The Perils of Pauline (1914) ch04 – The Deadly Turning, the European version

The Deadly Turning starts with what seems like a lot of corrective potential. Pearl White has signed up for a car race without telling beau Crane Wilbur or guardian Paul Panzer. Once she’s accepted, she tells them at once, setting she and Wilbur on their plot line and Panzer on his.

Wilbur begs White not to race. She refuses. So he says she has to let him drive the car. Even though she’s entered into a car race, she doesn’t seem to know how to drive, which was immediately disappointing. That conflict is pretty much all of White and Wilbur’s plot line.

Meanwhile, Panzer sees another opportunity to kill White and get her money. Turns out he’s got a bunch of other henchmen who he can force to do his bidding. Panzer’s come a long way from the mostly reformed secretary in the first chapter. Now he’s got a league of thugs.

Stupid thugs as it turns out, though Panzer’s plan to cause White to crash is pretty bad on its own. Worse is when how he plans it so the culprit will be in full view of everyone.

Fortunately, it’s a short chapter. There’s not enough time before it’s over to get fully disappointed in how much White is again wasted. The serial often seems less like The Perils of Pauline than Buffoons Can’t Murder.

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