The Perils of Pauline

( 4 )

Overview

The third of four films bearing the title of The Perils of Pauline, this musical biopic purports to tell the life story of famed silent serial queen Pearl White. Right at the beginning, however, an introductory title informs the audience that what follows is merely "suggested" by incidents in White's life and career. Translation: The film is a fabrication from beginning to end, but an enjoyable one. Played on all four cylinders by Betty Hutton, White is introduced as a frustrated factory worker who aspires to ...
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Overview

The third of four films bearing the title of The Perils of Pauline, this musical biopic purports to tell the life story of famed silent serial queen Pearl White. Right at the beginning, however, an introductory title informs the audience that what follows is merely "suggested" by incidents in White's life and career. Translation: The film is a fabrication from beginning to end, but an enjoyable one. Played on all four cylinders by Betty Hutton, White is introduced as a frustrated factory worker who aspires to become a dramatic actress. She joins a touring theatrical troupe managed by handsome but pompous Mike John Lund, but fame and fortune elude her because she's unable to suppress her natural rambunctiousness. In desperation, White takes a job at a movie studio, where she promptly finds herself in the middle of a slapstick pie fight. With the help of bombastic director Mac William Demarest, top-hatted villain portrayer Timmy Billy De Wolfe, and imperious dramatics coach Julia Constance Collier, Pearl soon becomes world-famous as the star of such cliffhanging, tied-to-the-railroad-tracks serials as The Perils of Pauline hence the title of this film. At the height of her fame, she arranges for her theatrical mentor Mike to get a job as her leading man, forcing him to swallow his pride and admit that he's been in love with her from the moment he met her. A series of clich├ęd complications contrive to separate White and Mike, but he returns to her arms when she's seriously injured during a Parisian stage performance. A few fairly credible recreations of silent moviemaking techniques aside, The Perils of Pauline is wildly anachronistic and inaccurate for one thing, Pearl White made most of her serials in New Jersey rather than Hollywood. As a musical comedy, however, the film passes muster, especially during the performance of such Frank Loesser tunes as "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" and "The Sewing Machine." As a bonus, the film rounds up several silent-movie veterans in cameo roles, including William Farnum, Chester Conklin, Jimmy Finlayson, Creighton Hale, Hank Mann -- and Paul Panzer, who played the sneering villain in the original 1914 Perils of Pauline.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
How a viewer reacts to The Perils of Pauline will probably depend to a large extent on his/her feelings about Betty Hutton. It's a star vehicle for the raucous comedienne, and as usual, she has the volume turned up to 11 and the energy to 12. Fortunately, however, Hutton does find some moments when she can lower her guard and let the audience see a gentler, more tender side, as in her charming rendition of the lovely Frank Loesser ballad, "I Wish I Didn't Love You So." The actress also makes "The Sewing Machine" an enjoyable romp, and if she pushes too hard in "Rumble, Rumble, Rumble" and "Poppa, Don't Preach to Me," the songs themselves are so well-crafted that they withstand the sometimes-rough treatment. Perhaps taking his cue from his leading lady, George Marshall has directed much of the film with an eye on speed, keeping the film moving at a brisk pace, which helps to add emphasis to those moments when things get a little "serious." John Lund is fine in a thankless part, but Constance Collier, William Demarest, and Billy De Wolfe come across quite nicely in their smaller but more engaging roles. Pauline plays fast and loose with historical fact -- not unusual for a Hollywood biopic -- and much of the script is rather routine, but on the whole it's an agreeable confection.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2012
  • UPC: 874757037196
  • Source: American Pop Classics
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Betty Hutton Pearl White
John Lund Michael Farrington
Constance Collier Julia Gibbs
William Demarest Chuck 'Mac' McGuire
Billy De Wolfe Timmy Timmons
Frank Faylen Joe Gut
Chester Conklin Comic
Paul Panzer Gent, Interior Drawing Room
James Finlayson Comic Chef
Hank Mann Chef Comic
Francis McDonald Heavy, Western Saloon
Bert Roach Bartender, Western Saloon
Eric Alden Officer
Myrtle Anderson Maid
Stanley Blystone Reporter
Eugene Borden French doctor
Ethel Clayton Lady Montague
Chester Clute Willie Millick
Charles "Heinie" Conklin Studio cop
Sidney D'Albrook Reporter
Ray DeRavenne Call Boy
Tom Dugan Balloonist
Franklin Farnum Friar John
William Farnum Hero in Saloon
Julia Faye Nurse
Frank Ferguson Theater Owner
Bess Flowers Reporter
Creighton Hale Marcelled leading man
Harry Hayden Stage manager
Rex Lease Reporter
John Miller Cameraman, Drawing Room Set
Byron Poindexter Man
Harry "Snub" Pollard Propman in Saloon
Paula Ray Reporter
Jack Shea Workman
Technical Credits
George Marshall Director
Roland Anderson Art Director
Frank R. Butler Screenwriter
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Billy Daniels Choreography
Robert Emmett Dolan Score Composer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Gordon Jennigns Special Effects
Frank Loesser Score Composer
Gene Merritt Sound/Sound Designer
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Walter Oberst Sound/Sound Designer
Ray Rennahan Cinematographer
Arthur P. Schmidt Editor
Sol C. Siegel Producer
Wally Westmore Makeup
P.J. Wolfson Original Story, Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great film!

    I saw this when I was 7 then spend 8 years looking for it... and I'm glad I did because it is an AMAZING musical/comedy/drama. Betty Hutton is great as Pearl and John Lund is so believable as Mike. It is a funny, romantic movie... that everyone will enjoy... even my little brother likes it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of the greatest movies of all time

    I saw this when I was 8 and loved it so much that I spent 7 years looking for it!! It's that amazing. Betty Hutton and John Lund have great chemistry and the comedy and music are absolutely fantastic!!!! It's a must have for old movie and musical fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    LOVED IT

    This is a great movie! It is an old movie, a musical, comedy, and romance... it has everything! It's my new fav movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sweet, fun, family movie leaves a happy taste in your mouth

    When my mom bought an old copy of this movie about 15 years ago I did not watch it because I thought it would be dumb. However, out of desperation for something new a while back, I watched it and loved it. The songs still go through my mind. (I wish I could find a recording.) Yes the plot, based loosely on real life, is easy to predict. And if you are annoyed by actors bursting into song, you will not like it. But it is still a great movie. Surprise your loved ones with it when they are sick in bed and don't have the energy to fight you. They will love it and ask to see Pauline again.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews