on in this superb drama (It also features the first know example of a lesbian character to boot) and it is certainly not only one of the great silent films, but also one of the great classics of the medium as a whole. This is a rare, once in a lifetime sort of performance that lovers of cinema must see as Louise Brooks deserves to be hailed as one of the greatest actors of all time. Pandora's Box is a masterpiece of cinema that should not be missed.
January 15, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
½ September 25, 2017
Gorgeous, ultra-sexy and seductive, dark and complex German drama from the prolific era of the 20's directed by productive director G.W. Pabst and starring the irresistible beauty Louise Brooks. She plays a wretched hooker who, even if on the surface she seems to be joyful, is as unhappy as her admirers around her - ultimately she destroys every soul she lays her beautiful eyes on. Every man wants to own her but ultimately nobody wants to be committed to her. The film resembles earlier German instinct films of the early 20's which it actually is mixed with realism of the late period. The film is full of jealousy, uncontrollable lusts and other lewd instincts that drive immature society. The movie beautifully captures German society's confusion with brilliant scenes of debaucheries, killings, courts, abruptly changing one scene after another as well as the mood. The London sequence is fantastic with its foggy and soggy atmosphere (the Christmas parade looks like a funeral march) and the ultimate submission of Alwa, the only man who truly loved Lulu.
September 16, 2017
It is hard to evaluate this film. I think it is visually stunning and I appreciate its role in silent film, but I found it slightly hard to follow and overly long.
½ March 6, 2017
Only a sadist could like this movies. It's incredibly long and boring. Just because it is old doesn't mean it is still good.
December 4, 2016
Pandora's Box is an undoubtedly influential and brave movie (for the time), featuring heavy themes, an elaborate storyline, and G.W. Pabst's assured direction.
July 10, 2016
The plot is not worth describing, being so much nonsense, and don't even mention the characterisation. This film survives solely due to the timeless luminescence of Louise Brooks, who is vivacious, vulnerable and thoroughly seductive. Saw as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival 2016 with live piano accompaniment which highlighted the melodrama.
December 2, 2015
Come witness the harrowing hijinks of the good-hearted, promiscuous showgirl (played by the stunning Louise Brooks) and her life spiraling downward to a lurid Christmas demise in this silent German classic.
½ December 3, 2014
Lulu is not a traditional femme fatale, but an ill-fated woman of fatal attraction.
November 14, 2014
A well dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world... Step outside. It's the only way to feel the sun--Before there was GILDA there was Lulu and Louise Brooks... Fatale beautÚ!!
November 10, 2014
Weimar Germany era racy silent film classic starring Louis Brooks who popularized the hairstyle of the era. This longish film starts as a story about a naive dancer and eventually includes a murder trial, Jack the Ripper vignette and Christmas season finale.
September 25, 2014
Pandora's Box is brilliant on a technical level because the direction is excellent, the pace is brisk, the cinematography is superb and it is an all-around beautifully made film plus Louise Brooks shine all the way through and her character is very good and even similar to Scarlett O'Hara in some respect, but the story is not as brilliant owing to an overly melodramatic tone and the film is too eventful and filled with not particularly well developed characters, except for the protagonist. It is a very good film, but also the one which could have been much better.
July 31, 2014
Pandora's Box (1929) - 8

German silent classic directed by Georg Whilhelm Plabst. The libertine and na´ve spirit of seductive Lulu is a potentially fatal trap to any man or woman who crosses paths with the young dancer. Seemingly unaware of the consequences of her actions, Lulu drifts at the mercy of events in a melodramatic adventure marked by strong sexuality and deviltry. Lulu's treacherous spell will be her doom; she will fall into misery and despair, and will meet a tragic fate at the hands of Jack the Ripper. Lulu personifies the Greek myth of Pandora on which the movie is thematically based. Pandora's Box is notable for lifting Louise Brooks into stardom, and for, presumably, being the first movie in the history of cinema to deal with the lesbian theme. This is a must-see for fans of Louise Brooks, fans of silent cinema and to whomever wants to see how homosexuality was treated on the screen in a period where it was still a taboo subject. The ludicrous pathos lends a funnier quality to the movie than it is supposed to be, but this doesn't hinder the cinematic experience. Wonderful cinematography and camera work. Supremely fun and naughty movie. Recommended.
July 27, 2014
year s/b 1928 not 29
January 6, 2014
Louise Brooks, one of the first femme fatales, beautiful, sensual, and absolutely magnificent. She doesn't play Lulu, she is Lulu, in all of her innocent sexuality that drives men (and women) crazy for her. Her performance is so natural, and yet so subtle; her face can show thousand emotions at once. From seductress to a vulnerable young girl, Brooks is brilliant in her film role.
Overall, an excellent film, complex, erotic, and unforgettable. Essential viewing.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2013
Great film -- uncharacteristically for a silent film, I was glued to it for the whole duration. Brooks' performance (and her unmatched beauty) brought out emotions as I by turns sympathized with but also pitied Lulu, naive but unintentionally destructive by her sheer magnetism. Well directed, well lit, and well shot. And although no one can match Brooks' natural screen presence, the rest of the cast does an adequate job acting out their roles. The music accompaniment for my viewing was also quite superb -- the brief moments of Chopin and Christmas tinkle pulled my heart strings, almost as much as Brooks' tears. The film runs a bit long but all in all, a good film and ahead of its time in many respects. 4-4.5/5.
September 4, 2013
Louise Brooks is truly unforgettable in this portrait of an unconventional, liberated woman of the future living in stodgy, oppressive 1920's society, without really knowing the consequences of her actions due to her free-spirited ways and her kind heart. Even the arc of the plot seems to be a condemnation of her and that just makes the film all the more powerful, though perhaps a bit outdated in our eyes. It's also a harsh criticism of 1920's society, thought ironically the film was intended to uphold those very same values and mores.
August 9, 2013
People love what is new and kill what is familiar.
June 27, 2013
Louise Brooks is uncanny in this. Phenomenal.
May 23, 2013
No one could create Louise Brooks, just like no one could create Pabst's 'Lulu'. No. Pabst's 'Lulu' had to be real, had to exist, and had to do so naturally; unaware. No. Louise Brooks is not a Pabst invention, and neither is her performance in Pandora's Box. What Pabst did, quite simply, was find his 'Lulu'. The film itself is pure invention, Pabst used psychology as his weapon and his intellect as his charm. He pinned actors against each other, he favored one actor on Monday only to dismiss him by Tuesday. Pabst created the purest form of realism possible. By exposing his actor's insecurities, hiding the plot from them, and initiating mind games with every member of the cast on and off set. Pabst loved chess. His love of chess is evident in Pandora's Box. Pandora's Box is his 'check-mate'.

So. No. Pabst did not create Lousie Brooks. Pabst made Lousie Brooks what she is today; an ultimately tragic relic of a bygone age. I cannot believe how astonishingly perfect Pandora's Box was conceived. Pabst is a true nobleman of the cinema for a number of reasons, my confidence will never sway in that regard. Pabst made the perfect film. A rarity, a pleasure, and a true art. His direction, the key to the enigma, only comes out of its perpetual hiding after a few viewings. It is Louise Brooks, and only Louise Brooks, that your eyes and heart feast on during the first time you watch Pandora's Box. Brooks was the most enchanting, dazzling, and transcendental of the silent screen goddesses. In the scene where Shon's is caught making love to her by his fiancÚ and his son, Brooks delivers the greatest facial expression ever captured on film. An act of dominance and sexual achievement. A grin that is truly timeless, as if she's staring through time and space, testing your wildest urges, daring you to love her, and begging you to beg to forget it. Although Brooks didn't know then, or even cared to know at the time, soon she would have Pabst all figured out. She realized that the greatest performance of her career, and one of the most legendary in all of cinema, was not a performance at all, it wasn't even acting. It was her. It was documentary. I was real. Perhaps the greatest invention belonging to G. W. Pabst was the invention of truth. Things look different when they are being filmed, it is a natural reaction to put on on an act of sort when one knows he or she is being watched. Pabst bypassed that fault in cinematic realism and created reality. Untouched by fabled hands, pure and innocent, L. Brooks. Arguably, Pabst is the only director who has ever accomplished such a remarkable feat.
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