Saturday, October 24, 2009

46. Die Buchse der Pandora/Pandora's Box (1929)

Running Time: 133 minutes
Directed By: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Written By: Joseph Fleisler, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, from the plays "Erdgeist" and Die Buchse der Pandora by Frank Wedekind
Main Cast: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Krafft-Raschig, Alice Roberts

GOODBYE TWENTIES...

We'll end the twenties and begin the thirties with a German double feature, the first of which, Pandora's Box, is quite good and all the credit goes to the marvelous cast for executing this film.

Luoise Brooks plays Lulu, a beautiful, sexy seductress who can make any man fall to their knees with lust. However, Lulu has her eyes on Dr. Schon, a man who is already engaged and when the film starts looks to break off his affair with Lulu. At first, Lulu doesn't seem to care, knowing that she can have any man she wants anyhow, but when she overhears Dr. Schon tell his son that you just don't marry a woman like Lulu, then she must have what it appears as if she cannot. So, Lulu and Dr. Schon are married, but on their wedding night, Dr. Schon happens upon Lulu alone in a room with Schigoloch (who is either her father or her pimp, it is never defined) and a nightclub strongman Rodrigo, in a compromising situation, Dr. Schon's suspicions become reality and he realizes that he'll never fully be happy with Lulu, as there'll always be other men and he'll always be jealous. Dr. Schon removes a gun from his dresser and at first, attempts to murder the two men, but when the house is emptied later in the night, takes the gun and demands that Lulu kill herself, so that he can become a rational man again, without her. When a struggle takes place, Dr. Schon is shot and killed and Lulu is put on trial for his murder. She is sentenced to five years in prison, but when a commotion breaks out in the courtroom, Lulu gets away with Schon's son, Alwa, who has always had eyes for her.

Alwa and Lulu hop a train to Paris and make their home on a gambling boat, where Alwa seems to be addicted to the game of cards and Lulu is left to fend for herself. With Rodrigo and Schigoloch along for the ride, it seems that everyone is out to get Lulu and her world is crumbling beneath her feet. Has karma nipped Lulu in the bud and will her life continue to spiral downward after the tragic events of her wedding night?

The thing that makes this film is the performance of Louise Brooks as Lulu. Without her there'd be no film. Well maybe there'd be a film, but certainly not as good a film, as the one that G.W. Pabst put out, with Louise Brooks as his star. She totally captivates you, the viewer and you become another man in 1920's Germany, who cannot help but be a little bit smitten by her good looks and erotic behavior. Everything about her is pitch perfect, from the way she carries herself, to her costumes, to her gestures and actions. Louise Brooks nails this part and it's a shame this is the last film with her in the book, because I would've really liked to seen more of her. The rest of the cast plays off of her perfectly, adjusting their talent to interject with hers beautifully. However, there are a few dull spots in the film, which brought it down a few notches for me. Some of the scenes, such as the one on the train, as Alwa and Lulu are escaping and the really long scene on the gambling boat, could've been a hair shorter. But, I'll go back to the positives and say if there's any reason to see this film, then it's for the performance of Louise Brooks!

RATING: 6/10 Great performances with an average story, equal out to an above average rating and the twenties are finished, my friends!

NEXT UP: The Blue Angel...Look out thirties, here I come!

October 24, 2009 4:52am

3 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the last film of the 20's

    ReplyDelete
  2. And, again, thanks for being the only other person who has seen this!
    I really must see it again, and soon..
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  3. Louise Brooks was gorgeous and she was great in this. A big reason to like this movie. Without her it wouldn't have been as special.

    ReplyDelete

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