Pandora’s Box (1922): Iconic Flapper Louise Brooks as Man-Eating Vamp

I wanted to like this film. And there is a lot to like about it. It is directed by G.W. Pabst, a German director, and it stars American actress Louise Brooks.Louise Brooks was always an iconic flapper

You may not know who Louise Brooks is, but if you see her picture you will be immediately familiar with her startling for its day but now iconic flapper look. Like I said, there is a lot to like about the film, including the participants, the direction (which is amazing) and the incredible use of light and shadow and dramatic imagery. But the film falls apart on the story. It’s pretty maudlin and unbelievable, even for Hollywood, even for the silent film era — and those are its good points.

This is a famous silent film and deservedly so. I can see why. The direction and images, again, are second to none. But the story of a woman who uses her sexuality to get what she wants, and then meets a Jack the Ripper kind of killer in London later on, pales. It could have been a much better story, I think, but whoever wrote it just phoned in the dramatic elements and left everything else to chance.  Pabst, being something of a genius, did the best he could with such third-rate material.

Anyway, that’s how it seemed to me. Sorry, but even though this is a very famous silent film, and Louise Brooks is exceptional, and the direction of Pabst is first-rate, I can’t recommend it at all. Oh, for the record, the music soundtrack blows chunks, too. It often doesn’t match what’s happening on screen. Too bad.

I really wanted to like this one.

“We will live on the leavings of the devil.”

I am headed to Fort Griffin and Abilene today for research purposes. I don’t have to do this. As far as that goes I don’t have to leave the house to write anything anymore. Not with resources like YouTube and Google Earth and Wikipedia and what not. But as I mentioned before the actual experience of being in a place brings something to the table when you sit down later to write about it.

I also want to get this little side trip out of the way because that will be one less place I have to visit on my big trip along the border next spring. Almost all of the book takes place along the Mexico-US border so I want to concentrate there. One thing bothers me, though. I am having trouble wrestling with whether I should go ahead and write these chapters and then go on the trips, or the other way around. But I don’t want to put this novel on hold. I think that’s a mistake. So I will go ahead and write it. Then after I take the trip I can go back and add any detail or fix anything that needs fixing.

I can do that.

Anyway, I’m leaving today and will be back tomorrow. You can follow me on Twitter and I’ll post when I can during the trip and about any impressions I have. Don’t really know what cell service is like at Fort Griffin but it has to be better than Caprock Canyon and Palo Duro. I won’t be taking my computer,  just a notebook.

I’ll take pictures and post them when I get back. There’s also a great Mexican food restaurant in Abilene I’ve eaten at before. I will have dinner there tonight.

 

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