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The Perils of Pauline

   

The Perils of Pauline (1947) starring Betty Hutton, John Lund, William Demarest, Billy De Wolfe, Constance Collier

Perils of Pauline is the musical biography of Pearl White, popular star of silent movie serials.

Review

As I’ve said a great many times, if there’s one genre that Hollywood’s terrible at, it’s the biography. That’s completely true in The Perils of Pauline. If you ignore the gross inaccuracies (see Trivia), it’s a very enjoyable musical. The entire cast gives good performances, especially Betty Hutton at the title character. Billy de Wolfe is very likable in his role as well. The songs are enjoyable, the pace is good, costuming & sets all look faithful to the time period, etc.

Product Description 

Featuring Frank Loesser’s Oscar nominated song, “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So,” The Perils of Pauline is about the rise to fame of silent screen star Pearl White (Betty Hutton). Directed by George Marshall (The Blue Dahlia, Houdini), the cast includes such stars as Billy De Wolfe, John Lund, and William Demarest, plus appearances by silent screen aces Snub Pollard and Chester Conklin. Still, it’s Hutton’s movie all the way — her energy and charisma highlight this tribute to the golden age of moviemaking!

Songs

  • Poor Pauline (1914)
    • Written by Charles McCarron and Raymond Walker
  • I Wish I Didn’t Love You So (1947)
    • Written by Frank Loesser
    • Played during the opening credits and often as background music
    • Sung by Betty Hutton at Millick’s
  • The Sewing Machine (1947)
    • Written by Frank Loesser
    • Sung by Betty Hutton in Joe Gurt’s sweat shop
  • Rumble, Rumble, Rumble (1947)
    • Written by Frank Loesser
    • Sung by Betty Hutton in a theater
  • Poppa, Don’t Preach To Me (1947)
    • Written by Frank Loesser
    • Sung by Betty Hutton at her Paris nightclub

Trivia

  • Many actors who were in Pearl White‘s movies had roles in this film: Paul Panzer played the villain in the original serial, The Perils of Pauline (1914); Creighton Hale was the hero in White’s serial The Exploits of Elaine (1914); William Farnum came out of retirement to play himself, appearing in the same costume he wore in Riders of the Purple Sage (1918). In addition, Louis J. Gasnier, who directed the original film (The Perils of Pauline (1914)), was a technical advisor on this film. 
  • In real life, after sustaining a back injury as a result of an accident while filming The Perils of Pauline, 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, 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. 

Cast of characters

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