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Pandora's Box [DVD]

Louise Brooks , Fritz Kortner , Georg Wilhelm Pabst    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Pandora's Box [DVD] + Lulu in Hollywood
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Product details

  • Actors: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Krafft-Raschig
  • Directors: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
  • Writers: Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Joseph Fleisler, Frank Wedekind, Ladislaus Vajda
  • Producers: Heinz Landsmann, Seymour Nebenzal
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jun 2002
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000667MT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,655 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Made at the very end of the silent era, Pandora's Box is one of the last flowerings of German cinema's greatest decade. It also marked the highpoint of two careers: Austrian director GW Pabst and American actress Louise Brooks. A merge of two linked plays by the decadent German playwright Frank Wedekind, it's the story of Lulu, the archetypal femme fatale (the same plays served as source for Alban Berg's masterly 1935 opera). At once sensual and innocent, a force of uninhibited sexuality, Lulu brings ruin on all her lovers both male and female, and ultimately upon herself.

Hollywood never knew what to do with Brooks who, with her fierce intelligence and her open delight in sex, refused to play the coy flappers then in fashion. In Pabst, whose genius, she wrote, "lay in getting to the heart of a person", she found the director she needed, and he brought out her a screen persona with a depth of eroticism that's still breathtaking to see. The film features some of the finest German acting talent of the period--Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer--but it's Brooks' luminous performance that rivets the eye and makes her a great screen icon.

Though the action is nominally set in the late-19th century--Lulu ends up in a shadowy London where she encounters Jack the Ripper--Pandora's Box breathes the gamey air of the Weimar Republic, vividly captured by Günther Krampf's pungent photography. This release runs well over two hours and includes, for the first time in decades, over 30 minutes of cut footage, restoring the film to something very close to Pabst's original masterpiece.

On the DVD: Pandora's Box on DVD is a clean, crisp transfer in the classic 4:3 ratio, and the mono soundtrack brings out all the detail of Peer Rubens' Kurt Weill-inflected score, stylishly performed by the Kontraste Ensemble. Dialogue intertitles can be read in either English or German. We also get an outstanding 60-minute documentary, Looking for Lulu, about Brooks' life and career: warmly narrated by Shirley MacLaine, it features excerpts from an interview with Brooks from 1976. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

Pandora's Box, the silent classic that caused a scandal on its 1929 release, stars Louise Brooks in the most memorable role of her career. Lulu is a high class prostitute whose incredible beauty and passion for life leaves a trail of broken admirers in her wake. She effortlessly gets what she wants as she discards one lover for the next but events soon begin to spiral out of her control. Beyond the iconic black bob and porcelain skin, Louise Brooks radiated sexuality with an unparalleled subtlety of expression and gesture. In Pandora's Box she gives her most captivating and erotically charged performance and displays a smouldering screen presence that has never been equalled. Special Bonus Feature: Looking For Lulu. Narrated by Shirley MacLaine, this critically acclaimed documentary features rare film footage and photographs, interviews with friends, relatives and acting colleagues, as well as a fascinating interview with Brooks herself recorded in 1976. Looking For Lulu is a unique insight into one of the screen's greatest legends. Special Feature: 'Looking For Lulu' documentary: Narrated by Shirley MacLaine, this hour long, critically acclaimed documentary features rare film footage and photographs, interviews with friends, relatives and acting colleagues, as well as a fascinating interview with Brooks herself recorded in 1976


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Having practically grown up with various incarnations of"Pandora's Box" (from grainy 16 mm prints to VHS copies), it was gratifying to finally see this classic in a newly restored print. Combined with a newly composed score (which in itself is a model of tasteful composition), the full impact of G.W. Pabst's telling of the Wedekind tale is astonishing. No wonder Louise Brooks became an icon for generations of filmgoers. The naturalness with which she conveys the complex character of Lulu runs the gamut of subtleties (which were never really visable in previous versions owing to the murk of bad prints) and one could scarcely wonder why she didn't achieve the same status in America. Clearly, the director and actor were exploring new territory here - one which American filmakers were simply not doing.
This version of Pandora's Box is the one to have and to view over and over again. It is filled with a richness that defies age.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Box of Delights 4 April 2008
By Donald Thompson VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
This is a movie I've wanted to see for a long time. Yet was always put off when confronted with various edited versions previously available. One of which infamously lasted only 55 minutes! This is the full restored version brought together by Second Sight. And it certainly is worth the wait. Th central character of Lulu is played by Louise Brooks, in her most famous role, as a carefree promiscuous naive waif. She is adored by men, and in a groundbreaking role, by women. In this case played by the reclusive belgian actress Alice Roberts. Unwittingly she brings tragedy and destruction to all those round her, except the repulsive and enigmatic Schigolch, who may be her father or her pimp. Through it all Lulu tries to do only what is the best for everyone, but as in the original Greek myth of Pandora, it is the lust of men, and in this case one woman, for her which leads ultimately to their own destruction and demise. In the end it is Lulu's desire to do good for others which leads to her own demise at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
Directed by G W Pabst in Berlin just three years before Hitler came to power, the film in essence is a tale of the Weimar Republics "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" attitude to life. Its roots in German realism are highlighted by the stark differences between Lulu's apartment in Berlin and her final garrett in a fog bound London at christmas. The incongruity of the obvious 50 year time shift is never jarringly obvious, but it is there.
Based on 2 plays by the controversial playwright Wedekind, its avowed aim to shock, and outrage its audience is easily achieved. Pabst giving free rein to all the shocking immorality, to middle class audiences, which lived right under their turned up noses and averted gazes.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Second Sight have worked wonders with this print, backing it with a good orchestral music track. The restoration of previously cut footage, however, is always a mixed blessing and it would have been nice to have a typically cut version available (using the tricks of DVD) just so we could judge for ourselves: cuts are usually made for good reasons and a sensitive editor can tighten the cinematic experience considerably - nobody cut a Pabst film without good reason.
To compensate, Second Sight have provided a marvellous little biopic lasting around an hour including an interview with Louise Brooks herself (among many sentimental reflections from friends etc., and a sprinkling of extracts). US viewers would recognise this as "Looking for Lulu" (available on DVD on the Image label).
What's lacking - this is why I could only rate it 4 - was a leaflet of any sort. A list of chapter points would have been nice - I don't like having to stop the film just to restart it via the scene selection menu; or flick about with the remote control when I could simply key in the scene I want from the list. Further, notes on Wiederkind's two Lulu plays (from which this film was drawn) would have been appreciated. They were censored in Germany and one wonders what sort of reception Pabst received. Also, we might have gained a better insight into the character of Lulu. The interpretive notes on the sleeve are questionable, portraying her as an evil seductress discarding one lover for the next when she's got what she wants. An equal interpretation is that of a woman unable to give what people demand of her; the seeds of her downfall sown in her very naivety, ultimately leading to her degradation and death. In short, she had no measure of the anguish she was causing.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This is the only silent film I have seen (I have difficulty with them) that fits the medium so perfectly, spoken dialogue seems completely unnecessary. The fact that Wedekind’s “Lulu” is part of our literary and dramatic heritage, the fact we all know her from the plays, from Alban Berg’s opera and the film “The Blue Angel” undoubtedly helps.
Overwhelmingly however, it is the truly astounding and magnetic portrayal by Louise Brooks of this most fatale of femme fatales. In the midst of excellent acting and superb direction by the legendary German Director Georg Pabst she towers above everything, literally becoming the character.
To understand Louise Brooks achievement one must learn about the actress, the documentary on her life included on the DVD seems a good start. One learns that Louise was in fact a real life Lulu, thoughtless, wilful, promiscuous, captivating, highly intelligent, wayward to the degree of self destruction.
What a woman!
One of her biographies will soon be on my Amazon wish list.
Interestingly Brooks was Pabst first choice for the part, with Marlene Dietrich second. I agree with Pabst assessment when watching Blue Angel recently, Dietrich is good but lacks that final indomitable self centred detachment needed for the part.
If you find the Lulu character interesting, even if you hate silent films, give this a try. You also get a chance to become acquainted with the life of Louise Brooks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I know Louise Brooks is a great screen icon and this is an iconic film...
I really couldn't get into this. I know Louise Brooks is a great screen icon and this is an iconic film but I'm afraid it wasn't for me.
Published 21 days ago by Pam Pike
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece.
I have long had an interest in Louise Brooks, having read both an autobiography and a biography. When the chance came to see her acclaimed performance in Pandora's Box I didn't... Read more
Published 6 months ago by G. A. Tough
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it, just for Louise Brooks
The marvellous Louise Brooks stars in this 1929 German film. She left America to become a star in Europe, and her trademark severe bobbed hair, and incredible beauty, were... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. P. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Louise Brooks is still mesmerising
I have always been fascinated by Louise Brooks, a striking image and great magnetism,
she still lights up the screen. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Glenn Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Pandora's Box
Really enjoyed this silent black and white film, I purchased it for my daughter as a birthday present, her review was good too!
Published 21 months ago by alec1338
5.0 out of 5 stars The most 1920s movie?
An infamous movie in 1929, Pandora's Box still manages to radiate uncontrolled sexual tension more than eighty years later. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2012 by Gabor Lux
5.0 out of 5 stars Pandora's Box Film Score(s)
The 2006 DVD version with the four different types of film scores make this 1929 film a uniquely different viewing experience. Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2008 by Arista L.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Highwater Mark Of German Silent Cinema.
That is not my personal opinion but is the general consensus regarding this groundbreaking adult film which made a screen icon out of Louise Brooks and assured G.W. Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2006 by Chip Kaufmann
5.0 out of 5 stars the magnificent louise brooks in her best film.
It is only by watching this film that you really get to appreciate how special Louise Brooks was. It is rare to get an actress who sparkles on the screen with the zest that she... Read more
Published on 21 July 2004 by S. Hapgood
5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing
Stunning DVD of an amazing film. It looks like no other silent film, with Louise Brooks giving a completely modern and subtle performance. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2004
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