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Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Released Oct 15, 1951 2h 3m Drama List
69% Tomatometer 35 Reviews 75% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
Fishermen in 1930s Spain find the bodies of a 17th-century Dutch sea captain (James Mason) and a woman (Ava Gardner) willing to die for him. Read More Read Less

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Critics Reviews

View All (35) Critics Reviews
Kevin Maher Times (UK) Gardner is indecently radiant. Rated: 4/5 Nov 5, 2021 Full Review TIME Staff TIME Magazine Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a Technicolored pastiche of symbolism, the supernatural and old romantic claptrap. Feb 21, 2020 Full Review Variety Staff Variety Albert Lewin produced, directed and did the story and script, keeping this film on an almost unrelieved level of sombre depression. Feb 21, 2020 Full Review Zita Short InSession Film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman might be the most visually ravishing picture that Jack Cardiff ever worked on. That’s really saying something... Feb 1, 2023 Full Review Roger Moore Movie Nation Gorgeous..marred by an incessant and generally superfluous voice-over narration...stating the too-obvious in scene after scene. Rated: 2.5/4 Dec 23, 2021 Full Review Virginia Graham The Spectator Oh the slowness of it all, the solemnity, the splendid tediousness of the sequences, the beautiful boring silences, the long, long looks of love! Feb 21, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (58) audience reviews
Lauren C This is a movie about a self-absorbed woman who persuades a dude to toss his sports car off of a cliff to prove his love for her, and then cheats on him anyway. Plot-wise that pretty much sums it up; however this movie is visually stunning. For glittering vintage inspiration, let this tragic movie flow ethereally in the background as you re-arrange your houseplants and imagine the vacations and love affairs we can only dream of. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Ian G There are three reasons to watch this tidy little piece of melodrama. Ava Gardner (obviously) is one. James Mason is the other. And the third is the director, Albert Lewin. Gardner needs little said, it's all been said before and by more able reviewers than me. James Mason seems rather forgotten these days, when scripts need to be peppered with curses and suchlike filth that you'd not want your granny to be subjected to... He's been held to be a special kind of genius, with a way of trying to blend poetic themes into dialogue in a way that others shy away from. (There may be sound reasons for that omission...) The plot isn't complex and the storytelling is straightforward and won't strain your little grey cells much. However, I'm not sure I agree with Ava Gardner's being here cast. In an English film shot nowhere near the USA, why is it so needful to cast a Hollywood star like Gardner? Had the U.K. no beauties capable of turning a man's mind upside down with her deadly allure?? What about Audrey Hepburn? In among all these English folk she'd have fitted right in. Guessing it's to do with financing. Backers believe that US audiences are so dumb that they'll not have heard of Brit actors/actresses, and funding is made available if an American star is cast. It's no more than protectionism, and when there were rules agin the same thing happening t'other way round, American systems are not equal opportunity. The performances are fine, in line with the tenor of the production. it's a pleasant way to pass a typical movie length slug of your life if you've nothing more pressing at hand. The story is a concocted blend of an old tale of a dutch skipper who is doomed to sail the seven seas etc etc - for ever. And Pandora is the interfering female in greek myths who is responsible for loosing all the evils that plague mankind. That latter doesn't here emerge, but she sure is trouble for the men whom she winds around her little finger with ease, using them for entertainment and casting them aside when pulling their strings is no longer novel. Of Course they come together - if the title isn't an inbuilt spoiler then I'm- a Dutchman. And it's the ensuing complications that make the story. It's hardly tough to foretell the outcome and - surprise! - there's no surprises with its unfolding. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 08/19/22 Full Review Audience Member Every frame of Ava is like a fine portrait. She was never better. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review William L What a bizarrely wandering movie. A reimagining of the Flying Dutchman myth that incorporates Spanish archeology, a series of men each pursuing a coldhearted woman, a land speed record, a throwing knife, and cheesy melodrama. You'll be smack in a period recount of the Dutch captain before switching to domestic squabbles between a bullfighter and his Romani mother in another language out of nowhere. Gardner's titular Pandora isn't a cool, aloof femme fatale in the manner that the story wants to present her as (simply waiting for the right man, and merely satsifying herself with distractions in the meantime), she is borderline sociopathic. A woman that asks a man she doesn't care about what his greatest material love is before demanding that he push it off a cliff into the sea as a testament of his affection isn't indicative of an empathetic or remotely likable figure, more so of someone with a personality disorder. Yes, part of the film explores the irrationality of love and the ill-starred relationship between Pandora and Mason's van der Zee, but there's a limit to what you can stomach before feeling disgust. Characters develop infatuations quickly and without justification, nothing really lands or feels sincere; Lewin tries to tie his reimagining together with vague thoughts on fate, on-location shooting, and some Technicolor from Cardiff, but nothing about this movie feels like something I would want to see again, apart from Gardner and Mason themselves (who each know how to deliver their lines in enticing ways, but run into problems with the lines they have to deliver). It's not offensively bad, just pointless. If you want a mid-century supernatural love story, try The Ghost and Mrs. Muir instead. (2/5) Rated 2 out of 5 stars 05/15/21 Full Review BigAppler Wonderful film, slightly dodgy restoration in parts, but a beautiful Ava Gardner and magical story. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/19/20 Full Review Matilde L One of my favorite movies of all time. I love Ava and seeing her on the big screen in a new digital version made my day. IMHO one of the most beautiful woman ever to be on screen. Watching the film made me feel like I was on a mini vacation in Spain Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/13/20 Full Review Read all reviews
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

My Rating


Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Fishermen in 1930s Spain find the bodies of a 17th-century Dutch sea captain (James Mason) and a woman (Ava Gardner) willing to die for him.
Albert Lewin
Joe Kaufmann, Albert Lewin
Albert Lewin
Kino Video, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Production Co
Dorkay Productions, Romulus Films Ltd.
Original Language
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 15, 1951, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 3, 2020
2h 3m
Sound Mix
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