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
After a warm critical reception immediately upon release, this film fell into relative obscurity until British film historian Kenneth Tynan's article, "The Girl in the Black Helmet," published by The New Yorker in 1979 reacquainted the film public with Pandora's Box (1929) and its star Louise BrooksSee more »
As Lulu looks at herself in the mirror after the wedding, the wedding dress is off her right shoulder. The position of the dress on her right arm and shoulder varies between shots from when she is confronted by Dr Schon till his death. 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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