|The Perils of Pauline|
|Directed by||Herbert B. Leonard|
|Produced by||Herbert B. Leonard|
|Written by||Albert Beich|
Charles W. Goddard
|Music by||Vic Mizzy|
|Cinematography||Jack A. Marta|
|Edited by||Sam E. Waxman|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Inspired by the Batman TV series, with the same kind of florid villainy and dauntless heroics, this TV pilot starred Pamela Austin, best known for her appearances in Dodge commercials at the time (urging viewers to "Join the Dodge Rebellion!"), as Pauline, with Pat Boone as her staunch protector.
The pilot did not find a sponsor or a network, and the three sample shows were compiled into a theatrical feature film and released by Universal Pictures. Extra footage for this was shot in December 1966.
Universal's home-movie company, Castle Films, turned it back into a serial, excerpting four episodes from the feature. The movie enjoyed neither the commercial nor critical success of the earlier versions of The Perils of Pauline.
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The film opens on a cold winter's night at an orphanage. A young boy walks out to take in milk bottles, when he sees a baby in a basket on the ground. The baby's name is Pauline, and the boy (whose name is later revealed to be George) promises to protect her no matter what. Soon, it's time for Pauline to get adopted. George tries numerous attempts to prevent that from happening as she gets older. His last stunt however makes Pauline suitable for her new parents. Mrs. Carruthers, the owner of the orphanage (played by Doris Packer), and George (now played by Pat Boone) transport Pauline to her new home. Her new parents tell their son to get Pauline's bags. At the same time, Pauline remembers her toothbrush and goes back to the car to retrieve it. George seizes the opportunity to prevent Pauline from living with her new family, and pulls the hand brake on the car. It races away, and everyone begins to chase after it. The opening credits are displayed as the car careens down the street and into a poultry farm. All seems well until the car reaches a train crossing. Pauline and her brother to be aren't hurt, but her parents to be do not want her anymore. Mrs. Carruthers finds out that George pulled the hand brake, and sends him packing. Later that night as George is about to leave, Pauline wants to come with him. He objects, and says that when he makes his fortune, he will come back for her. Pauline promises to wait.
Seven years later, Pauline finds work as a teacher for a young African prince, Benji (played by Rick Natoli). However, Benji sees Pauline as being engaged to him. She disregards his advances, and a chase ensues, ultimately leading Pauline to dangle precariously over a pool of sharks. While this is happening, we see George go back to the orphanage, only to see it being demolished. Mrs. Carruthers is glad to see George again, and is surprised to learn that his affection for Pauline was genuine. George then goes to Prince Benji's palace to find Pauline. Back at the palace, the prince's father comes just in time, and saves Pauline. Later, Benji puts his father in a brick prison, and tries once again to win her affection. She refuses once again and is able to escape. She hides in a market tent, but is unwittingly sold to a tribe of pygmies in the Congo. At the same time, George confronts Benji. His father breaks out of the prison and they all learn about Pauline's whereabouts. Benji is sent away, but he overhears, and calls Sten Martin (played by Terry-Thomas) to get Pauline and bring her back to him. Meanwhile, Pauline is with the tribe of pygmies. Just as she is about to be forced to drink a potion made to make her pygmy sized, she is kidnapped by a large gorilla. However, Sten shoots the gorilla, and Pauline falls into his arms. He realizes how beautiful she is and decides not to give her back to Benji. Later, as Pauline and Sten are canoeing on a river, a hippo emerges. As Sten attempts to shoot the hippo, he temporarily blinds himself. The canoe is also headed toward a hydroelectric plant. Sten jumps out and goes to lower the water level before Pauline goes over. At the same time, George gets information from the pygmies that Pauline went down the river with Sten, and goes into his canoe with his assistant Thorpe (played by Hamilton Camp). Sten manages to change the water level, saving Pauline from going over the hydroelectric plant dam.
In the next scene, Pauline is in the New York Mercy hospital with Sten, intending to go to the chapel and marry him after he saved her. It's quickly called off when Pauline sees Sten step over a bar of soap, and realize that he is faking being blind. He admits his love for her, but is quickly led out to the psychiatric ward by the pastor. Pauline then sees Mrs. Carruthers in the hallway, and she explains how George went to find her. Pauline passes by a stretcher, and realizes that the person on it is George. She is overjoyed to see him again, but she will have to wait until George gets better, as he had contracted a disease while in Africa. She decides to nurse George back to health, and goes to the store to buy hospital clothes. As she is walking down the street, she falls into a manhole.
Pauline then ends up on the estate of Casper Coleman (played by Edward Everett Horton). His servant finds her, and takes her inside. Casper commends her for her bravery, and later decides to have her married to his grandson. As his grandson is only a baby, he plans to freeze Pauline, until he gets older. Later, Pauline is drugged, and is sent to be frozen. At the same time, Thorpe gets a phone call about Pauline. He tells George, who then decides to freeze himself until Pauline is thawed. Sten is nearby, and he goes to the estate pretending to the third richest man in the world. He persuades Casper to thaw Pauline. Pauline is subsequently thawed and goes to George's office only to find him frozen. Thorpe suggests that he be taken to a warmer climate. Pauline agrees and they make arrangements to go on George's schooner. Soon, Sten finds out and stows away on the schooner. When a storm hits, he cuts the ropes holding George to the deck, but he is also swept overboard. Back in the office, Pauline is still saddened about George being swept away, so Thorpe offers to take her to the French Riviera to relax her mind. At the Riviera a film director, Frandisi (played by Vito Scotti), is looking for an actress to be in his new movie. He spots Pauline, and he has his assistant signal her and Thorpe to have a meeting with him at a restaurant that night. At the same time, Sten floats in the area using George as a lifeboat.when George finally thaws out, he and Sten go to a restaurant for a talk. George can't pay for his drink, so he gets a job at the restaurant.
Meanwhile, planning to be alone with Pauline, Sten goes to a Russian consul general to have him launched into orbit with Pauline. He objects at first, but when a girl is needed to be launched into space, he changes his mind, makes the arrangements, and tells Sten to meet him at a restaurant. Pauline is in the same restaurant (and doesn't know that George is also there) and meets the general. Later, she meets two FBI agents, who inform her that the official was actually a member of Russia's secret police, recruiting Pauline for the launch into space. They give her a micro-camera to take pictures while on the spacecraft. As she is leaving, George spots her and the two are reunited. As George goes to get ready to leave with Pauline, she leaves the restaurant to go on her mission. Sten is outside waiting, but is barred from going with Pauline. When George asks where Pauline is, Sten explains the situation. Pauline is now in the spacecraft and begins to take the pictures. After getting in an altercation with her co-pilot, she ends up getting ejected into space. At the headquarters for the space operation, George finds out about Pauline, and goes into a state of shock. The commisar recommends that he be taken to a doctor to be brainwashed so that he won't live with the pain of losing Pauline. Thorpe takes him there. Seconds after they leave, Pauline shows up safe and sound. (She was rescued by a second space capsule.) At an arms parade following the success of the space launch, Pauline meets a U.S. double agent and gives him the photographs. He then tells her about her planned escape from Russia. Pauline manages to get over the Berlin Wall, and is overjoyed to see George again. Soon, Thorpe explains the brainwashing situation. Pauline suggests that he take George to a sanitarium in Switzerland to jog his memory, while she goes to Venice to be in Frandisi's movie and makes George's fortune back. They agree and head their separate ways.
At the sanitarium, George's memory comes back when Thorpe leaves daffodils for him. (Earlier in the film, George told Pauline that when she grew up, she would bloom like a daffodil.) Thorpe and George then go to Venice to see Pauline. Meanwhile, Pauline is preparing to shoot scenes for the movie. While going to get her costume she sees Mrs. Carruthers again. She promises her that when she makes her fortune, she will open a new home for orphaned children. Soon George and Thorpe arrive, and the movie shoot begins. In the scene, Pauline has to coax a gorilla out of its cage. Sten Martin just so happened to be the stand in for the gorilla. When he finds out that it's the same gorilla he shot in the Congo, it knocks him out. When Pauline finally lures the gorilla out, it takes her away. When everyone else realizes that it's not Sten, they give chase. George finally defeats the gorilla, and he and Pauline are together at last. The film ends as they get married, and share a kiss on their gondola as it sinks, as Sten is still after Pauline.
Diabolique magazine later wrote that "there's a surprisingly strong emotional undercurrent to the story. Austin and Boone are soulmates, and just want to get married, but others stop them... It's a repetitive storyline, though. Boone and Austin are about to get together, but something stops them. And it has the cheerful racism of films of this era (horny Arabs, midgets in Africa). It is full of energy and never lets up. The movies it most reminded me of were the '60s AIP beach party comedies... Little kids will like it especially girls who might identify with Pauline."