What’s this? Another film from the list that utilized the talents of cinematographer Jack Cardiff? Goody goody goody! Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is yet another romance tale that made the list, as well as yet another film that stars James Mason, though I won’t argue against more of that. Still, though, I’ve found romance films tend to be a dime a dozen, and largely, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is one of those dimes. What does elevate this above the rest is a magnetic performance by Mason, and of course, the lovingly and exuberantly colorful cinematography by Cardiff.
Mason stars as Hendrick van der Zee, the titular Dutchman from the very same legend. Once every seven years, he is allowed to go on land for six months to find the woman to whom is willing to die for her love for him. He is certain he has finally found her in Pandora, played by Ava Gardner, a seemingly cold woman who is apparently unable to fall in love with anyone. You see where this is headed; Pandora and Hendrick are naturally destined to be together, she finds she is able to fall in love with a man after all, blah de blah. This isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, but again, it’s thanks to Mason (and his chemistry with Gardner), and the oftentimes gorgeous Technicolor by Cardiff that makes this worth watching.
As you can see, this was another one that I was really left with very little to say about. Romantic films aren’t normally my thing, and it seems this was no exception, even with the talents of Cardiff and Mason on prime display. It got me through the film all right, but it didn’t engage me any further than I otherwise would have been. To that end, I can question why this is on the must see list, but again, seeing as it’s the type of film that most of the time isn’t for me, I probably can’t question it too much. Unless you really don’t like romances, you might be okay seeing this one; just don’t be too disappointed if you end up pretty much where you started.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10