Ava Gardner

Just arrived in England to film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

In 1930, in the Seaport of Esperanza, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, the fishermen find the bodies of a couple trapped in the net of their fishing vessel. The historian Geoffrey Fielding (Harold Warrender) recalls the beautiful, selfish and spoiled American singer Pandora Reynolds (Ava Gardner), who used to break the heart of her lovers. When Pandora is proposed by the British racing car pilot Stephen Cameron (Nigel Patrick), she demands that he drives his car off the cliffs to prove his love to her. Stephen does what Pandora has asked him and they schedule their wedding on September 3rd.
However when Pandora sees a yacht anchored in the bay, she impulsively swims to the vessel and meets the Dutch Hendrik van der Zee (James Mason) alone without any crew on board. Pandora immediately feels attracted by the mysterious Hendrik and introduces him to her friends. When Jeffrey finds a manuscript from the Seventeenth Century of the Flying Dutchman, he asks Hendrik to help him in the translation. Jeffrey learns that Hendrik apparently is the Flying Dutchman – a captain that stabbed to death his innocent wife believing that she was unfaithful to him. He is sentenced to death and his soul is cursed by God, doomed to sail alone for the eternity, unless he finds a woman that loves him so much that should be capable to die for him. Jeffrey is afraid that Pandora might be this woman and presses her to marry Stephen as soon as possible.

“Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” is an adorable timeless romance based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

The beauty of Ava Gardner shines through in the role of a woman that does not love any man until she finds the doomed captain Hendrik van der Zee, falles in love with him and becomes capable of an ultimate act of love.    James Mason gives an extraordinary performance – a very dramatic one at that.        The costumes of Ava Gardner are really beautiful. The cinematography is wonderful by Jack Cardiff who went on to direct films but was one of the great cinematographers of the golden age of films.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) directed by Albert Lewin, starring Ava Gardner, James Mason

Albert Lewin, the man behind Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, was one of the most unusual directors to come out of mid-century filmmaking. He only directed six films, all of which he wrote and produced himself. In defiance of mainstream tastes, his films were erudite, highbrow, and fiercely intellectual. Lewin was also an art collector, with a taste for the surreal (his friends included Man Ray and Max Ernst) and his films frequently reflected this fascination. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman was his fourth film and many consider it the culmination of Lewin’s obsessions: a proudly romantic, visually fascinating attempt to bring his love for myths and art to cinematic life.




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