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 produced hateful critical reviews for its overt sexuality, and was heavily edited/censored:

  • the main character - 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
  • the early instance in which Lulu, the mistress of obsessed and spell-bound patron Dr. Schon (Fritz Kortner) - a wealthy newspaper owner, was caught in compromising position with men; Schon found her socializing in her apartment with another man: Schigolch (Carl Goetz) (either Lulu's pimp or father?) in her apartment; soon after, Lulu also took an interest in Rodrigo Quast (Krafft-Raschig), a trapeze circus performer (and future blackmailer)
  • the sequence of Lulu hired to perform as a dancrr in a musical revue production by Schon's own son Alwa (Franz Lederer), with whom Lulu also had an affection
With Dr. Schon
With Dr. Schon's Son Alwa
Schon's Fiancee Charlotte
  • the scene of femme fatale Lulu caught backstage on opening night in a wardrobe room scandalously kissing Dr. Schon by his more socially-acceptable fiancee Charlotte Marie Adelaide von Zarnikow (Daisy d'Ora) and by Alwa
Scandal: Lulu Caught Kissing Dr. Schon Backstage
  • after forced to break off his engagement to Charlotte, the scene of Dr. Schon's subsequent wedding party in which his virginally white-dressed (inappropriately), bi-sexual and amoral bride 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
  • the dramatic scene in which bridegroom Dr. Schon became enraged with 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 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" - and the moment of Schon's accidental murder during a struggle for the gun between them and the gun discharged
  • the trial scene in which 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"); she was charged with manslaughter; ultimately, she would be punished for unleashing Pandora's box of evil
Threatened and Ultimately Knifed by Jack the Ripper
  • the expressionistic finale on Christmas Eve as 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; 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: The Forbidden Lesbian Dance With the Countess

Flirting with Alwa During Her Wedding to His Father

Lethal and Accidental Shooting of Dr. Schon

Lulu at Trial for Manslaughter of Dr. Schon

Jack the Ripper
(Gustav Diessl)


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z