Pandora’s Box

Ava Gardner made a film in 1951 called “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman,” a color extravaganza that also starred James Mason and Nigel Patrick.  The story concerns a 500 year-old seaman floating alone on a ghost ship who meets his soul mate, who is Pandora Reynolds — alive in the present day.  A lot of rich Americans and other Anglos inhabit the seaside resort in Spain where the story takes place, and as usual, they are all intimate and familiar with each other, party endlessly, and wear magnificent clothes.

The lovely Ava Gardner

Gardner becomes increasingly drawn to the Flying Dutchman (Mason), even though she promises to marry another man.  A famous bullfighter, played by Juan Montalvo, becomes the dangerous and jealous rival for Pandora’s affection.  The talkative script, complicated plot and slow pace causes the film to drag.  However, the real reason to see it is to appreciate the great beauty of Gardner.  Unfortunately, I never quite got why everyone crowed about her beauty.  She looks very good in some scenes but I don’t think she’s flattered by every angle.   Her fans should love the color cinematography and the lighting provided by the exotic Spanish locale, which help make her look better.

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