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4.2 out of 5 stars
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray] [Import]
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on February 15, 2015
The version of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman included in the KINO Leading Ladies package was an older KINO release, from 2000. The print was too dark in some places and murky in others. The 2010 remaster is an improvement. The murkiness has been cleared up, and the colours are brighter. But like many old Technicolor films, this one sometimes has flesh tones that are too bright, in particular too red. I had to adjust the colour down to compensate for this. Also, the image is not flawless; there are some sparkles and other weaknesses in the print from which the DVD comes. This is no computer-aided Criterion-level cleanup. But still, this new edition is an improvement, and allows one to experience the film with something closer to the image and sound quality that the original audience would have experienced.

There are some new special features in this edition, though none of them is very exciting. There are a few behind-the-scenes stills, for example, and three trailers for the film instead of one. The big extra item is a 17-minute documentary on a real Spanish bullfighter who was gored to death at age 30. (The justification for including this here is that the bullfighter in the documentary is supposed to have been the inspiration for the bullfighter character in the film.)

The film itself is an odd one for its time (the brassy, loud 1950s). It combines hard-nosed modern characterization with moody, magical romantic fantasy. Ava Gardner's character starts out as what one would expect from Gardner -- a beautiful, confident, and utterly selfish woman who uses men while loving none of them. But the character changes when she meets the mysterious sea-captain played by James Mason. All of the male characters who revolve around Pandora play their roles well, and the photography and scenery in the film are at times striking.

I don't know whether or not this is a great film, but it is surely an interesting one.
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on September 4, 2014
One of my favorite old (1951) movies. I saw the VHS, the DVD and both had a very dark picture. The bluray has been restored and is appreciably brighter. the Bluray includes a six minute demo of the remasterization. A star vehicle for Ava Gardner for sure, this movie retells the Flying Dutchman legend in a romantic fashion. Recommended for romantic old movie lovers.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2004
The fantasy / romance premise for this film is an interesting one, but the execution of the plot leaves quite a lot to be desired and much of the dialogue is quite lame and stilted. The plot has been covered well by others, no need to add more about that. James Mason's central character is the best thing about the film. He is extraordinary (as usual). Ava Gardner is very lovely to look upon (although her gowns are far closer to 1951 than to the 1930 time frame), but her acting is rather lackluster (as usual). However, far worse performances are given by Mario Cabre' and Sheila Sim (extreme under-playing and over-playing respectively). The Spanish location photography is great, as to be expected from the legendary cinematographer, Jack Cardiff. The direction is adequate, but no better. The telecine transfer on this DVD is poor in places, with color timing way off at times (sometimes with a purplish cast) and falls seriously short of what a Technicolor print can deliver. The print this was transferred from has considerable damage at the start and end of reels (can't be missed with scratches, dirt, and multiple cue marks). There are several splices, most producing a loud pop in the audio. Some simple re-making of the splices or blooping them would have helped a lot. Some scenes are way too dark to easily watch, and generally the picture is very grainy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2002
I was almost surprised to see this released in DVD, since it is old and seldom plays on TV. I had made a video copy years ago and have watched it many times. A fascinating story, not the best screenplay in the world, but with parts that are excellent, especially when James Mason is reciting the story of the Flying Dutchman. It may be dated, and the reproduction is not perfect, and the colors are a bit faded, but I am still glad I got my DVD copy while it was available.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2002
This movie is a very deep and philosophical story of the Flying Dutchman. A man doomed to roam the seven seas for eternity unless he meets someone who loves him enough to die for him. There are wonderful quotations from 'Dover Beach' and 'Omar Khayyam' which say so much. If you want an escape from reality and enjoy well made movies with deep characters then this is THE movie. One of James Mason's great performances, in my opinion, and a great performance by Ava Gardner. Nothing wooden about it!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2002
I highly recommend this movie. It's a great story, really romantic. Beautiful actress Ava Gardner, is just wonderful in it, and so is actor James Mason. They make a great on screen couple. It's a film definitly worth seeing. It definitly deserves all the stars it can get.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2001
The above performance I'm referring to is that of mario Cabre, Ava Gardner's toreador torch in real life at the time. In this film he gives what has got to be one of, if not the, most (although unintendedly) wooden performances in cinematic history! Gardner was involved with some of the most fascinating and talented men ever in the entertainment industry--Rooney, Shaw, Sinatra, Duff, Taylor, Scott, etc.--and it is unfortunate she did not use her influence to get any of them in her films because in this one exception with a hopeless novice, even Cabre's good looks and lithe body can't save his appallingly bad acting (also debut, by the way). Not to be missed for this alone! He makes someone like Victor Mature or George Raft seem absolutely Shakespearan!!! With that rant over, I will move on. "Pandora" is an otherworldly romance about a centuries-ago sea captain who unjsutly murdered his wife for unfaithfulness and as a result the gods have doomed him to a wretched, ghostly existence on the high seas for eternity, the only escape being if he can find a woman during his brief sojourns on earth who truly loves him and is willing to sacrifice her life, thus permitting him to finally die. James Mason gives his usual fine performance as the ghostly Dutchman, imbuing his character with vulnerability behind the cool surface. As for Ava Gardner--can one ever have enough words about her? Even if not for the painful acting of the aforementioned Cabre, this film would be worth it alone just to see the ravishing Gardner in sumptious technicolor. Surely one of the most beautiful women who even existed, she is more than believable as Pandora, the restless and disatisfied playgirl who is adored by many men and brings them ruin, but is never touched by love herself until she meets the Dutchman. A mystical romance in the mold of the depthful and haunting "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with that other Circe of the Cinema Gene Tierney, although "Pandora" is somewhat superficial, I found it entertaining enough and it's worth it, as I mentioned earlier, if you want to see arguably the worst acting in movie history and inarguably one of the most gorgeous women in film!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2001
This is a super film that brings together so many good actors. It may be a little dated but with a bit of imagination it is a very acceptable way to spend a couple of hours and boring it certainly is not. To watch the film and visit Tossa de mar on the Costa Brava in Spain where it was shot is a great experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2001
Ava is a true femme fatale. She oozes pheromones as Pandora.
James Mason is mere flotsam in the throes of the whirlpool that is Pandora. Like any man, caught in the grip of this Charybdis, he is without hope. As is she, fated loves' victim.
See the movie for a glimpse of transcendental eros.
Then, whimper that your love life is truly as a pitiful shadow dancing on the walls of the cave, a flimsy whisp of the eternal as represented by these two lost souls. Then shuffle off, gloomily, as must have Leonard Maltin--pining for the Ava he can never conceive of having--in any sense of the term.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2001
The above performance I am referring to is that of Mario Cabre, Ava Gardner's toreador torch in real life at the time. In this film he gives what has got to be one of, if not the, most--albeit unintendedly--wooden performances in cinematic history! Gardner was involved with some of the most fascinating men ever in the entertainment industry--such as Rooney, Shaw, Sinatra, Duff, Taylor, and Scott--and it is unfortunate that she did not use her influence to get one of these proven talents in her films because in this one unfortunate exception with an unknown, even Cabre's good looks and lithe body can't save his appallingly bad acting (also debut, by the way). Not to be missed for this alone! He shoulda stuck to bullfighting instead to acting since he makes someone like Victor Mature or George Raft seem absolutely Shakespearan!!! With that rant over, I will move on. "Pandora" is an otherworldly romance about a centuries-ago sea captain who unjustly murdered his wife and as a result the gods have doomed him to a wretched, ghostly existence on the high seas, the only escape being if he can find a woman during his brief sojourns on earth who truly loves him and is willing to sacrifice her life, thus permitting him to finally die. James Mason gives his usual fine performance as the ghostly Dutchman, imbuing his character with vulnerability behind the cool surface. As for Ava Gardner--can one ever have enough words about her? Even if not for the painful acting of the aforementioned Cabre, this film would be worth it alone just to see the luscious Ava Gardner in sumptious technicolor. Surely one of the most beautiful women who ever existed, she is more than believable as Pandora, the restless and dissatisfied playgirl who is adored by many men and brings them ruin, but is never touched by love herself until she meets the Dutchman. A mystical romantic tale in the mold of the depthful and haunting "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with that other famous beauty of the screen, Gene Tierney, although "Pandora" is somewhat superficial and fluffy, I found it entertaining and it is worth it, as I mentioned earlier, if you want to see arguably the most horrible acting in movie history and inarguably one of the most gorgeous women in cinema!
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