In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... See full summary »
Lulu is a beautiful young woman who can seemingly work her charms on all of the men around her. She is currently being kept by the rich editor Dr. Ludwig Schön. She is just a plaything however and he is engaged to be married to Charlotte, a woman of his own class. He arranges for Lulu to appear in his son Alwa's musical revue and he too falls for all of her charms. When Dr. Schön and his fiancée go to the theater, Lulu ensures that he is put in a compromising situation and the elder Schön feels he now must marry her, knowing full well it will ruin his reputation. On his wedding day, Dr. Schön reaches his breaking point. His actions cost him his life however and Lulu is convicted of manslaughter. She escapes with the help of her old cronies but together they begin a downward spiral.Written by
Louise Brooks, who had faded into obscurity by the late 1930s, was delighted by her renewed popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, much of which was actually the result of intensive self-promotion by herself and her mentor, James Card, and even went so far as to attend re-releases of her films in crowded revival houses. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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Salvation Army Woman:
[Unbeknownst, to Jack the Ripper]
Brother, how can I help you?
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Georg Wilhelm Pabst commented with irony the changes imposed by foreign censors and distributors: "I do not know why someone thought useful to substitute Doctor Schoen's son, Alva Schoen, by an assistant, mark Heding; or why Frank Wedekind the play-writer who is not exactly unknown in France, was renamed Thoma Wedering. I do not know why Loulou is acquitted in the French version, while she is condemned in mine; or why the so important sequence of Jack the Ripper was cut, which gives the film a ridiculous moralistic end. It is not surprising that the nature of my characters have been completely changed... I would at least hope that one would have shown the film as I have created it, to professionals, so that they could evaluate it. They did not want to do it. So many efforts wasted for nothing. They wield the scissors... When will be rid of this plague?" (Source: Pour Vous, Paris magazine, May 2, 1929, quoted by Adonis Kyrou in "Amour-Erotisme & Cinéma", 1957.) See more »
An extraordinary silent film that transcends both its medium and time
Lulu, the protagonist of _Pandora's box_ portrayed by Louise Brooks, lives beyond the constraints of time. She was radiant, outrageous - an icon of modernity that seemed to transcend all time and place. She challenged sexual conventions, and became a screen seductress like no other - not through the traditional devices of the femme fatale, but rather through her bold, kittenish innocence.
This portrayal of innocence is largely what makes her performance both powerful and unique. She's outrageously excessive and provocative, but because she engenders such sympathy, we cannot fail to identify with her. In a sense, she seduces us as she seduces the men whom she encounters. That identification, despite her destructiveness, is much of what makes this film so compelling; we love her despite ourselves.
There are three films that permanently altered my sense of the power of the silent cinema: Sunrise (Murnau); The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer), and this triumph.
This film reaches the highest pinnacle of the cinematic experience; it transforms the viewer through its indelible images and hypnotic captivation.
I can only wish that the first time viewer has the pleasure of experiencing this film and Brooks' immortal performance in a theater with live accompaniment as I did at the Virginia Film Festival.
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