The Perils of Pauline (1947)

Passed   |    |  Biography, Comedy, Drama


The Perils of Pauline (1947) Poster

The real life story of actress Pearl White during her rise to fame in silent serials.


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19 September 2009 | bkoganbing
8
| Not The Genuine Pearl
The Perils Of Pauline is reputedly a biographical film about the Queen of the silent serials Pearl White as played by Betty Hutton. Of course any resemblance to the real life of Pearl White is strictly coincidental. The real Pearl White (1889-1938) led a very tragic life with several marriages, injuries as a result of her doing her own stunts when she was younger, and dying an alcoholic's death in Paris with her life savings pretty much spent due to booze and medical bills.

Hardly the kind of story that Paramount would want to have brought to the screen, so they made up a story about Pearl White and cast Betty Hutton in it. If The Perils Of Pauline is not the Pearl White story, it is a good vehicle for Betty Hutton to show off her talents.

Case in point the first number in the show the Sewing Machine Song which Hutton does while working in a sweatshop run in Brooklyn by the appropriately accented Frank Faylen. White never saw Brooklyn, she was from Missouri and got into show business with traveling stock companies in the Midwest. Still it's a great number for Betty Hutton.

Frank Loesser wrote the score for The Perils Of Pauline and his song I Wish I Didn't Love You So got the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. This beautiful and plaintive ballad which was introduced on screen by Betty Hutton, earned Dick Haymes a best selling record on the Decca label. Sadly this song lost to Uncle Remus and Zip-Pa-Dee-Do-Dah from Walt Disney's Song Of The South. That decision should have sent Frank Loesser screaming about how he was robbed. As for those who think that Betty Hutton only did raucous comedy numbers, watching this film should set them straight.

The film was also a follow-up role for John Lund who had been introduced the year before in To Each His Own. As a lead, Lund was pretty bland and settled back into character parts for most of his career. He plays an egotistical ham actor heading the theatrical company that Hutton joins. He's so arrogant I can't see why Hutton wasted her time with him. Constance Collier has the best part as the old stage actress who befriends and encourages Hutton. Billy DeWolfe was part of the theatrical troupe that Hutton joined and he was his usual good self. They all wind up on the silent screen after Pearl gets her big break.

This film is an absolute must for fans of Betty Hutton, a great technicolor musical from Paramount's golden years.

Critic Reviews


Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's script implies that Pearl White came to acting in her early 20s, after quitting a job as a seamstress in a sweatshop. In truth, White first appeared on stage at the age of six, and was thus a seasoned veteran by the time she landed the title role in the highly popular silent serial The Perils of Pauline.


Quotes

George 'Mac' McGuire: How do you like that? Everything happens to me! War! They couldn't hold off until after the wedding? No. They gotta do it now and gum up everything.
Pearl White: War... but it's horrible.
George 'Mac' McGuire: You said it. Now we gotta re-write the last six episodes!


Goofs

In real life, after sustaining a back injury as a result of an accident while filming The Perils of Pauline (1914), Pearl White used a stunt-double, although this was never publicized until after he himself died as a result of an accident during the making of Plunder (1923), at which time the truth came out, and Pearl retired from films and moved to Paris, where she died in 1938 as a result of a liver ailment, alcoholism and drugs. In the film, Pearl's accident occurs on the Paris stage after her film career was over, and we are led to believe that now, unable to walk, she lived happily ever after with her fictitious husband.


Crazy Credits

[Prologue during a silent recreation of a Pauline Peril]

WILL PAULINE AGAIN ESCAPE CERTAIN DEATH?

See Next Episode of "The Perils of Pauline" Friday at this Theatre

Although this was thirty years ago, we assure you that Pauline DID escape. Week after week, our heroine, portrayed by Pearl White, defied death and foiled the dastardly villains who always pursued her. She HAD to -- on account of the next episode. But let's start at the beginning. . . . . .


Soundtracks

I Wish I Didn't Love You So
(1947) (uncredited)
Written by
Frank Loesser
Played during the opening credits and often as background music
Sung by Betty Hutton at Millick's

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Biography | Comedy | Drama | Music

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