Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a 1951 British Technicolor romantic fantasy drama film directed by Albert Lewin and produced by Lewin and Joseph Kaufman from Lewin's own screenplay, based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman. It was filmed mainly in Tossa de Mar, on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain. The land record speed scenes were shot at Pendine Sands in Wales.
The film stars James Mason and Ava Gardner, with Nigel Patrick, Sheila Sim, Harold Warrender, Mario Cabré and Marius Goring in supporting roles. In Tossa de Mar, a statue of Gardner was erected in 1996 on the hill overlooking the town's main beach.
In the United States, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) delayed its release until Gardner's star-making performance in Show Boat (1951) could be seen. The tactic worked, and this film solidified her status as a rapidly rising star.
The film is mostly spoken in English, but some characters speak Catalan (the local fishermen at the beginning of the film) and Spanish (the bullfighter's entourage).
Artist Man Ray, who was a friend of Albert Lewin, produced some sets for Pandora. He created particular cubist-style chess pieces and several paintings seen in the film, notably the main one, a sort of surreal scene in the De Chirico fashion.
The beautiful Pandora Reynolds has a great many admirers. The men in her life will seemingly do anything for her - one, race car driver Stephen Cameron, gladly sends his car over a cliff to prove his love - but Pandora isn't enamored with any of them. The arrival of Hendrik van der Zee intrigues her however. He's strange man who keeps mostly to himself. Pandora soon learns that he is the legendary Flying Dutchman who, every 7 years, gets to live among mortals searching for the woman who would love him and be prepared to die for him, thus relieving from his burden of an eternal life of loneliness.