Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), written, produced and directed by Albert Lewin.

It's not wrong that the femme fatale is looking for love and is unable to find it, but does she have to be so mean to the men she rejects? They commit suicide over her and she seems used to that.

The night she first hears the legend of the cursed and immortal Flying Dutchman (see the Pirates of the Caribbean series for another version) she sees a yacht off the Catalonian shore and swims out naked to climb aboard it.

O, the irony of who she finds there.

As a story it is slow and not as narratively rich as something Michael Powell might have done, without doubt also employing Jack Cardiff as cinematographer. A busy writer and producer, Albert Lewin directed six films all from his own scripts. He seemed to feel the stories deeply and cared about literary merit. As with his The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), verses from Omar Khayyam serve as an epigraph.

We have a bullfighting subplot, a persistent theme in Ava Gardner films.

Gardner is obviously a great choice for the lonely, love-lorn goddess, but James Mason is the unreplaceable character here. What other actor could put such intensity and seriousness into a fable without going over the top and becoming ridiculous? His portrayal of a man managing immortality is better than many I have seen.

Deep thoughts: death is not dreadful to lovers who understand that Love exists outside of Time.

Available on Blu-ray from Kino, but judging by online prices it must be out of print now.

The Technicolor seems desaturated to me; it must have been more vivid in the theater.