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.

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2 Comments

  1. M.K. You may have really wanted to like this one because “every guy wants a man-eating woman”, as my huband says! Kidding aside, I know what you mean by a movie that results from “phone-ins”, unfortunately. Hope your “next story” is once again running your life!

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