|Betty Hutton and John Lund|
Pearl White (Betty Hutton) leaps from a factory job into "show business" when she joins a traveling theater company with the help of a dowager named Julia (Constance Collier). Tired of her mistreatment by the dreamy head of the troupe, Michael Farrington (John Lund of No Man of Her Own), she walks off and finds herself in silent pictures, becoming the great and wealthy serial heroine of The Perils of Pauline and others. But when she offers Michael a job as her leading man will it lead to lasting love for the couple or just disaster? The Perils of Pauline is very loosely based on the life of Pearl White, which actually had enough drama in it without the screenwriter's inventions. Hutton, never one of my favorites, is excellent, however, and she gets good support from Lund (playing a truly obnoxious character whose good looks only make slightly more palatable), Collier [Rope], Billy De Wolfe, and William Demarest as a film director. Songs by Frank Loesser [The Most Happy Fella] include "Rumble," "I Wish I Didn't Love You So," and "Papa Don't Preach." In real life serials were made very quickly, but in this the filming of The Perils of Pauline stretches out for years and years!
Verdict: Hutton in fine form and an entertaining biopic, if mostly balderdash. ***.