Saturday, April 28, 2012

What Becomes a Legend: Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box

What Becomes a Legend: Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan penned a brief notice of today's screening of Pandora's Box, with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla, at the Getty Center in L.A. The article asks, "What Becomes a Legend?" 

In the case of silent film star Louise Brooks, who stars in G.W. Pabst's 1929 masterpiece, the answer is she becomes an icon - and her best known role, as Lulu in Pandora's Box, is screened once again. Actually, it was screened for the second time in a week in the United States.

Pandora's Box was shown just a few days ago, on Wednesday, April 25th, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at that city's historic Oriental Theater. A group called Milwaukee Film partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for International Education’s (CIE) conference, World Cinemas, Global Networks to host this screening of Pabst’s silent film with live musical accompaniment by Swedish film score composer, Matti Bye. [The clip embedded on this announcement page, it should be noted, features Stuart Oderman's classic score - in my opinion the very best contemporary score.]

By all accounts, the Milwaukee screening was a big success. Matt Mueller wrote a piece on the Third Coast Digest website reviewing the event. Mueller wrote "Audiences at Wednesday night’s screening at the Oriental Theatre were not only treated to a stellar silent film, but also the ideal musical score. Swedish film score composer Matti Bye’s dread-filled piano accompaniment fit Pandora’s Box beautifully, building tension throughout the entire movie and even delivering one of the more satisfying cinematic jolts in recent memory."

I, for one, am looking forward to someday hearing Matti Bye’s piano accompaniment to Pandora's Box. Perhaps someday soon. [Be sure and check out the Mueller piece and its accompanying images of Pandora's Box being screened in the historic Oriental, which was built in 1927.]


  1. Another vastly becoming thing for the legend, is to be credited with being the prototypical Hawksian Woman -- and proto Pabstian Lulu -- after having made "A Girl in Every Port" ... which, I see ("Films & Events", George Eastman House, May/June 2012), will be shown on Wednesday at the Stanford Theatre in, um, Los Angeles? Close enough. (GEH loans archival prints for screenings around the U.S. and around the world.)

    At, it's noted that it'll be the first-ever showing of "Port" at the 1925 Stanford Theatre. I believe them, because they've posted excellent year-by-year listings of their "Stanford Theatre Playdates" online; a practice to be encouraged!


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