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Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) | Myth and melodrama collide in the dreamy Technicolor drama

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

American director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and legendary British cinematographer Jack Cardiff made a real oddity when they lensed 1951’s Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, which is being screened at the BFI Southbank on 3 and 13 January 2017 as part of the Martin Scorsese curates season.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

The old legend of a loner doomed to sail the seas forever unless he’s redeemed by a woman’s love is transposed here to 1930s Spain, centering on Ava Gardner’s man-eating, destructive Pandora who becomes intrigued by the arrival of James Mason’s mysterious yachtsman, Hendrik.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Told through flashback after the bodies of Pandora and Hendrik are found washed ashore (that’s not a spoiler by the way), the melodrama soon unfolds to reveal that Hendrik is in fact the real Flying Dutchman, who has suffered centuries of anguish over killing his wife. The manipulative, yet irresistible Pandora, meanwhile, has enjoyed playing with her suitors but must now choose between the man she promised to marry or Mason’s tortured soul…

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Highly reminiscent of those gloriously lush Powell-Pressburger films of the 1940s, Lewin’s stylish romance boasts Cardiff’s stunning Technicolor camerawork.

From Gardner’s gowns to the gorgeous Spanish coastline (shot in the Costa Brava resort of Tossa de Mar), this hallucinatory fable of love and death is well deserving of its  2010 restoration by George Eastman House.

It’s also a chance for classic film fans to see the alluring Gardner strut her stuff as the dreamy vixen, while a moody Mason chews the scenery in his distinctively clipped burgundy baritone.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman screens at NFT3 on 3 January at 18:10 and 13 January at 20:40. Tickets go on sale from 13 December, click here.

The restored classic is also available in a 2010 dual format edition from Park Circus containing both DVD and Blu-ray versions, plus a range of extras – the highlight being a 1947 short on the death of famed Spanish bullfighter, Manolete (the inspiration behind Mario Cabré’s matador in the film).

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The Killers (1946) | Robert Siodmak’s seminal film noir thriller is still TENSE! TAUT! TERRIFIC!

The Killers (1946)

Did you that that on 28 August 1946, Robert Siodmak’s The Killers had its New York premiere ahead of its general US release on 30 August?

With its marvellously intricate plot, thundering drama throughout and a mighty punch in the final scene this first film version of Ernest Hemingway’s laconic short story (remade 18 years later with Lee Marvin) is an all-time film noir classic.

One Moment with Her…And He Gambled His LUCK…LOVE…and His LIFE!
As washed-up boxer turned hitman victim Ole Swede Andreson, Burt Lancaster made his screen debut, and was catapulted to stardom, not least for the screen chemistry that he showed opposite sultry Ava Gardner, whose Kitty Collins is the very personification of the femme fatale. In the pivotal role, Edmond O’Brien gives an excellent performance, while Jack Lambert plays it menacingly. Two then newish actors, William Conrad (later to find TV fame as Cannon) and Charles McGraw, register solidly as the killers of the title.

The Killers (1946)

Still TENSE! TAUT! TERRIFIC!
German émigré Robert Siodmak then at the peak of his Hollywood career, ensures that the nervous tension never lets up from the first moment that the killers move onto the scene, while Elwood Bredell’s shadowy cinematography elevates the film into the realms of pure cinematic art.

The Killers (1946)

In 2014, the film noir classic was given a stunning HD restoration and is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow in the UK. Here’s what’s in the box.
• The 2014 Arrow Blu-ray/DVD release features a restored High Definition (1080p) presentation of the film, transferred from original film elements by Universal, with original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 audio
• Isolated music and effects soundtrack
Frank Krutnik on The Killers: video piece by the author of In a Lonely Street
Heroic Fatalism: video essay about the multiple versions of The Killers
• Three archive radio pieces inspired by The Killers: the 1949 Screen Director’s Playhouse adaptation with Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters, a 1946 Jack Benny spoof, and the 1958 Suspense episode Two for the Road, which reunited William Conrad and Charles McGraw
• Stills and posters gallery
• Trailers
• Artwork by Jay Shaw
• Collector’s booklet containing new writing and archive interviews

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