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Saturday, February 7, 2015

"The Perils of Pauline" (1947)

No one would ever accuse Betty Hutton of being a subtle actress. She played every film performance at full tilt, a whirligig of manic energy and enthusiasm. Too obvious, a little cornball, but eventually she wins you over with that by-golly-gee-whiz gumption of hers. In the '40s she was a sunny antidote to the dark post-war films noir. Here she's the silent film star Pearl White who rose to fame in all those cliffhanging serials. It's a perfect vehicle for the athletic Hutton allowing her to recreate classic nailbiting scenes like the damsel on the railroad tracks, the runaway hot air balloon, and my favorite, tied to the log heading for the buzzsaw. Though it's a musical with some fine Frank Loesser tunes ("I Wish I Didn't Love You So"), the picture is really a fun send-up of the silent moviemaking days.


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