These notes accompany the screening of Pandora’s Box, May 5, 6, and 7 in Theater 3.
“What counts is the image. So I would still claim that the creator of the film is much more the director than the author of the scenario or the actors.” – G. W. Pabst
Georg Wilhelm Pabst (1885–1967) was the third member of the great Weimar directorial triumvirate, along with Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau. In some ways he was the most elusive and mysterious of the three. Murnau was haunted by whatever demons went along with being homosexual in an uncongenial era. Pabst’s fellow Austrian, Lang, seemed to flirt with Fascism—his intellectual instincts were Teutonic, his wife was a Nazi, and he was offered control of the Reich’s film industry—before deciding to go west and ultimately winding up in Hollywood (where he became a practicing democrat, although reports of his tyrannical relations with coworkers probably would disqualify him from canonization). Pabst was a horse of a different color altogether, or, perhaps more correctly, several different colors. While Lang could only imagine New York for Metropolis, Pabst spent a few youthful years here. He came to film directing rather late, in 1923, but he had made several successful movies (Der Schatz, Die Freudlose Gasse, Geheimnisse Einer Seele, Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney) by the time of Die Buchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) in 1928.