Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Minor lesbian content
Short Take: Features what some consider the first lesbian in the history of cinema.
Alternate Titles: Die Büchse der Pandora
Year: 1929
Duration: 133 min
Language: Germany/Silent
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Writer: Frank Wedekind, Ladislaus Vajda
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Krafft-Raschig, Alice Roberts, Daisy D’Ora, Gustav Diessl, Michael von Newlinsky, Sig Arno
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Pandoras BoxGerman silent film Pandora’s Box was censored when it came out in 1928 because of explicit sexuality. Lulu (Louise Brooks) is a Berlin chorus girl with sex on her mind and with such an attraction that men literally lose their minds over her. In particular, the film also drew attention because of the flirtations between Lulu and Countess Geschwitz (Alice Roberts). What some consider the first lesbian in the history of cinema, the Countess gives longing and jealous looks to Lulu as she works a room full of men.

The Countess then takes her hand to dance, and they dance closely, watched by Lulu’s male lover. He cuts in, and later the Countess makes one more move for Lulu’s attentions, with a long hug and a joyful look on Lulu’s face. The Countess was almost completely edited out of many versions of the film at the time, but she’s back in for modern viewers. Other edits changed the ending, showing Lulu’s religious conversion, but the original version, Lulu is killed by Jack the Ripper.

If you’re a fan of groundbreaking cinema, this is probably one you for you. Just keep in mind that it is a silent movie, so much of the story comes from facial expressions, body language and editing, and it requires close attention. (AB)