Tag Archives: Louis J. Gasnier

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 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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The Perils of Pauline (1914, Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie), the European version, Chapter 5: A Watery Doom

A Watery Doom opens with scheming villain Paul Panzer hiring a “gypsy” (honestly, calling them Romani in this context seems inappropriate), played by Clifford Bruce, to drown his ward, Pearl White. But Panzer’s worried her fiancé Crane Wilbur will come along and save her at the last minute. So at least Panzer’s learned the structure of Perils of Pauline chapters, even if he hasn’t learned anything from his mistakes.

They’re going to lock her in a basement below river level and drown her. Bruce and his band of gypsies (see, you don’t want to call them a band of Romani here) pose as firemen and burn down one of Wilbur’s factories. Apparently there are women and children in danger at this factory, but it’s immaterial. The false firemen kidnap Wilbur and White and lock them in the opening scene’s basement, then blow a hole to let the river in.

White’s more worried about the rats in the basement, who then swim (in the chapter’s most amusing shots), than she is about drowning. And why should she worry? Even though Panzer and Bruce had a plan to incapacitate Wilbur, it apparently didn’t work at all. He’s able to get his bindings off by rubbing them against a broken chimney base, which Panzer and Bruce apparently didn’t notice when surveying the basement.

Panzer’s got a subplot about firing the house staff because he’s sure he’s finally killed White and now has her riches. It goes unresolved. As bad at Panzer is at devising these murder plots (the gypsies have guns, why not just shoot the couple), at least he’s not Wilbur and White who never seem to figure out he’s always miserable to see them.

The escape from the drowning isn’t great, but the subsequent escape from the gypsy gang is kind of neat. Especially the stunt work.

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 4: The Deadly Turning

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.

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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