Tag Archives: Edward Joseph

The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 9: The Floating Coffin

The Floating Coffin starts as most Perils of Pauline chapters start. Villain Paul Panzer is loitering around lovebirds Pearl White and Crane Wilbur, trying to figure out a way to off White. This time they’re yachting and White wants to go off on her own in a motorboat. Unlike every other chapter of Pauline, she asks Wilbur for his permission. Maybe because it’s his motorboat? White also has a dog. She’s never had a dog before.

Panzer sees his chance and opens the drain on the boat, filling it with a towel. Somehow the motorboat doesn’t sink overnight, and indeed lasts a whole hour into White’s solo voyage. As she begins taking on water, she goes to the nearest refuge–what turns out to be a floating target platform for the Navy.

Once White’s on the platform, Coffin just starts piling on logic hole after logic hole. First she can’t see the ships shooting at the target, even though they haven’t moved. She just wasn’t looking in the right spot. Also, on board the firing vessels, someone’s watching the target with binoculars. They apparently can see the target platform but not White (and her dog). Until a little later, when they can. Basically everyone’s incompetent.

Except the yacht captain, who figures out–after ten plus attempts–it’s Panzer who’s causing all of White’s Perils. An exceptionally lackluster finish to the serial ensues.

Even though White doesn’t do much except watch the water rise, the interiors on the platform as it fills with seawater are cool. The dog seems to be having a good time.

It’s also not clear how White knows she’s on a target platform (to send a distress message) after getting on the platform and apparently having no idea what it’s doing on the water.

White does probably get the most to do since the first chapter, but none of it’s special. In fact, it’s less special than almost every other thing she’s done–with far less screen time–in the rest of the serial.

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), and Paul Panzer (Koerner).


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The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 8: The Serpent in the Flowers

The Serpent in the Flowers only refers to one of the many things in this penultimate chapter of The Perils of Pauline. It comes towards the middle, after Paul Panzer has hired gypsy Clifford Bruce to again do away with Pearl White. Panzer senses he’s running out of time to kill White (according to the intertitle). It’s unclear why he’s running out of time, as the chapters have lacked any continuity since the second one.

Anyway, he hires the gypsy band to kill her. Only they kidnap her and then don’t kill her, making Bruce’s girlfriend jealous. Bruce is keeping White in his own tent for some reason. White tries to escape, as she’s not bound and the gypsy camp is within walking distance of home, but they catch her. So she stops trying. Of course she does.

Bruce’s girlfriend comes across Crane Wilbur, who’s out looking for White, and leads him to her. In the rescue attempt, Bruce is somehow wounded–Wilbur’s throwing bottles of beer at him and missing over and over; one must connect off-screen.

To get revenge, Bruce’s girlfriend puts a snake in some flowers and delivers it to White’s estate. Except Wilbur saves her.

The chapter doesn’t end with that second attempt on White’s life (the first one separate from Panzer, something Serpent sadly doesn’t dwell on), instead it continues with White participating in a horse race and Panzer poisoning her horse.

The shots of Panzer and Wilbur watching the race are pretty neat. Wilbur doesn’t want to White to participate because he never wants her to do anything but marry him and he’s anxious. Panzer’s anxious for the horse to go down and crush White.

It’s a long chapter, with way too much story, way too little suspense. That final amusement helps a lot. Especially since the adorable trained bear cub is only in two shots at the gypsy camp.

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 Clifford Bruce (Gypsy leader).


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The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 7: The Tragic Plunge

This chapter involves the world of international espionage, with leads Pearl White, Crane Wilbur, and Paul Panzer meeting a submarine designer (Jack Standing) who offers White a tour of his latest boat. Conveniently, Standing’s (unfortunately uncredited) fiancée is a foreign agent out to steal his latest plans.

While at dinner, she and Panzer get seated next to each other and she likes the cut of his jib. Apparently spy masters can sniff out incapable attempted murderers.

So Panzer hires the woman to kill White, which involves Standing’s valet planting a bomb on the submarine. It’s not a great bomb, incidentally, it doesn’t even have enough oompf to get through the hull. But it is enough to incapacitate the boat while submerged.

White and Standing are trapped on the ocean floor, running out of air, while Wilbur’s up top on another boat, waiting for them. Panzer disappears, which sadly means no shocked reaction when White doesn’t get killed (again).

No spoilers but there’s one of Pauline’s biggest logic holes in The Tragic Plunge. Someone is able to escape through the submarine tube while everyone else just stays onboard after they escape, running out of air. It’s bewildering.

The submarine interiors are cool (if unlikely–it’s a three-story submarine) and the exteriors of the ocean floor are well-done.

One thing about Plunge is how much more White gets to do. Without Wilbur cloying or Panzer scheming, she’s only sharing screen time with the foreign agents. Eventually, of course, Wilbur shows up to swipe her agency, but for a good while, it feels like Perils is White’s show.

Serial. Whatever.

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 Jack Standing (Lt. Summers).


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The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 6: The Shattered Plane

The Shattered Plane title to this chapter kind of gives things away. Is there going to be a shattering of a plane? Has it already shattered?

Villain Paul Panzer talks his ward, Pearl White, into going out to the airfield and trying to get aboard a plane. There’s going to be a race. White loves the idea, though her beau Crane Wilbur disapproves.

When Panzer and White get to the airfield, Panzer tries to bribe the pilot, who refuses. The pilot cannot, however, refuse White’s charms and agrees to let her ride along.

So then Panzer sabotages the plane (that night), presumably to kill both pilot and passenger. Panzer not having a plan when he goes out to the airfield in the first place is kind of sketchy, along with him not knowing how to sabotage a plane until he overhears the pilot talking about maintenance.

Wilbur still wants to keep White from flying; he sabotages both the household’s cars. One he just lets the gas drain as they drive, which White doesn’t seem to notice when she’s walking around the back of the car. Luckily (or unluckily), Panzer manages to find a car to go pick White up.

There are some great aerial shots from the flying planes, but it turns out to be a lackluster Pauline, even taking the serial’s tropes into account.

And when White has to call the maid to go get her a coat? It’s pretty obnoxious. Panzer shouldn’t be poorly plotting to kill her, but White seems to be an awfully snobby blue blood.

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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