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Sunday, April 25, 2010

DIE BUECHSE DER PANDORA / PANDORA’S BOX (1928)


Louise Brooks' guileless carnality as Lulu is the stuff of legend. With thoughtless beauty & sensualist joy, she brings calamity to every man (and woman) she beds. Her wandering eye & short attention span take her up from the clubs of Berlin to the heights of Weimar society; then down from a murder rap to the back-streets of London. With her signature black bangs & striking athleticism, Brooks is like a shiny art moderne trophy and helmer G. W. Pabst assembled a worthy team of worshipers in front & behind the camera. Stand-outs include lenser Gunther Krampf, Francis Lederer (as Lulu’s youngest admirer) & Gustav Diessl as Jack the Ripper. Yes, as Jack the Ripper. Pabst remains a tricky creative figure, never quite breaking thru to top-tier standards, the sum always a bit less than the glittering parts. But only a fool would hold his faults against his achievement on this late-Expressionistic classic. The current Criterion DVD is outstanding, with excellent image, a fully restored running time & four music tracks to choose from. Try the ‘modern’ orchestral track which has the smell of Weimar & Kurt Weill.

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