Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Pandora's Box (1929)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Pandora's Box (1929, Ger.) (aka Die Büchse Der Pandora)

In director G.W. Pabst's classic silent film melodrama - an early erotic and hypnotic silent film melodrama that for its time produced hateful critical reviews for its overt sexuality, resulting in heavy editing and censorship

  • the main character was the insatiable, free-spirited, 18 year-old cabaret chorus girl and femme fatale Lulu (Louise Brooks), a tempting goddess wearing silky dresses and billowy gowns, even though she sported a black bob (pageboy) haircut
  • Lulu was the mistress of obsessed and spell-bound patron Dr. Schon (Fritz Kortner) - a wealthy newspaper owner, who had a more socially-acceptable fiancee named Charlotte Marie Adelaide von Zarnikow (Daisy d'Ora)
  • in an early scene, Lulu was caught in a compromising position, when Schon found her socializing in her apartment with another man: Schigolch (Carl Goetz) (either Lulu's father - or her pimp?); soon after, Lulu also took an interest in Rodrigo Quast (Krafft-Raschig), a trapeze circus performer (and future blackmailer)
  • Lulu was hired to perform as a dancer in a musical revue production by Schon's own son Alwa (Franz Lederer), with whom Lulu also had an affection

Mistress Lulu With Dr. Schon

Lulu With Dr. Schon's Son Alwa

Schon's More Socially-Acceptable Fiancee Charlotte
  • femme fatale Lulu was caught backstage on opening night of Alwa's musical revue in a wardrobe room scandalously kissing Dr. Schon by his fiancee Charlotte and by Alwa
Scandal: Lulu Caught Kissing Dr. Schon Backstage on Opening Night
  • after Dr. Schon was forced to break off his engagement to Charlotte, a wedding party was subsequently held to celebrate his marriage to his bi-sexual and amoral bride Lulu, who was inappropriately dressed in a virginal white gown
  • during the wedding party, Lulu engaged in an intimate, flirtatious dance-waltz with black silken-dressed, chic lesbian aristocrat Countess Anna Geschwitz (Alice Roberts) - it was notable as being the first film to present a well-developed lesbian character
  • bridegroom Dr. Schon also became enraged with dramatic jealousy at his fiancee Lulu for her starry-eyed flirtations with Alwa (who professed: "I can't live without you any longer"), and also for her playful flirtations with Schigolch (revealed as her father) and circus performer Quast in the bedchamber; Schon thrust a gun at her, and commanded her to shoot herself: "Take it! Kill yourself! that you don't drive me to murder as well" - Schon was accidentally murdered during a struggle for the gun between them when the gun discharged
  • during Lulu's trial scene - for manslaughter, the prosecutor accused the hedonistic Lulu (wearing a black veil) of being like a Pandora's box of evil: ("The Greek gods created a woman: Pandora. She was beautiful, charming, versed in the art of flattery...But the gods also gave her a box containing the evils of the world. The heedless woman opened the box and the evils were loosed upon us"); ultimately, Lulu would be punished for unleashing Pandora's box of evil
Threatened and Ultimately Knifed by Jack the Ripper
  • in the expressionistic finale on Christmas Eve, destitute prostitute Lulu became another gleaming-knifed victim of Jack the Ripper (Gustav Diessl); she ended up dying at the hands of the Ripper in London's squalid Soho when he glanced at the knife on a nearby table and couldn't control his homicidal impulses
Jack the Ripper (Gustav Diessl)
  • during an erotic embrace and kiss, he grabbed the knife and stuck the sharp and gleaming knifeblade into her back (off-screen) (her hand grasping him went limp to indicate her death); meanwhile outside, the Salvation Army paraded through the fog

Lulu (Louise Brooks)

Dr. Schon (Fritz Kortner)

Wedding Party Scene: Lulu's Forbidden Dance With the Aristocratic Countess

Lulu Flirting with Alwa During Her Wedding to His Father

Lulu's Lethal and Accidental Shooting of Dr. Schon During a Struggle for a Gun

Lulu on Trial for the Manslaughter of Dr. Schon


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