Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Perils of Pauline (1914)

What a fiasco... finding this film was nearly impossible, and with numerous versions it was quite confusing. This serial film was redone several times, the original being in 1914 with remakes in 1933, 1947, and 1967. The 1933 version was released in 12 episodes, the 1947 version was a feature length film just under two hours, and the 1967 version was originally released in Brazil made for TV and starred Pat Boone. The 1933 version is on VHS at my library, but this version was almost impossible to find. As part of the National Film Registry it is available in small chunks but even the full version that I found is incomplete. Only 4 or 5 of the episodes remain in their full ~30min versions. Several of the episodes are lost forever and only 8-12 minutes have been restored. The original had 20 episodes but only the European edition survived which is 9 episodes and what seems like portions of three others. It is all very confusing. Anyways I watched what I could find.

The first episode explains the background story. Pauline was left a fortune by her uncle, but she is not to have the money until she marries. Her guardian is left to hold the money until she is married, and she decides to have some fun before marrying her fiance Harry. Koerner (the Guardian, and bad guy) plots to kill her to keep the inheritance for himself. Each episode stars with a grand adventure and ends with a narrow escape. From being stranded in a hot air balloon, to lost at sea, to kidnapped by cowboys. The episodes start to get repetitive after the first three or four, so I'm not to disappointed that I have incomplete footage. There is little closure on the series also, and it seems that they were all left pretty open ended, much like a television series [if you didn't already know serials were the precursor to tv series that teens went to the theater to see weekly almost 100 years ago.]

It was ok, I would have been fine with 1-2 episodes, and watching 4-6 hours of silent footage is not really that fun. Check out the first episode if you can find it, and call it a day.

Vote: 5/10

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0004465/

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