Saturday, June 9, 2007

Pandora's Box (1928)

Directed by G.W. Pabst. Starring Louise Brooks and a bunch of people who aren't nearly as cool as Louise Brooks.

The heyday of the great silent film star Louise Brooks was short, since most of her best work came at the very end of the silent era, but she left her inimitable mark on the history of cinema. If the earlier and more prolific Lillian Gish was silent cinema's embodiment of innocence, Brooks personified experience, and never more vividly than in this film. The bob-topped Brooks stars as an woman of leisure who courts a wealthy man, finds her way onto a gambling ship, and finally becomes a prostitute in late-1800s London, where she meets her doom with a certain infamous client (no points for guessing who). The story is pure silent melodrama, both simple and silly, and that the film works at all, much less as spectacularly well as it does, is a testament to the star power of Brooks. We see her onscreen, playful, smirking, knowing, and realize how the charisma of a truly great movie star can be a spectacle in and of itself.

No comments: