But lest I ruffle the delicate feathers of some high-strung, tightly wound SSO members and induce a migraine in overburdened SSO moderators, I'll refrain from "demanding" the addition of another genre-related chat space.
Synopsis: Pandora Reynolds (Ava Gardner at her most radiant), a vain and carelessly cruel beauty becomes entranced by the enigmatic Hendrik van der Zee* (a Byronic James Mason), who she learns is the accursed Flying Dutchman.
Elegantly directed by Albert Lewin and photographed with a painterly eye by Jack Cardiff, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman exemplifies the theory of cinema as art. Lewin was as an intellectual, aesthete, and connoisseur of fine art, and his movies reflected his cultivation and erudition. In Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Lewin employed his friend surrealist Man Ray to contribute his artistic skills to the production. Protagonists quote quatrains from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, which was also recited in Lewin's masterpiece The Picture of Dorian Gray. Refined, soigné culturati casually talk about life, death, love, and art in exquisitely designed scenes that could be exhibited in an art gallery or museum. A delight for the eye, Lewin's achievement is also a delicacy for those cinéastes who have a taste for "high culture."
Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is available on Mubi and on the Cohen Media Channel. To my eyes, the vibrancy of Jack Cardiff's Technicolor cinematography seems faded and opaque in the Cohen Media Group presentation. Nonetheless, Lewin's supernatural tale of amour maudit is a voyage well worth taking, I think, for lovers of romantic fantasy and cinephiles who believe that cinema can be art.
* Henry of the Sea/Home Ruler of the Sea