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>
In real life, Pearl began making films for Powers Pictures, then went to Pathé, where she made most of her serials, and to Crystal, where she made a long succession of comedy shorts; in the film, she works for Artcraft, which did not even exist when Pearl began in 1910. See more »
Any movie with Betty Hutton in it is worth watching.
Don't expect The Perils of Pauline' to cast much truth on the real Pearl White. In line with similar movies of the period, it's entertainment first and truth a distant second. What you do get is the irrepressible Betty Hutton, a kind of female Mickey Rooney. You also get Billy DeWolfe and William Demarest and those three make this movie worth the price of admission. Betty may bear a resemblance to other blondes of the period but it would take a hard hearted viewer not to like her. She's that kind of girl and rarely has an actress worked so hard in a part.
There are some good scenes; the movie factory gets my vote. This has been done both before and since but rarely so effectively. Bill Demarest overacts superbly as her manager, as does Billy DeWolfe as her best pal. The weak link is John Lund. Okay, maybe he's supposed to be that way. I just didn't think he was effective. The movie falls away in the last third but despite that, it's worth viewing. Betty belts out I Wish I Didn't Love Him So' but it's not a particularly memorable song from Frank Loesser.
Five years after this movie, Betty would walk out on her Paramount contract and destroy her career. Like a number of memorable actresses of the great studio period, her star burnt brightly before going out forever. If you see her name in a cast list, on a movie long-forgotten, don't miss it.
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