Pandora's Box: The Criterion Collection
There's a seductive, magnetic image about an hour into G.W. Pabst's 1929 German masterpiece, Pandora's Box. Cast in shadowy, noirish black-and-white, there stands a haunting, devastatingly beautiful 22-year-old woman. She's adorned in a white wedding dress, and there's a smoking gun in her hand. She's Louise Brooks, one of filmdom's rare sui generis devastating beauties, as the blithely amoral showgirl Lulu, and that's a great moment in one of the great Jazz Age movies. It's an image that pretty much snapshots our popular impression of Louise Brooks: an effortless eroticism, a sweet-faced delicacy that's too joyful for a femme fatale yet too knowing for a mere naif, and a danger to anyone who got too close for too long.
Criterion's superb two-disc DVD of Pandora's Box is a veritable "the Essential Louise Brooks" compendium. With it we get not only an edition of Pandora's Box restored to Criterion's exacting standards, but also four choices of musical scores, two fine documentaries, and critic Kenneth Tynan's enraptured 1979 New Yorker profile, "The Girl in the Black Helmet." Two-disc digipak and book in a paperboard slipcase.