Thursday, 19 May 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 145: Thursday May 26

Pandora's Box (Pabst, 1928): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm
With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney

This is based on two Frank Wedekind plays and is one of the great silent works of Weimar Germany, most notable for a startling performance by Louise Brooks.

Here is an extract from the excellent Silent London blog which gives some background to this memorable movie:

'If you haven’t seen Pandora’s Box (1929) before, I’m actually a little jealous of you. This film and its notorious leading lady are so irrepressibly gorgeous that your first viewing really should be a big-screen experience – and this is the perfect opportunity.

By the end of the 1920s Louise Brooks had had her fill of Hollywood, and Hollywood had pretty much had its fill of her. Lucky, then, that she caught the eye of German director GW Pabst and moved to swinging Weimar Berlin to take the lead role in Pandora’s Box. Brooks plays Lulu, a hedonistic dancer who pursues her own pleasure at the expense of bourgeois morality, or pretty much anyone’s morality, come to mention it. 

The role has come to define Brooks and rightly so. Who hasn’t, when watching Brooks shake her iconic bob, thought: “That girl could get away with murder”? Pandora’s Box puts that theory to the test like no other movie, and Brooks’s sensual performance radiates here – even as events take a series of sinister turns and the film transforms from a backstage comedy, to a thriller, to something approaching horror.'

Here is the Chicago Reader review:

'G.W. Pabst's 1928 portrayal of eroticism and despair, a seductive and craftily constructed vehicle. Louise Brooks is magnificent as Lulu the seductress, who, as Lotte Eisner describes her, is “endowed with an animal beauty, but lacking all moral sense, and doing evil unconsciously.” One of the classic films of the German silent era.' 109 min.

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