Pandora’s Box (Pabst, 1929)

Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929)

I can’t help but be a little disappointed by this. It probably doesn’t help that I have been wanting to see this for at least a year, built it up in my head, and have finally started to love silent films. I thought for sure this would be a masterpiece. But, alas, outside of the last few acts (the film is split into 8 or 9 acts), I couldn’t help but find this a bit bland. Yes, it’s controversial for its time, but it almost becomes numbing after a while when you know whatever these characters do, it’s going to push the limits. The first half isn’t helped by the fact that Fritz Kortner, whose character plays a central role in the extreme downfall of the leading lady (played brilliantly by Louise Brooks), gives a terrible and overacted performance. Had he been more believable, I might have liked this as a whole a lot more.

There’s a lot more humanity in the last half an hour of the film. Events slow down, some characters recognize just what horrid lives they’ve been living, tender moments are shared between people, and love almost conquers all. But, as the story goes, Pandora (who the main character is supposed to represent) has released too much evil, and tragedy is inevitable. By this point, though, too many other aspects of the film didn’t wow me like I had hoped.  7.25/10

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