“The Perils of Pauline” - Biographical Movie Star Action Adventure
released in July 4, 1947
running time 1 hour and 34 minutes
The Actors: Betty Hutton (Pearl White), John Lund (Michael Farrington), William Demarest (George 'Mac' McGuire), Billy De Wolfe (Mr. Timmy Timmons), Constance Collier (Julia Gibbs), Frank Faylen (Mr. Joe Gurt), William Farnum (Western Saloon set hero), Chester Conklin (comic chef), Paul Panzer (the drawing room gentleman), 'Snub' Pollard (Western Saloon set prop man), James Finlayson (comic chef), Creighton Hale (Marcelled leading man), Hank Man (comic chef), Francis McDonald (Western Saloon set heavy), Bert Roach (Western Saloon set bartender), Heinie Conklin (studio cop), Jean Acker (switchboard operator), Ernie Adams (Western Saloon set cowboy), Eric Alden (officer), Bea Allen (Farrington player), Florence Allen (switchboard operator)
Sassy and Brassy Betty
Betty Hutton's mother tried to raise her two girls without the help of a man. Prohibition, which made all forms of alcohol illegal, had begun in the U.S., and with mama's fondness for a nip now and then, she decided to operate a speak-easy saloon serving illegal alcohol to the thirsty neighborhood. With the cops shutting her down every few months, she and her girls moved around the Detroit area fairly often, opening a saloon in a different neighborhood until the cops discovered them again.To provide a bit of entertainment for her customers she and her daughters sang songs, and the career of Elizabeth June Thornburg, or Betty Hutton, began.
Her unique sassy, brassy personality and voice made her an unforgettable motion picture star, if not beloved by the actors she worked with. We are fortunate that this movie slipped through the copyright cracks and entered public domain earlier than most Paramount pictures because it features Betty Hutton at the peak of her career.
In this adventure Betty Hutton plays the part of a real-life silent movie star, Pearl White. During the first years of motion pictures the weekly serial was created as a way to get movie fans to go to their local theater every week . . . Before the main feature film a short episode of an action adventure would be shown, and the Perils of Pauline was the runaway favorite in 1914, starring Pearl White.
Pauline was a damsel in distress who got into a death-defying position just as the weekly episode ended . . . As the screen faded to black, the audience would be convinced that poor Pauline would never survive this crises . . . . Next week when the audience returned to watch the doom of Pauline, they would see her miraculously escape the doom that seemed inevitable the week before . . . . And then she would progress into another death-defying crises at the end of this week's chapter.
Pearl White did all of her own stunts, many of which were really dangerous. The scene with the runaway hot air balloon really happened, almost killing the actress. What did NOT ever happen in a Perils of Pauline episode was any scene with Pauline tied to a railroad track and a monster train speeding down the tracks toward her. That scene was in another silent movie that you can watch here called Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life, filmed a year before The Perils of Pauline was created. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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