Release Date: July 4, 1947 | Production Date: February - May 1946 | Color: Technicolor Running Time: 96 minutes | Studio: Paramount Pictures
as "Pearl White"
as "Michael Farrington"
Billy De Wolfe
as "Timmy Timmons"
as "George McGuire"
as "Julia Gibbs"
as "Joe Gurt"
Screen Play by P.J. Wolfson and Frank Butler
Based on a Story by
Robert Emmett Dolan
Joseph J. Lilley
Dances Staged by
Director of Photography
Ray Rennahan, A.S.C.
Technicolor Color Director
Special Photographic Effects
Gordon Jennings, A.S.C.
Farciot Edouart, A.S.C.
Sam Comer and Ray Moyer
Hans Dreier and Roland Anderson
Gene Marritt and Walter Oberst
Sol C. Siegel
PUBLICITY IMAGES AND STILLS
POSTERS AND ADVERTISEMENTS
In the 1910s, amateur performer Pearl White (Betty Hutton), who sings to her co-workers in a New York garment sweatshop, meets stage actress Julia Gibbs (Constance Collier) of the touring Shakespearean troupe, The Farrington Players, when she comes to pick up a costume. Julia gets Pearl an audition with Mike Farrington (John Lund), the handsome, but pompous leader and star of the troupe, and Mike accepts her, although she cannot act. Always optimistic, Pearl accepts menial tasks until Mike finally allows her to star opposite him on the road. During a stage kiss, the two fall in love.
While in an island play, Pearl, dressed in a sarong, catches cold after being drenched during a storm scene and ruins the act. Furious, Mike closes the show and humiliates Pearl, who, in turn, calls him a "two-bit four-flusher" and quits. Julia quits also and gets Pearl a singing audition with her agents. The agents offer Julia a bit part as a dowager in a motion picture being made by George "Mac" McGuire (William Demarest) of Artcraft Pictures. Although Julia does not know it, her part requires that she receive a pie in the face, and when Pearl sees Julia humiliated, she enthusiastically defends Julia and leads her through set after set of pictures being filmed, disrupting the action, and finally furiously kicking a lion in the last set. McGuire is so impressed with Pearl's untamed energy that he casts her in the lion picture and decides to make her the star of a cliffhanger serial, The Perils of Pauline .
At the end of each episode, "Pauline" faces death, but is saved at the beginning of the next episode. Pearl is an enormous success and gains nationwide fame as Pauline. Mike, meanwhile, has been reduced to running a carnival sideshow. Pearl gets him a job as her leading man, and during a publicity stunt, the couple gets stranded in a hot air balloon, where Mike proposes. McGuire excites the press with plans for Mike and Pearl's wedding and honeymoon without consulting Mike.
As President Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany, Mike sulks, his ego bruised, and breaks the engagement. After the armistice, Mike becomes a Broadway success, and the popularity of serials declines. Pearl gets a singing contract at a café in Paris, and on opening night, Mike arrives in Paris to declare his love. Pearl falls during a stunt on stage, however, and doctors warn her that she might not walk again. Pearl risks her health to meet Mike one last time, but, while still seated in the car, refuses his proposal. Julia tips Mike off that Pearl still loves him, and while she watches one of her old serials in a Paris picture house, Mike enters and carries her out of the theater, assuring her that her performance in the car was unconvincing as usual.
Academy Award: Best Music, Original Song (Frank Loesser - "I Wish I Didn't Love You So") (Nomination)
"The Perils Of Pauline" was filmed during the first few months of 1946, but not released until summer 1947.
Betty was three months pregnant when filming completed on "The Perils of Pauline".
Betty didn't like having to wear the high-buttoned shoes and the costumes of the era because of the discomfort they caused.
With Betty tied to a tree for a forest fire shot, a wind-machine went wrong and blew a blast of flames so close to her that her hair piece was singed.
As reported in New York Times, Betty, like her "daredevil prototype," performed her own stunts in the film.
Many actors who were in Pearl White's movies had roles in this film: Paul Panzer played the villain in the original serial; Creighton Hale was the hero in White's serial "The Exploits of Elaine" (1914); William Farnum came out of retirement to play himself, appearing in the same costume he wore in "Riders of the Purple Sage" (1918).
The hot air balloon in the balloon sequence was shipped from Goodyear in Akron, Ohio. It was handled by Navy balloonist Lieutennant J.J. Leonard, and was equipped with an automatic camera to avoid the weight of a cameraman.
There was a lot of Oscar-buzz for Betty's performance and many stars, including Greer Garson, voiced their support to the rising campaign for an Academy nomination for Betty's performance.
After Judy Garland was forced to drop out of "Annie Get Your Gun", a number of actresses were considered for the role. Betty campaigned for the role, and after "Annie" producers screened "The Perils Of Pauline" for MGM executives, they realized the role was perfect for her.