2016 Blind Spots: Pandora’s Box

Lulu (Louise Brooks) is a hedonistic but naive young woman whose alluring qualities capture the attention of the men around her. But her irresistible charms soon lead to tragedy, as her uninhibited nature brings ruin to herself and those who love her.

Just one thing, my boy, beware of that woman.

Pandora’s Box is a great film for many reasons, the biggest being its star Louise Brooks. This film simply wouldn’t work without her magnetic presence, and anytime she wasn’t on screen for a short time I found myself missing her and waiting for her return. It’s easy to see why so many men are drawn to Lulu, and I really can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Marlene Dietrich was very close to being cast, and though she’s an excellent actress, she doesn’t quite have what Brooks exhibits in her performance. Lulu is a complicated character, exuding both qualities of vitality and vulnerability. She’s a woman that men want to protect from harm, but at the same time a woman they want to go to bed with. Brooks’ portrayal of the character is wholly believable, and you never question how her actions inadvertently lead everyone on a destructive path.

Along with Louise Brooks’ performance, director G.W. Pabst does a superb job of exemplifying Lulu’s predicaments through imagery and the way shots are framed. Pabst is rather light on the title cards, so the film doesn’t show us most of what the characters are saying. There are times when the plot is hard to follow as the film’s timeline isn’t always clear, but it’s ultimately the characters’ actions that are more important than the details, conveying the moral of how actions speak louder than words. Though Lulu is a kind person at heart and means well, it’s her nonchalant attitude that causes her demise.

Pandora’s Box (1929)
Directed by: G. W. Pabst
Starring: Louise Brooks, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alice Roberts
Oscar Nominations: N/A
Rating: 4/5

Check out what other bloggers have discovered this month for the Blind Spots series here!

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