Pandora’s Box (1929) – Georg Wilhelm Pabst


The next dramatic title to be highlighted in the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film is this silent German film, starring Louise Brooks.

Unfortunately, this is the first title I’ve come across in this book that didn’t really captivate me, I watched it, but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure what it was that didn’t appeal to me, but for me, it just didn’t take me in.

Brooks plays Lulu, a beguiling and attractive young dancer, who, to me, seemed to be a bit of a spoiled innocent who was well aware of her effect on men and women.  When the film opens, she is living in an apartment, and entertaining  Dr. Ludwig Schon (Fritz Kortner), who sees her as someone he can certainly have a dalliance with, but would never deign to marry – can you imagine what society would say?!

When her first patron, Schigolch (Carl Goetz) arrives, who she proclaims is his father, Lulu starts out on a traumatic journey that sees Schon dropping her to pursue a marriage, which interferes with her relationship with his son, her best friend, Alwa (Francis Lederer) (although how awkward would that have been to have your best friend married to your parent?!).

It also seems that Alwa has been harboring feelings for her for quite sometime, feelings that are echoed by Countess Geschwitz (Alice Roberts), who is also fostering feelings for the pretty young ingenue.


Things go from bad to worse, when Lulu ruins Schon’s engagement, and he finally agrees to marry her, but is shocked and infuriated to discover Schigolch in the wedding chamber!! Confronting Lulu with a gun, insisting she kill herself to spare his honor, and so he won’t have murder on his hands, Schon ends up dead, for which Lulu is tried.

From there, it just gets worse for the poor girl, there’s an escape, there’s human trafficking, and there’s an unfortunate end to the story, as Lulu and her associates fall further and further down into destitution and despair.

I have no problem with the fact that it was a silent movie, in fact, I’ve rather enjoyed all the silent movies I’ve screened since starting this blog, I just couldn’t get into the characters, or find myself caring about them. The film itself looks great, and Brooks is certainly well cast as Lulu, I just couldn’t find a way into the film to enjoy it.

Still, one bit of a miss with all the titles this book has already supplied me with isn’t so very bad, and I am looking forward to exploring the recommendations that follow this one.

Did you see this? What are your thoughts?


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