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William A. Seiter
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An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic.
Funloving Pearl White, working in a garment sweatshop, gets her big chance when she "opens" for a delayed Shakespeare play...with a comic vaudeville performance. Her brief stage career leads her into those "horrible" moving pictures, where she comes to love the chaotic world of silent movies, becoming queen of the serials. But the consequences of movie stardom may be more than her leading man can take Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package; as it turned out, the copyright was apparently not renewed, the film fell into public domain, and is now handled by a multitude of distributors. See more »
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. See more »
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.
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