Style on Film: Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

The ravishingly beautiful 1951 movie Pandora and the Flying Dutchman not only stars Ava Gardner at her most breathtakingly lovely (all dewy skin and rose red lips) but it also features her most exquisite movie wardrobe, created by the now-forgotten English costume designer Beatrice Dawson.

Playing a selfish, spoilt and sought-after siren who appears to care for no-one but herself, the sultry Gardner glides through this lush romantic fantasy looking like a goddess, thanks to a series of draped Grecian gowns which are teamed with a spectacular yellow satin-lined indigo cape.

It may be set in the 1930s, but the halternecks and nipped-in waists on Pandora’s dresses are much more evocative of the era in which the film was made.

Who cares about fashion anachronisms, though, when the results – a taster of which can be sampled in the video clip (set to Ava Gardner languorously crooning Dorothy Parker’s lyrics How Am I To Know as she does at the start of the movie) – are so stunning?

And in addition to the film’s style credentials, it  boasts some of the most sumptuous cinematography ever – by the legendary Jack Cardiff – as well as superb performances by Gardner and James Mason, as the tortured Flying Dutchman.

If you’re looking for a timeless alternative to the throwaway movies doing the rounds just now, this is a great, and very stylish,  choice.

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