1929, BFI Release 2020
UK Quad (30" x 40") Single Sided
UK / British
Near mint minus; originally rolled (as issued)
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Carl Goetz, Francis Lederer, Fritz Kortner, Louise Brooks
“The Greek gods created a woman – Pandora. She was beautiful and charming and versed in the art of flattery. But the gods also gave her a box containing all the evils of the world. The heedless woman opened the box, and all evil was loosed upon us.”
One of the great silent films, Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s “Pandora’s Box” is renowned for its sensational storyline, sparkling Weimar-period setting and the legendary, lead performance from its iconic star Louise Brooks who is featured prominently on the poster imagery. As a general rule BFI re-release posters are incredibly scarce due to limited print runs and distribution, being shown in literally a handful of independent and ‘art-house’ cinemas with the updated imagery often superior to many of the original release designs. The rolled (as issued) UK quad offered here is from the 2020 digital restoration BFI release and displays to excellent effect with beautiful imagery and design; lovely bright bold colours. A fantastic looking item and a fine piece of cinema memorabilia for a true classic of the silent era.
Trivia: Despite being replaced by Louise Brooks at the last minute for the role of Lulu in Pandora’s Box (1929), Marlene Dietrich managed to snag another coveted role. Her removal from “Pandora’s Box” freed her up to play one of her most iconic roles, Lola Lola in Josef von Sternberg‘s The Blue Angel (1930).…more detail
Vintage Movie Posters Grading Criteria... read more +
“Lulu is a beautiful young woman who can seemingly work her charms on all of the men around her. She is currently being kept by the rich editor Dr. Ludwig Schön. She is just a plaything however and he is engaged to be married to Charlotte, a woman of his own class. He arranges for Lulu to appear in his son Alwa’s musical revue and he too falls for all of her charms. When Dr. Schön and his fiancée go to the theater, Lulu ensures that he is put in a compromising situation and the elder Schön feels he now must marry her, knowing full well it will ruin his reputation. On his wedding day, Dr. Schön reaches his breaking point. His actions cost him his life however and Lulu is convicted of manslaughter. She escapes with the help of her old cronies but together they begin a downward spiral.”
“Pandora’s Box“ has quite an unusual feel to it – generally downbeat, but engrossing, and filled with sordid characters and settings, yet somehow artistic. Moreover, it’s not downbeat or sordid in the pretentious, empty way that characterizes so many recent movies. Rather, despite portraying its characters in a largely unfavorable light, it neither exploits them nor glorifies them. These persons are shown simply to be what they are, and while there is a certain inevitability about many of the things that befall them, there is a thoughtfulness as well. You would not want to be like, or perhaps even meet, most of these characters, and yet you want to wish them better luck.
Louise Brooks gets most of the attention (both in the movie itself and from those who discuss it). The “Pandora’s Box” image for her character is appropriate, in that Lulu is never ill-intentioned nor malicious, and yet she often puts the other characters in difficult situations, just by being who she is and acting naturally. All of the other significant characters are defined largely in terms of their responses to her and relationships with her, and all of the characters (including Lulu) have very evident faults and make some very preventable blunders. The result is an unusual and very interesting dark romance of a movie. Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst deserves the credit most of all for creating the atmosphere, putting everything together, and making it work so well.
A poster that has never been used or displayed and may show the most minor signs of age and wear. The poster should have no holes or tears.
A generally unused poster with fresh, saturated colors. May have minimal tears at folds. Has no significant holes, no paper loss, may have minor tears along edges, may have fine pin holes.
A poster with bright colour and crisp overall appearance. It may have very general signs of use including slight fold separation and fold wear. It may have pin holes or very minor tears. This is the highest grade allowed for a poster that has been restored either on linen or on paper.
A poster with good colors and overall clean appearance. It may have minor tears small paper loss and minor stains. It may have some fold seperation.
An average poster with overall fresh color. May have tears, minor paper loss, minor hazing. Paper may be brittle due to age, may have minor stains. May have a small amount of writing in an unobtrusive place. May have medium or major restoration.
A poster with faded colors and brittle paper, showing significant signs of use. May have tears and paper loss. May have tape, writing, stains in image area. In need of restoration or had major restoration.
A poster that is worn, torn, and/or damaged. May have staining, cracking, dry rot, and/or large tears. May be heavily soiled, may have pieces missing. In need of major restoration.
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11 x 14″ printed on heavy stock paper. Used as display in theatre lobbies. Originally made in sets of eight. Some sets have a title card, which contains credits and artwork, essentially a mini-poster. The remaining seven cards are coloured photographic credits and poster artwork showing different scenes from the movie.
14 x 22″ printed on heavy stock paper with the top 4-6 inches usually left blank for the local cinema owner to fill in the cinema and the date it was due to play. Largely discontinued during the 1970’s.
22 x 28″ printed on heavy stock paper. The image displayed is normally a smaller version of the main poster, although some do have different artworks and sometimes come in two versions.
14 x 36″ printed on heavy stock paper. Inserts usually have the same artwork as a one sheet. Popular with collectors since they are smaller and easier to frame. Normally come tri folded or rolled.
STYLE Y/FORTY BY SIXTY
40 x 60″ printed on heavy stock paper. Rare since they were primarily used for major motion pictures only. Designed to be used outside the theatre, on an easel, normally at a drive-in movie theatre.
27 x 41″ printed on paper. This is the most common size of poster, intended to be displayed in a glass “marquee” case. It is the most sought after size by collectors. Since the 1980’s most posters are sent to the theatre rolled and maybe slightly smaller measuring 27″ by 40″ and with the advent of backlit light boxes a growing number of modern movie posters are available double-sided and the more traditional single-sided.
41 x 81″ printed on paper. These were printed on two or three separate sheets designed to overlap, few survive. Used for larger advertising spaces, normally posted on walls, perfect for huge movie theatres the drive-in, where people could see them from a distance. From the 1970’s on, three-sheets were sometimes printed in one piece and issued as “international” versions to be used abroad.
30 x 40″ Most common poster size used in the UK. British Quads are horizontal and may have different artwork to the US one sheet. Like a US one sheet they normally come in two versions. Like a US one sheet they are usually supplied single-sided or more commonly now as a double sided poster.
27 X 40″, printed on paper. Very rarely used size.
13 x 28″ six inches shorter than the US insert, very nice size to frame. Italian poster illustrators are some of the best in the industry.
18 x 26″ Glossy, high quality, used as lobby cards in Italy. Size may vary, either vertical or horizontal format. There are also double Photobusta or mini Photobusta.
(DUE): 39 x 55″ This is the standard poster size used in Italy. Italian poster illustrators are some of the best in the industry.
(QUATTRO) 55 x 79″ Very large Italian poster printed in two pieces, often contains very beautiful artwork.
47 x 63″ (GRANDE) or 24 x 33″ (PETITE) French movie posters normally come with different artwork to either the US or the UK. Like the Italian’s some of the artwork is extrememly beautiful.