Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 11/27/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again, Betty Hutton plays a show girl whose talent overshadows her grouchy, envious boyfriend, making him cold and rejecting. (A device also used in "The Stork Club" and "Annie Get Your Gun"...) This time, she portrays silent movie actress Pearl White, star of the popular "Perils Of Pauline" cliffhanger serial adventures... The role is mainly dramatic, and though Frank Loesser is the film's songwriter, Hutton only gets in two good numbers before the schmaltz sets in. But what doozies they are! "Rumble Rumble Rumble," about an upstairs neighbor who plays the piano all night long, is a charming novelty song. Hutton's comedic inflection is better on the studio version (heard on Capitol's "Spotlight" collection), but it's a gas seeing her singing it live on film. She also really seems to enjoy herself a lot on "Papa Don't Preach To Me," a full-on dance number with a legion of smoothies in top hat and tails whirling her around... Hutton positively beams as she closes the number, knowing that she nailed the take, hands down. The film itself is a straightforward melodrama and once again her leading man, John Lund, plays a guy who is a real pill (...those uptight '40s "real men" characters really bug me somehow). The ending, in which a recently paralyzed Pearl still manages to rush to the train station to meet her man, is as preposterous as the Pauline serials the movie satirizes. Still, the film does give a nice glimpse at the early, early, early years of Hollywood, and the ramshackle, seat-of-their-pants production style of the one-reeler studios, and the film's scenes, which play with the transition of film from silent to sound, are pretty clever. Also, check out William Demarest as the grouchy director who makes White a star -- a role that was tailormade for his talents. Not the greatest film ever, but it has its charms."
About the DVD
Mart Sander | www.martsander.com | 01/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good buy, provided you love Betty Hutton. Otherwise, you might be greatly frustrated by her extremely physical and robust comedy style. She is about as sincere on screen as Carmen Miranda, Red Skelton and Danny Kaye put together, but never as graceful as Lucille Ball, let alone some of the drawingroom comediennes of the period. The quality of the DVD transfer is so-so, basically not bad, but never anything like the restored Gone With The Wind. There are no extras.
I can't escape the feeling that this film could have been so much better, since it at its best comes (subjectwise) close to "Singing in the Rain", but in spite of all the action and (unnecessary) drama sequences, this still is ONLY a Miss Hutton vehicle."
A whopping barrelhouse of a show!
Sean Orlosky | Yorktown, IN United States | 11/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Betty Hutton does it again! In one of her very best films, Hutton portrays silent film star Pearl White in a highly fictionalized and romanticized account of White's career. Beginning with her early days as a seamstress, to her tagging along with an amateur theatre group to the famed "Perils of Pauline" series, Hutton is so much fun to watch as her energetic performance steals scene after scene. White has romantic pangs for an uptight actor (John Lund) whose affections go unreturned until film's end, providing the show with a trademark musical happy ending. And what a songbook! Betty is great with her upbeat, staccato "Bob-bin' and bob-bin' and bob-bin" to the rhythm of a sewing machine, and the whole film is worth the boisterously delightful "Rumble, rumble, rumble" which Betty performs with gusto atop a piano. And she is charming with her sad romantic ballad, "I Wish I Didn't Love You So". If you're a Betty Hutton fan, or if you just love a great laugh or a great show, "The Perils of Pauline" is well worth every cent!"
Fictionalized Musical of the Career Of Pearl White
Midwest Book Review | 02/13/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Betty Hutton, John Lund, and Billy De Wolfe chew a lot of scenery in this Paramount Technicolor musical broadly based on the life of Famed Silent Screen Serial Heroine Pearl White. We see Pearl(Betty Hutton) in her first clumsy attemts at stage acting when she joins the cast of a small time repetory company in the early 1900's, run by John Lund's Character. Billy DeWolfe as one of the company's players adds his acerbic wit and sarcasm to the proceedings. Pearl is in love with Lund's Character, and is tne only one in the Repetory company who becomes famous, when she gets involved in the Perils of Pauline Series. We see a montage of the scrapes her Character Pauline gets into and how, after she has achieved fane, she helps revive the career of her long time love, Lund, when she rescues him from a career as a Side show Barker, and discovers DeWolfe's character has become a Hobo. Of course, as often happens in Stage door muiscals, one character overwhelms the career of their beloved and must eventually decide what is more important, thier career or their love. In this case Pearl becomes famous as a Night Club performer in France, and Broadway eclipsing Lund's Character. When she is injures her legs in an accident it is her love of Lund's character and his love of Pearl that eventually unites them at the end of the film. The film is a Technicolor confection, with good Photography, effects and Art Direction. Yet it is a minor film in the Hutton canon never equaling her performances in "The Miracle at Morgan's Creek", or "Annie Get your Gun", yet it is entertaining giving intersting glimpses of the Silent Movie business, and features some of the Original Mack Sennet Keystone Kop's performers."
"The Perils Of Pauline is a classic Hollywood musical comedy starring the multi-talented Betty Hutton, ably supported by a memorable cast which included John Lund and William Demarest. A fictionalized biography of Pearl White who began her career as a seamstress in a New York City Sweatshop, only to stumble into an acting career with a little troop of traveling players, then eventually (and accidentally!) stumble into a silent screen film career. Along the way are to be found true love, heartache, humor, and truly great musical numbers that have totally stood the test of time. This 96 minute musical comedy is a welcome, inexpensive, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to any personal or community library video movie collection!"