Sometimes a movie comes down to a single performance. Technically, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is that movie; Ava Gardner, the focal point of my piece about this lovingly restored film, is the picture’s heart and soul and liver and kidneys and even its digestive tract. She’s stellar. Maybe this is the moment she really became a star, and not Showboat? That’s probably a bit much.
But I digress. I say “technically” because Marius Goring, for all five minutes he’s in the movie, steals the show; all he does is show up, drink, purposely spill his drink on the lap of a catty diner, then poison himself in front of everyone and die. That’s not much time to do what needs to be done or establish character, but Goring really embraces his role and also sets the stage for what’s to come throughout the rest of the picture. Stellar work in a stellar epic.
You can read my full review over at Paste Magazine.