On 1 June 2018, one of the greatest films of the silent era, G. W. Pabst’s classic melodrama, Pandora’s Box, will return to the big screen for the very first time in a new digital restoration as part of the BFI‘s Big Screen Classics: It Girls season, running throughout June.
Renowned for its sensational storyline, sparkling Weimar-period setting and lead performance from its iconic star Louise Brooks, Pandora’s Box will open at BFI Southbank, Filmhouse Edinburgh, and selected cinemas across the UK.
Adapted from two plays by Frank Wedekind – Earth Spirit (1895) and Pandora’s Box (1904) – Pandora’s Box follows the rise and fall of Lulu (Brooks), a spirited but innocent showgirl, whose sheer sexual magnetism wreaks havoc on the lives of men and women alike.
Featuring one of the first screen appearances of a lesbian character, Pandora’s Box was hugely controversial in its day and under-appreciated for decades, though now stands as a landmark of silent cinema.
No original negative or print of Pandora’s Box is currently known to exists and in the years following its release, prints have often been cut or edited for censorship reasons. The new digital restoration was made from three different duplicate prints, sponsored by the late Hugh Hefner.
Previously only shown on the big screen in the UK on 35mm, with cinemas having to hire a pianist or musicians to perform a live score, this new digital version features an orchestral score by the German composer Peer Raben, known for his work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder.