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Pandora and the Flying Dutchman 1951


Director: Albert Lewin


Writers: Albert LewinGeorge BarringtonOmar Khayyam

Rôle: Reggie Demarest


Release Date: February 1951


Synopsis: The beautiful Pandora Reynolds has a great many admirers. The men in her life will seemingly do anything for her - one, a poet, Reggie Demarest (Marius Goring), takes poison when she refuses his proposal of marriage. Marius’s rôle in this film is short but very memorable. As the poison takes hold he paraphrases lines from John Webster’s Jacobean revenge tragedy ‘The Duchess of Malfi’: "I know death hath ten thousand several doors for men to take their exits; ’tis found they go on such strange geometrical hinges, you may open them both ways: any way, for heaven-sake, so I were out of your whispering".

Another, race car driver Stephen Cameron, gladly sends his car over a cliff to prove his love, but Pandora isn't enamoured with any of them. The arrival of Hendrik van der Zee intrigues her however. He's a strange man who keeps mostly to himself. Pandora soon learns that he is the legendary Flying Dutchman who, every seven years, gets to live among mortals searching for the woman who would love him and be prepared to die for him, thus relieving him from his burden of an eternal life of loneliness.

Comment: The film's cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, had filmed some of Marius's previous Technicolor films such as 'A Matter of Life and Death' (1946) and 'The Red Shoes' (1948). He would also film Marius in 'The Magic Box' (1951) and 'The Barefoot Contessa' (1954) and film and direct him in 'The Girl on a Motorcycle' (1970).

Availability: Blu Ray (Kino Lorber) Release Date: 2010 & 4K Blu Ray (Cohen Media Film Collection) Release date: 21 April 2020.

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Reviews: From Park Circus site: "Sultry and surreal, macabre and hopelessly romantic, Ava Gardner and James Mason star in this grown-up fairy tale as lovers in the clutches of a powerful spell. She’s an otherworldly beauty driving men to distraction (or worse), he’s a 17th-century sea captain destined to sail the globe for eternity— unless he can find a woman willing to sacrifice her life for love. Set in the fictional Spanish seaside town of Esperanza and boasting a luscious palette photographed by master Technicolor cameraman Jack Cardiff, Pandora unfurls with dreamlike logic somewhere between the physical and the metaphysical, sometime between modernity and antiquity.

Considered one of the most beautiful colour films ever made, Albert Lewin wrote, directed and produced the picture in an effort to craft a different kind of movie, one that would take the surrealist art he personally loved and collected, and fuse it with the cinema. The film also ascended Ava Gardner into Hollywood stardom, as audiences lauded her for her striking beauty. Hypnotic, intriguing and intoxicating, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a timeless tale."

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman review in The Times 3 February 1951
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman review in the Fort Worth Star Telegram 8 February 1952
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman review by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times 7 December 1951

Marius Goring as Reggie Demarest and Ava Gardner as Pandora Reynolds

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