Partly based on the folk tale of the same name, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is a painstakingly researched film that eventually gets too somber and sinks. The picture begins with two bodies being washed up on the Spanish coast and then proceeds to explain that Gardner, an expatriate
American living in 1930s Spain, is a devil-may-care type who lacks the emotional ability to return any of the love that men lavish on her. She is stoic when a young man takes his own life over her, then she decides to marry Patrick, a race driver, more on an impulse than as a considered decision.
However, before she can say "I do," she notes a large boat in the harbor, swims out to see who is aboard, and meets captain Mason--a Dutchman who is, to say the least, mysterious about his background. Now we discover that Mason is a spirit condemned by Fate to ail the seas forever who can become
human only once every seven years. If he can find one woman who is willing to give up her life for him, his eerie voyage can end and his soul can go to rest. Gardner is that woman, but Mason loves her so much he doesn't want her to lose her life over him. One of Gardner's former fiances is Cabre,
a matador, and he wants to win back Gardner's affection, so he arranges a bullfight to impress her. Patrick wants to show how brave he is, too, and tries to break the world's land speed record and crashes his auto. Later, not badly hurt, he comes back to find that Mason and Gardner have already
gone. Cabre understands that Mason, not Patrick, is his rival for Gardner, so he tries to kill Mason, but since Mason is not really alive he can't be killed. Cabre dies in the bullfight and Mason and Gardner are united in death when they commit suicide together. Very lengthy for the material and
ultimately unsatisfying, the movie looks wonderful under Cardiff's lensing of the Spanish land- and seascape. Gardner sings two 1930s songs: "You're Driving Me Crazy" (Walter Donaldson) and "How Am I to Know?" (Jack King, Dorothy Parker). In a small role, Mason's wife, acting under her first
husband's name, is featured. This is Pamela Kellino (former wife of British director Roy Kellino), who chose to use that name instead of Ostrer, the name she was born with.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Partly based on the folk tale of the same name, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is a painstakingly researched film that eventually gets too somber and sinks. The picture begins with two bodies being washed up on the Spanish coast and then proceeds to expla… (more)