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Genres: Drama , Fantasy , Mystery
Actors: James Mason , Ava Gardner , Nigel Patrick , Sheila Sim , Harold Warrender , Mario Cabré , Marius Goring , John Laurie , Pamela Mason , Patricia Raine , Margarita D’Alvarez , La Pillina , Abraham Sofaer , Francisco Igual , Guillermo Beltrán
Director: Albert Lewin
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 1951
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 (1324 votes)

Albert Lewin’s interpretation of the legend of the Flying Dutchman. In a little Spanish seaport named Esperanza, during the 30s, appears Hendrick van der Zee, the mysterious captain of a yacht (he is the only one aboard). Pandora is a beautiful woman (who men kill and die for). She’s never really fallen in love with any man, but she feels very attracted to Hendrick… We are soon taught that Hendrick is the Flying Dutchman, this sailor of the 17th century that has been cursed by God to wander over the seas until the Doomsday… unless a woman is ready to die for him…

Film Review

Albert Lewin's independently produced and directed UK film PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (1951) is one of the most ethereal and haunting love stories ever filmed. Lewin directs with a keen vision and doesn't often stray from the ethereal atmosphere, to the viewers delight. We get truly superb performances by the entire cast, particularly Ava Gardner, who delivers a heart-felt and very memorable performance. Not to mention the other-worldly photography, which is beautifully shot by two-time Oscar winner, the master cinematographer, Jack Cardiff (BLACK NARCISSUS,THE RED SHOES). Another major addition to this film is the musical score by classical composer Alan Rawsthorne, which is dream-like and uplifting, yet blended with a sense of melancholy. The score also blends poetically with the other-worldly visual richness to extraordinary effect. Fans of classic fantasy films are sure to be delighted. Highly recommended.

There is much to enjoy in this legendary tale. The story is well told and quickly grabs the viewer. I thought the Spanish setting was perfect and the land speed record and bullfighting scenes in the main convincingly shot. The extraordinary use of Technicolor gives the whole picture an almost dream like ethereal look and many scenes have an almost surreal quality. The whole cast are splendid with Ava Gardner particularly spellbinding – I can’t think of any actress today who could carry her role as convincingly.


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