Pandora’s Box, the last 1920s film I have left to review, is about a young socialite who falls in way over her head and must reap the consequences of her actions, until fate (and a couple of would-be suitors) attempt to whisk her away from her troubles once and for all. The story is something I otherwise haven’t seen, at least in silent cinema, and it was compelling enough to warrant sitting through the running time. There’s a lot here that really does work, though, so I’ll try and cover it as best I can.
The film starts off dropping us into the story, as if we have any idea of who these characters are or their relationship to each other, and then pretty much just goes from there, which I found a little irksome. By the halfway point of the story, though, I was so involved that I didn’t care how the film started; I was merely wondering how it would end. The characterizations and the storytelling itself were quite above par for me, and thankfully the film itself wasn’t half bad either. The film has some nice framing in it, and makes use of some great structure of the elements of a shot, at least from what I found. It’s also the construction of the edit that makes the story work as well as it does; really, the whole film is just very expertly shot and put together, at least for a silent film. Louise Brooks and her bobcut became a cultural icon after this film was released, and her character had everything to do with it; Lola is a playful, flighty pixie of a girl; she’s a tramp, she’s a vixen, she pretty much does what she wants, and we can’t help but love her character for it. Even with her faults, she is still a protagonist to remember.
I went into this not expecting much, and came out very surprised at what I had gotten. This is definitely one of those hidden gems I otherwise would never have known about were it not for the Book, and for that I am thankful. G.W. Pabst has but this one entry on the list, and I can’t speak for the rest of his filmography, but he really impressed me with this one, and I might even look up some of his other works once I get through with the list as a whole. This is for sure one to put down on your must see list, as long as you don’t mind silent cinema, which hopefully you should be okay with by this point.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10