The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 2: The Goddess of the Far West

Tired of being in the public eye–presumably since she escaped a terrible fate in the previous chapter–Pearl White decides to go visit some friends out west. Suitor and pal Crane Wilbur can’t go with her (which is initially a blessing); unfortunately, villain Paul Panzer discovers her plans and schemes to once again kill her for her fortune.

Panzer’s thug, Francis Carlyle, hires a band of evil cowboys to help him kidnap White. They do, with ease, and lock her in a cave. While the villains get away, a group of Native Americans are fox hunting nearby. Seeing the fox in the cave, White realizes its not entirely sealed and works her way out.

Not clear why she didn’t explore the cave before seeing the fox. Not clear at all.

She escapes her makeshift prison with the help of a Native American who takes her back to the tribe. The elders decide they’re going to kill her in some ritual manner. Even though her rescuer tries to get her free, it’s too late. They push White down a hill and send boulders after her.

There’s at least one cool shot of White (or a stuntperson) running from a boulder.

In the meantime, Wilbur’s back to save the day. Even though a sheriff’s posse was ostensibly looking for White, they had no luck. Only Wilbur can find her.

The finale has the posse killing a bunch of the bloodthirsty Natives, though everyone decides White’s Native rescuer is an all right guy.

Goddess is a long twenty or so minutes. The first “peril” at least fits into the bigger plot, but the second one is seemingly just there because the first doesn’t have any big set pieces. And it only doesn’t have big set pieces because directors Gasnier and MacKenzie rush the kidnapping.

It’d be nice if White got something to do most of the time instead of at most a quarter of it.

CREDITS

Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie; screenplay by Charles W. Goddard and Basil Dickey, based on the novel by Goddard; director of photography, Arthur C. Miller; released by the Eclectic Film Company.

Starring Pearl White (Pauline), Crane Wilbur (Harry), Paul Panzer (Koerner), and Francis Carlyle (Hicks).


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