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The quite amazing Maddy is doing a blogathon on the cinematic icon abs beauty that was Ava Gardner. I thought I’d join and give my thoughts on Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.


Albert Lewin


  • Ava Gardner as Pandora Reynolds
  • James Mason as Hendrik van der Zee
  • Harold Warrender as Geoffrey Fielding
  • Nigel Patrick as Stephen Cameron
  • Mario Cabré as Juan Montalvo

A ravishing and unusual romantic fantasy, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman relies on the sheer gorgeousness of its visuals and it’s two main stars for what is one arresting movie. It may not be every taste out there, but for the cinematic lover, it’s bound to make a mark with its tragic romanticism and mythical shout outs.

In the coastal Spanish town of Esperanza in the 1930’s, men flock to the beautiful but aloof nightclub singer Pandora Reynolds. She is unmoved by attempts to woo her, even when the results are dangerous. It’s not that she’s heartless, she’s just never found anyone who has elicited a deep love within in. To others, she seems very callous( and in some cases she is and she demands her admirers perform ) but there’s more than just allure to her. It seems her attitude stems from boredom and knowing the power she has over men.She finally meets her match in Hendrik van der Zee. He is a mysterious man who mans a ship that only he sails on. Something about him captivates her like no one before, but he’s curiously distant. Geoffrey Fielding, who is a translator of text and friend of Pandora’s, surmises that is The Flying Dutchman as he’s been studying a manuscript. is doomed to sail the seas after he was condemned to immortality for murdering his wife he thought was unfaithful in the 16th Century. He can only be freed if he finds a woman who is so in love with him that she’ll sacrifice herself. Pandora is currently engaged to race car driver Stephen Cameron , but is also pursued by arrogant matador Juan Montalvo. But it’s Hendrik who most gets her attention and takes her over. Though Pandora falls deeply and unexpectedly for him, Hendrik attempts to push her away as he cares so much about her. Yet is Pandora really willing to give up everything for the man she has finally fell in love with? Let’s just say, tragedy and eventfulness take form in this romantic and mythical fantasy.

Albert Lewin crams the film with multiple mythology references and literacy allusions. This is something I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, as both subjects interest me and put them a in a stylish movie with a folklore inspired undergone, and I’m going to like it. Not every idea of comes off, but an underlying emotion and melancholy brings some of the flights of fancy back down to Earth and is a feast for the eyes and ears. There’s a poetry to the script( which is written by Lewin and story of an impossible love and the sacrifice asked to restore it and the flowery language, mixing metaphors and similes that a wordsmith would be proud of. Lewin does himself proud with this exercise in gorgeous style and heightened emotions. The biggest asset is how the camera truly is in love with Ava Gardner. She glows with an otherworldly glamour and is remarkable to admire. And the cinematography by the outstanding Jack Cardiff, with Technicolor shot through with a moody blue tinge is simply gorgeous at referencing the romantic fatalism of the two main characters .There are a few parts that stretch credulity and become to out there for its own good(along with a running time that’s a tad excessive), but by and large it is a movie that’s heady appeal isn’t wasted on colourful fans of movies deemed as oddities. It’s an exotic, dreamy film with a sheer sense of atmosphere and visual poetry that’s hard to tear yourself away from. It’s far from flawless in a number of ways, but it’s unusual nature and devastatingly splendour are hypnotic. And the score has a really unusual, tragic and lushly romantic aura that covers Pandora and the Flying Dutchman all the way through.

Ava Gardner heads proceedings as the eponymous Pandora, who’s feeling of indifference melt as she falls for The Dutchman. Gardner was a breathtaking beauty who just entranced you from the first time you saw her. That lends itself well to the role of Pandora, as men flock to her everywhere. Yet despite being such a luscious lady, she was also a very good actress. This is sometimes overlooked because of her looks, which is quite unfortunate. Here as Pandora, she exudes an enigmatic charm and a genuinely growing set of feelings that come as a surprise to her as well as us. Gardner has sheer magnetism, both because of her beauty and talent. Her work here is mysteriously masked yet slowly revealing into someone letting their often disguised feelings of love come out. Pandora may act callously and flippantly at first, but once she meets her, she’s slowly transformed into someone very different.so please check it out and marvel at her command of the camera. James Mason adds pathos and weariness as the cursed sailor who is lonely and desolate, but caught in a conundrum once Pandora enters his life. Mason and his mellifluous voice wring depth and guilt ridden anguish from the part that stands as one of many wonderful performances by a fantastic actor. Mason shares an unusual and tentative chemistry with Gardner; both striking off the other with their collective uncertainty and bewilderment at their growing attraction. it really adds to the atmosphere and mythical mood of this film. Filling out the supporting roles are Harold Warrender, who wisely acts as narrator to events, show off beholder of Pandora’s hand Nigel Patrick and strutting Mario Cabré as the matador willing to kill for the love of the eponymous lady. All are great, but it is definitely James Mason and above all Ava Gardner who you’ll remember from this picture.

A most peculiar yet haunting movie that looks sublime in Technicolor, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is the perfect love letter to the haunting Ava Gardner and shows clearly why she was made for cinema.