Friday, May 11, 2012
Restored version of Pandora's Box to screen in July
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival just announced the line-up of films for their annual event in July. And among the works to be shown is the recently restored version of G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box (1929), starring Louise Brooks. This special event is set to take place July 14 at 7:00 pm.
This is big news, because this restored version, which clocks in at 143 minutes (that is 10 minutes longer than the Criterion DVD release of 2006), has reportedly only been shown twice before - once in Los Angeles and once at the BFI in London.
So, in other words, this is a very rare opportunity to see one of the great silent films in a stunning new restoration. And I do mean stunning. Those who have seen it say so, like film historian Jeffrey Vance, like Looking for Lulu director Hugh Munro Neely, and others. I recently did an interview with the person who did the restoration work - it took a year - and she told me about all the refinements and improvements and corrections that went into this new version.
I, for one, will be there! As a matter of fact, I am writing the program essay about Pandora's Box for the Festival booklet, and, I will be signing copies of my "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl following the film.
The film will be accompanied by the acclaimed Matti Bye Ensemble, from Sweden, who will be performing an original score. And no doubt somewhere in the audience will be acclaimed British actor / Eighth Doctor Who / Louise Brooks fan Paul McGann, who is narrating the Festival's prior selection. All of this take place in the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco, the city where the German writer Frank Wedekind was conceived.
Other Brooks' co-stars appearing in films at the July Festival include Richard Arlen in Wings (Arlen appeared in the Brooks' films Rolled Stockings and Beggars of Life), Thomas Meighan in The Canadian (Meighan starred in The City Gone Wild), Percy Marmont and Eugene Pallette in Manhandled (Marmont starred in The Street of Forgotten Men and Pallette appeared in The Canary Murder Case), and Wallace Berry and Adolph Menjou in The Spanish Dancer (both Berry and Menjou appeared in two Brooks' films, Berry in Now We're in the Air and Beggars of Life - and Menjou in A Social Celebrity and Evening Clothes).