The Perils of Pauline (1914)

Article #812 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-5-2003
Posting Date: 11-2-2003
Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and Donald McKenzie
Featuring Pearl White, Crane Wilbur, Paul Panzer

An heiress finds herself being put into hazardous situations by her ward, who has designs on her fortune.

Title check: Yes, the heroine is name Pauline, and she does indeed face perils.

If Walt Lee’s REFERENCE GUIDE TO FANTASTIC FILMS can be trusted on this point, then there are indeed fantastic elements in this, the most famous of the silent serials and the one that made Pearl White a star. However, he’s most likely referring to the original serial in its complete form; my copy is an edited version that cuts the twenty chapters down to nine and since the episodes were more distinct stories in their own right rather than one long narrative, it looks like the stories that had the fantastic elements aren’t present here. I don’t know if the serial exists in its entirety, but these nine episodes seem to be the longest chunk of them still in existence. It’s fun in it’s way; Pearl White is quite appealing, and they come up with a good variety of perils for her to undergo, but those who desire fantastic elements would be better off waiting for a more complete version of the serial to manifest itself.

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