Pandora’s Box (1929)
Louise Brooks has the type of face that radiates the movie screen, as her luscious eyes tempt and seduce audiences to come join and play with her. Pauline Kael writes, "Her beauty was almost impersonal, she carries it like a gift she doesn't think much about, and confronts us as a naughty girl. When you meet someone like this in life, you're attracted, but you know in your gut she'll be nothing but trouble." Louise Brooks is considered one of the most popular deceased actresses on the web, surpassing even the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, and is looked at as an icon by not only men, but women, homosexuals, feminists, historians and cinephiles who admire her style, beauty and her sexual liberated freedom. The line that separated Louise Brooks and of the fictional character Lulu in G.W. Pabst's masterpiece Pandora's Box had begun to blur over the decades, as Lulu's impulsive and reckless characteristics in the film were greatly similar to the behavior of Brooks, and of her short time in the glamorous world of Hollywood. Brooks was known to be a person who like to party, drink way too much, and stir up way too much trouble; as in which one classic incident she drunkenly told Paramount to go to hell after asking her to come back to Hollywood and dub one of her very last silent films. [fsbProduct product_id='802' size='200' align='right']Louise Brooks was infamous for her fair share of lovers which included not only Charles Chaplin and CBS president William Paley but the clients of an escort agency she worked for in New York during the 1940s. Because of such reckless behavior many of Brook's celebrity friends began to turn their their back on Brook's and she unfortunately ended up burning all her bridges in Hollywood. (She even unwisely turned down Jean Harlow's role in Public Enemy). As if it was sheer fate director G.W. Pabst offered Brook's the infamous role of the naughty and immoral Lulu in Pandora's Box near the deteriorating end of Brook's career, and it is now looked at as Brook's greatest performance. Rules in the early days of Hollywood were similar to the early days of the cinema, in which immoral character's like Lulu weren't allowed to openly permit such immoral freedoms and get away with it in the end. And so in Pandora's Box it isn't so surprising after hopping from man to man that Lulu will eventually find herself in the arms of Jack the Ripper, in which she will be punished for her wicked and immoral ways. Film critic Roger Ebert says, "It's more a settling of scores: Anyone who looks that great, and lives life on her own terms, has to be swatted down by fate or the rest of us will grow discouraged."
Lulu (Louise Brooks) is the mistress of a respected, middle-aged newspaper publisher, Dr. Ludwig Schon. While bored and restless one day at his apartment, she offers a drink to the doorman. She suddenly blows him off when an old patron, Schigolch shows up at her door. "You've done well for yourself. We haven't seen each other in such a long time," Schigolch says to her as Lulu sits on his lap. Schigolch asks Lulu to dance while he plays the harmonica. "We must put you on the stage for all the world to see!" Schigolch says. "And I've bought just the man to do that! " Schigolch points outside to a man named Rodrigo Quast who wants to stage a big variety act for her. Suddenly Schon arrives home comes and so Lulu hides Schigolch hides out on the terrace. Lulu know something is bothering Schon as he breaks the news to Lulu that he is going to marry Charlotte von Zarnikow the daughter of the Minister of the Interior. Lulu says, "You won't kiss me just because you are getting married?" Schon says, "The whole town is talking about us. I'm jeopardizing my position. We must put an end to this." Lulu smiles and says, "You'll have to kill me to get rid of me," as they both are about to make love on the couch but Schon's dog starts to bark at Schigolch. When Schon discovers the man Lulu says to Schon, "He was my first patron." Schon furiously grabs his hat and jacket and leaves the apartment. Schigolch suddenly calls Rodrigo Quast up to the apartment to meat Lulu so the both of them can plan the new trapeze act together.
The next day Schon's son Alwa reads the newspaper headlines: "Minister of the Interior Dr. von Zarnikow wishes to announce the marriage of his daughter, Charlotte Marie Adelaide, to Dr. Ludwig Schon, Editor in Chief." Alwa is at his father's office with his business partner the Countess Anna Geschwitz. Anna shows Alwa the costume designs for his revue and asks him how Lulu is doing. Lulu drops by the office to see her best friend Alwa. Lulu hugs Alwa saying, "Alwa is my best friend, the only one who never wants anything from me. Or do you want nothing from me because you don't love me?" When looking at the costume designs Lulu says to the Countess that she must design a costume for her as well. The Countess leaves as Lulu tells Alwa about rehearsing a variety show with Rodrigo Quast. "Is she really this beautiful?" asks Lulu looking at a framed portrait of Charlotte on Alwa's father's desk. Schon arrives to the office and is displeased to see Lulu. Lulu tells Schon she only came to see his son. After Lulu leaves asks his father why he dosen't want to marry a woman like Lulu. Schon says to his son, "One doesn't marry such women! It would be suicide!" Schon suddenly comes up with an idea to have Lulu star in his son's musical production so he can get Lulu off his hands. He than says to his son, "Just one thing my boy. Beware of that woman!"
The opening night of the musical Lulu is backstage with the other performers getting into her costume. Suddenly Schon shows up to his sons revue and makes the mistake of bringing his fiancee Charlotte. When seeing Schon arrive with Charlotte Lulu is furious and decides to not go on and perform. Schon tries to talk some sense in Lulu but she angrily says to him, "I'll dance for the whole world but not that woman." When Lulu starts throwing a tantrum Schon takes Lulu into a storage room to calm her down and persuade her to perform, but she seduces him instead. Charlotte and Alwa open the storage room door and catch Lulu and Schon embracing which greatly satisfies Alwa as she proudly walks away. Charlotte is speechless and leaves as Alwa stares at his father. Schon says to his son, "Satisfied Alwa. Now I'll marry Lulu and It'll be the death of me."
Lulu and Schon get married and while the wedding reception is underway, Schon is disgusted to find Lulu playfully cavorting Schigolch and Quast inside his bedchamber. He gets his pistol and chases the two of them out, with Lulu announcing to Schon that Schigolch is her father. The shocked wedding guests decide to leave the party and Schon is alone with Lulu. Schon says to Lulu, "I can't live without you any longer!" and insists his new wife take the gun and shoot herself. When Lulu refuses, the gun goes off in the ensuing struggle, and Schon is killed.
"Your honors and gentlemen of the jury. The Greek gods created a woman...Pandora. She was beautiful and charming and versed in the art of flattery. But the gods also gave her a box containing all the evils of the world. The heedless woman opened the box, and all evil was loosed upon us. Counsel, you portray the accused as a persecuted innocent. I call her Pandora, for through her all evil was brought upon Dr. Schon!
At her murder trial, Lulu is sentenced to five years for manslaughter. However, Schigolch and Quast trigger a fire alarm and spirit her away in the confusion.
Lulu, now a fugitive arrives back to Schon's home and when Alwa arrives he says, "If you feel at home here where my father bled to death, then I must leave." Lulu decides to turn herself in for Alwa but as she is about to call the state prosecutors office Alwa snatches the phone away from and confesses his feelings for her. Alwa than says to her, "We'll go away together." Lulu says, "Countless Geschwitz will lend me her passport." Lulu and Alwa then flee the country with help from Countless Augusta Geschwitz, who is herself infatuated with Lulu. On the train Lulu is reunited with her old patron Schigolch and Rorigo Quast. On the train, Lulu is recognized by another passenger, Marquis Casti-Piani. Marquis says to Alwa, "May I prove my friendship by offering some good advice.Don't go to Paris...too many prying eyes. Come with me instead. I know a place that's hospitable and discreet."
Still a wanted fugitive Lulu hides on a illegal gambling ship for three months as Countess Anna Geschwitz arrives to see her friends. Rodrigo Quast announces to Lulu that he just got engaged and decides to blackmail Lulu to finance a new act that he wants to perform with his fiance. If that's not enough trouble for Lulu she comes to the realization that Marquis who had helped her into hiding has just sold her to an Egyptian brothel for money. "Money...they all want money," Lulu says begging Schigolch for help. Schigolch comes up with the idea in having Alwa cheats at cards so Lulu can pay off Marquis while he has the Countess lure Rodrigo Quast to a stateroom, where Schigolch murders him. Unfortunately Alwa is caught cheating at cards, but Alwa, Schigolch and Lulu flee when the police are suddenly distracted by the Countess's scream and the discovery of Rodrigo's body. The three flee by boat and decide to head to London.
On the night of Christmas Eve in London, England Jack the Ripper emerges from the fog as he roams the dark alleys. Jack the Ripper kindly empties his pockets to an innocent sweet young girl asking for charity for the Salvation Army. "Brother, how can I help you?" She asks him. Jack the ripper says, "No one can help me." The young girl sweetly gives Jack a tiny mistletoe. Lulu, Alwa and Schigolch end up broke and living in a squalor drafty London flat. Alwa is now a drunk as he looks at an empty bottle of booze and says, "It's strange how you can get booze on credit but not bread." Lulu is driven to prostitution and decides to leave the flat and roam the foggy streets. A flyer reads: "Warning to the women in London! For some time now a has been luring women into dark places in order to murder them. Women and girls should not go out unaccompanied at night." Jack the Ripper reads the sign and continues his prowl in the night streets. Lulu catches the eye of Jack the Ripper and lures him back to her flat. Jack the Ripper protests that he has no money but Lulu says, "Come along anyway. I like you." Jack the Ripper is touched and secretly throws away his knife. Schigolch drags Alwa away before they are seen by Lulu and Jack. Lulu finds the mini mistletoe toe that was given to Jack earlier in his coat jacket. Jack holds the mistletoe above Lulu and says, "Your under the mistletoe. You must let me kiss you." When the two embrace and kiss Jack spots another knife on the table and cannot resist his urges. While Alwa waits for Lulu outside in the cold, Jack the ripper leaves the flat and disappears into the fog. Unaware of Lulu's fate and thinking she sold her body for money Alwa decides to desert her and joins a passing Salvation Army parade.
As a filmmaker, G. W. Pabst was attracted to issues and partial to naturalism. Starting with his 1923 fable The Treasure, this most cosmopolitan and protean of Weimar filmmakers produced a series of socially conscious and sexually frank silent movies. He engaged his times, fiddling with Freud (Secrets of a Soul, 1925) and later Brecht (The Threepenny Opera, 1931), as well as his medium. The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), adapted from a novel by Ilya Ehrenberg, is among the culminating works of silent cinema—an ambitious attempt to synthesize Soviet montage, Hollywood action-melodrama, and German mise-en-scène.
Pabst’s content, that is, was typically his “star,” but he was also a brilliant director of actresses. He helped discover Greta Garbo, featured—along with the great Asta Nielsen—in his 1925 The Joyless Street, an internationally acclaimed drama of post–World War I disorder. He obtained Leni Riefenstahl’s most nuanced, least narcissistic performance, in the Alpine spectacular The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929). And he virtually invented Louise Brooks, the minor Hollywood player whom he cast as the innocently wanton protagonist of Pandora’s Box. Adapted from expressionist playwright Frank Wedekind’s fin de siècle Lulu cycle, centered on the destruction wrought by unbridled female eros, Pandora’s Box would, in its shockingly modern, instinct-driven psychology, end up defining both director and actor.
Pabst was still searching for his Lulu when he saw Brooks as a circus performer in Howard Hawks’s 1928 A Girl in Every Port. In vain, Pabst attempted to borrow the actress from Paramount; the studio didn’t even bother to relay the offer to Brooks until after she’d quit (over a salary dispute). The newly unemployed actress then had the studio wire Berlin, thus heading off Pabst’s unhappy decision to cast the far worldlier Marlene Dietrich in Pandora’s Box. This providential telegram, which might easily have arrived too late, sealed Brooks’s fate: seldom has an actress been more closely identified with a particular part, and even less often has a single role been used to reflect on a performer’s life, not least by the performer herself.
The Kansas-born Brooks, a trained dancer and teenage veteran of both George White’s Scandals and the Ziegfeld Follies, needed only Pandora’s Box to fix her image in the firmament. Severe bangs frame anthracite eyes; a lacquered, razor-sharp bob slashes the nape of an exquisite neck. Scimitar spit curls bracket Brooks’s unguarded American smile—a spontaneous dazzler that she, not unreasonably, expects can get her anything.Pandora’s Box opens in medias res, with this captivating creature entertaining several admirers, including the decrepit old Schigolch (Carl Goetz) and the middle-aged bourgeois Schön (Fritz Körtner). The former, for whom Lulu retains a certain filial affection, is the pimp who first turned her out; the latter is the man who currently keeps her. Brooks’s Lulu is the universal object of desire. Everyone competes for the warmth of her gaze, and she thrives on that attention (Pabst rarely lets his camera stray too far). Schön, however, is engaged to the daughter of a cabinet minister. Playing her lover off against his son, Alwa (Franz Lederer), Lulu accepts a job dancing in the show that Alwa is producing and, opening night, seduces Schön on the wardrobe-room floor.
Son and fiancée discover the pair in flagrante; few movie moments are more electrifying than Brooks’s radiant smirk of triumph. Schön must now marry Lulu. The wedding is riotous and sordid—Lulu tangos with a female admirer, Countess Geschwitz (Alice Roberts), and accepts a declaration of love from her new stepson—and ends in a struggle over a gun and Lulu killing Schön. Impassive in black at the trial, she is found guilty. There’s more, of course. Lulu escapes with Alwa, who ruins himself gambling, and she is nearly sold to an Egyptian brothel. The final act finds Lulu in London on Christmas Eve, with the Salvation Army parading through the fog. She lives in a garret with Schigolch and Alwa and, as their sole means of support, slips out into the night to find a john. He turns out to be Jack the Ripper. She gives herself to him with a smile. Strong stuff. In France, Pandora’s Box was reedited so that Alwa was Schön’s secretary and the countess became Lulu’s childhood friend. Lulu was found innocent and Jack the Ripper vanished altogether. Before the movie was shown in New York, its ending was improved to have Lulu join the Salvation Army. Small wonder that the New York Times deemed it “a disconnected melodrama.”
Even in Berlin, Pandora’s Box was considered a failure—a travesty of Wedekind’s plays, featuring a maladroit American as Lulu. Had Brooks been oversold? Clearly the twenty-two-year-old flapper was part of the movie’s publicity. The highbrow British journal Close Up visited the set of Pandora’s Box to report on Brooks’s “mots and quaint sallies.” Then-journalist Lotte Eisner was startled to find the star reading Schopenhauer (in translation). Eisner would later praise Brooks as a surrealist heroine, “an actress who needed no directing, but could move across the screen causing the work of art to be born by her mere presence.” Perhaps. As the actress herself realized, however, her director skillfully facilitated her behavioral performance. Pabst made no effort to contain the resentment many felt at the prospect of this outlander who spoke only English playing “our German Lulu.”
On the contrary. Pabst was more than PR savvy in casting a corn-fed ex-chorine. He was looking for a type. In Voluptuous Panic, his erotic history of Weimar Berlin, theater historian Mel Gordon notes that the late-twenties media phenomenon the Germans called Girlkultur—revolving around sexually independent young women—was largely derived from the Ziegfeld model. Brooks fit the bill. Her Lulu was a new kind of femme fatale—generous, manipulative, heedless, blank, democratic in her affections, ambiguous in her sexuality.
Brooks’s exotic singularity was compounded by the aroused hostility the actress experienced on the set. Pabst wanted the men in the cast to feel Brooks’s skin and have the actress get under theirs. Körtner desperately snubbed her; Brooks recalled that he, “like everyone else on the production,” felt she “had cast some blinding spell over Pabst.” Typically, Brooks praised Pabst for employing Gustav Diessl, the only man on the set she found sexually attractive, as her fatal final lover.
Highly receptive to Berlin’s Weimar vibe, Brooks was the real Sally Bowles. The bar at her hotel, she would write, "was lined with the higher-priced trollops. The economy girls walked the street outside. On the corner stood the girls in boots, advertising flagellation. Actors’ agents pimped for the ladies in luxury apartments in the Bavarian Quarter. Racetrack touts at the Hoppegarten arranged orgies for groups of sportsmen. The nightclub Eldorado displayed an enticing line of homosexuals dressed as women. At the Maly, there was a choice of feminine or collar-and-tie lesbians." Brooks reported that upon learning she “had been investigating Berlin’s nightlife till three every morning,” Pabst reined her in.
Given her past as a Broadway showgirl and a Hollywood starlet, Brooks was scarcely naive—yet her avid curiosity regarding what was then the world’s most omnisexual metropolis surely added to the erotic excitement her Lulu conveys. It may be that Brooks’s experience as a Kansas girl in wicked Weimar fulfilled her as an actress. She made only a few movies post–Pandora’s Box, including Pabst’s scarcely less racy Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), before fading from view, to eventually find her voice as a writer.
Pabst soldiered on, making a swift adjustment to sound. His 1930 Westfront 1918 is as audio innovative as Fritz Lang’s M in its existential battle sequences, thudding sense of the material world, and close-to-overlapping dialogue; the weird sauciness of his French-language Threepenny Opera, far superior to his German version, is matched only by the bizarrely Mitteleuropean exoticism of The Mistress of Atlantis (“eine Fata Morgana” from 1932), in which the Bedouin denizens of a Sahara settlement sit around listening to Jacques Offenbach. The elaborate Don Quixote (1933), with Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin singing in phonetic English, is an ambitious attempt to develop a specifically filmic musical form.
Once Hitler came to power, in 1933, Pabst went to Hollywood, where he made A Modern Hero (1934), a Warner Bros. success story told with startling Teutonic harshness. After that aptly titled flop, he relocated to Paris, directing some surprisingly entertaining pulp exotica—Shanghai Drama (1938), made on a Paris soundstage with a cast and crew of Austrians, Indochinese, and White Russians, is the exile film to end all exile films—before haplessly returning to the Reich, in 1939, to rekindle his German career. Officially denazified (but aesthetically discredited) after the war, Pabst made his last films amid the West German economic miracle, including The Last Ten Days (1955), which, scripted by Erich Maria Remarque, was the first German feature to deal with the person of Adolf Hitler.
Pabst ended his career pondering that of the twentieth century’s most malign enchanter. But it is, of course, for another modern icon and another sort of enchantment that Pabst will be remembered. If his career was ultimately determined by the historical forces he sought to represent, Pandora’s Box is the fortunate fruit of historical happenstance. For Pabst no less than Brooks, there would never be another Lulu—nor will there ever be.
Director G. W. Pabst was not only brilliant at directing socially conscious and sexually frank melodramas, but was also brilliant at directing actresses. He helped the discovery of Greta Garbo, and nearly invented actress Louise Brooks. It took Pabst several months to find the right person for the role of Lulu in Pandora's Box, and than one evening he caught Brooks in Howard Hawk's 1928 film A Girl in Every Port. Pabst attempted to borrow Brooks from the Paramount Pictures studio, but his offer was not even made known to Brooks by the studio until she left Paramount over a salary dispute. Unemployed, Brooks then had Paramount wire a message to Berlin to say she was available for the role, if the message came too late, the role would of went to Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich was actually in Pabst's office, waiting to sign a contract to do the film, when Pabst got word of Brooks' availability. In an interview many years later, Brooks stated that Pabst was reluctant to hire Dietrich, as he felt she was too old at 27, and not a good fit for the character. Pabst himself later wrote that Dietrich was too knowing, while Brooks had both innocence and the ability to project sexuality, without coyness or premeditation. In shooting the film, Pabst drew on Brooks' background as a dancer with the pioneering modern dance ensemble Denishawn, choreographing the movement in each scene, and limiting her to a single emotion per shot. Pabst was deft in manipulating his actors: he hired tango musicians to inspire Brooks between takes, coached a reluctant Alice Roberts through the lesbian sequences, and appeased Fritz Kortner, who did not hide his dislike for Brooks. During the first week or two of filming, Brooks went out partying every night with her current lover, George Preston Marshall, much to Pabst's displeasure. When Marshall left, a relieved Pabst imposed a stricter lifestyle on his star.
Rarely has an actress ever been so closely identified with a particular character, and even less often has a role been used to reflect the life of a actress. Pabst used Brook's again in his other masterpiece Diary of a Lost Girl which told the story about a pregnancy and the scandal it would cause for a family. Louise Brook's strong sassy style, straight eyebrows, bangs cut low over the eyes, and sharp classic bob-hair cut has became a legendary staple in film history and has again been used with actress Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre Sa Vie, and more recently with Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. It was said that film historian Henri Langlois loved Louise Brooks and when in Paris for a retrospective at the Cinematheque Francois, Henri Langlois declared, “There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks!” When originally released Pandora's Box was considered a failure in Berlin and the 22 year-old flapper wasn't given the best reviews on her acting ability as some critics said: "She doesn't act. She does nothing." This perhaps delighted Pabst, who had no regrets in giving Brooks the lead role of a sexually dominated woman because Brooks fulfilled a 'type' that Pabst was looking for; and it was this type that Pabst largely derived from the Ziegfeld model.
The basic plot of Pandora's Box could be a story easily made today and the character of Lulu could be played by any beautiful looking actress in Hollywood. But Brooks brought more than just beauty to the character of Lulu. Maybe it was the way Brooks used her lips, always in the form of a pout and a tease, in which she took the generic structure of a beautiful femme fatale and transformed her into a tragic, manipulative, emotional and highly temperamental creature, a woman who was highly ambiguous about her sexuality and her identity. Most actors and actresses seem to pass moral judgments on the characters they choose to play and also seem to care how the audience feels about them when on the screen. When watching Louise Brooks perform she gives the impression that she does not care how the audience views her, as she seems to ignore the audience and exist in a world completely devoid of spectators. We seem to be spying on unrehearsed reality as Louise Brooks seems to be saying, "Here I am. Make what you will of me." Pandora's Box had previously been adapted for the screen by Arzén von Cserépy in 1921 in Germany under the same title, with Asta Nielsen in the role of Lulu. There were also musicals, plays and other cinema adaptations at the time, as the story of Pandora's Box was highly well known. This allowed Pabst to take liberties with the story, and do things that weren't done before.
Lulu in Pandora's Box is the universal object of desire, as every character in the film seems to compete for her gaze and thrive on her attention. Lulu has the iconic look of a woman who could make you believe she wasn't a whore, but certainly would act like one. It usually ends badly for most of the character's in Lulu's life, as most of the men who want her either die violently or succumb tragically to her selfish acts. Schon is a man who wants to break free from his relationship with Lulu and marry someone that he believes is respectable and won't jeopardize his career and reputation. There is a line said by Lulu earlier in the film in which she says to Schon, "You'll have to kill me to get rid of me," which is a line that projects a much different meaning when knowing Lulu's unenviable fate. As much as Schon wants to break free from Lulu his libido seems to think differently and Lulu's naughty and spontaneous nature seems to sexually satisfy him much more than his fiancée ever could. Lulu knows exactly that, which is why she manipulates Schon by purposely throwing a hissy fit backstage so she can get Schon alone with her. Using sex as a form of weapon Lulu seduces Schon while alone with him in the storage room knowing full well his fiancee will walk in and catch the two of them together. When Schon is caught red-handed by his finance, nothing is more satisfying than Lulu walking away presenting a radiant smirk of triumph. Of course the engagement is off, forcing Schon to marry Lulu instead. Schon, like most men seems to be seduced by Lulu's recklessness and promiscuousness, and yet Schon's male arrogance believes if married to her he will be able to tame her and shape her into the sweet innocent housewife that he needs her to be. Alwa who is Schon's son, is also Lulu's best friend. He seems to truly love Lulu and doesn't even fully realize it until his father's unfortunate death. Alwa chooses to throw his life away by running away with Lulu, and nearly ruins himself gambling all because of Lulu and the circumstances that she gets herself and everyone involved with her into. The character of Schigolch is the most ambiguous of all the men that Lulu seems to surround herself with, at one point in the film Lulu even refers to him as her father. Father or not, Schigolch seems to be a sleazy old man that is either Lulu's pimp or an old lover from her past. (I try not to picture it too hard.)
It is said that Countess Augusta Geschwitz is one of the first obvious lesbians ever presented in the movies. (Interestingly enough actress Alice Roberts at first resisted the idea on playing a lesbian.) Geschwitz is defined as a lesbian by her masculine look of wearing a tuxedo and her clear attraction for Lulu. When Pandora's Box was released in France, the relationship between Countess Geschwitz and Lulu was significantly re-edited, making the Countess Geschwitz Lulu's childhood friend. Similar to all the men who are unfortunate to come Lulu's way, Geschwitz seems to fall under Lulu's spell as well, eventually sticking her neck out for Lulu by doing what we know she hates, which is going out of her way to seduce a man. When Geschwitz is asked to seduce Rodrigo Quast it is unclear if Rodrigo initially tried raping Geschiwitz, (She probably rejected his advances) which led to her murdering him out of self-defense, or Schigolch murdering Rodrigo Quast while Geschwitz distracted him. In the third quarter of the film all the major characters find themselves on a ship that is being used as an illegal gambling den, and blackmail and money seem to become a large theme that entangles each character. It seems that all the men Lulu felt she easily manipulated and controlled within the 1st quarter of the film are now turning the tables and using her fugitive status as a way to manipulate and control her.
Near the end of the film Lulu is wandering the streets of London freezing and starving, and is at the point of actually committing her first act of sex for money. Ironically her first client that she meets decides to invite back to her flat is none other than Jack the Ripper, who is curiously portrayed as a less aggressive and angry figure, and more a conflicted sad man living day by day fighting his urges to kill. Lulu has always been reckless in her choices in men, and even after Jack the Ripper admits to Lulu that he doesn't have any money she looks at him with a naive and compassionate expression and says, "Come along anyway. I like you." There were several alterations to Pandora's Box when first released. For instance Lulu is found to be not guilty at her trial, and the subplot of Jack the Ripper and his character was completely moved from the film with the ending having Lulu joining the Salvation Army. The title Pandora's Box is a reference to Pandora of Greek mythology, who upon opening a box given to her by the gods released all evils into the world, leaving only hope behind. There isn't a basic connection with the mythology and the character of Lulu, except for the explicit speech by the prosecutor in the courtroom scene, trying to convince the jury that such a woman like Lulu who contains such beauty and lustful pleasures, could at the same unleash the worst out of men. The film was re-discovered by critics in the 1950s, to great acclaim. Modern critics now praise the film as one of the classics of Weimar Germany's cinema, along with The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari, Metropolis, The Last Laugh, and The Blue Angel. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert reviewed the film in 1998 adding it to his 'Great Movies', and remarked of Brooks' presence, "she regards us from the screen as if the screen were not there; she casts away the artifice of film and invites us to play with her". Pandora's Box was released on a spectacular two disc DVD set by the Criterion Collection as four separate soundtracks were commissioned for the film's DVD release. Pandora's Box is one of the most important of all silent films and actress Louise Brooks created one of the most memorable female character's in cinematic history. Men play such a important role in Lulu's life that it only makes sense that her death is committed by the hands of one. Schon, Alwan, Schigolch, Casti-Piani, Rodrigo Quast, Jack the Ripper and the many of men who came and gone throughout Lulu's life no doubt shaped her into the woman she became. Sexual abuse is quite obvious if delving into the more psychological parts of the character of Lulu (Unfortunately Brooks was a victim of it as well) as Louise Brooks explained her thoughts on the tragic death of Lulu when writing years ago for Sight and Sound: "It is Christmas Eve, and she is about to receive the gift that has been her dream since childhood. Death by a sexual maniac."