Sunday, October 12, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: The Floating Coffin (1914)



In the final chapter of The Perils of Pauline serial entitled The Floating Coffin, Pauline Marvin (Pearl White) and her fiancé Harry are traveling on his new yacht. He also has a motorboat. Pauline has him show her how to work the mechanisms for the small boat.
            After some pleading Harry finally gives in and lets Pauline drive the motorboat for herself. She takes along her dog Rusty for the ride. The motorboat stops working and begins to take on water. Pauline manages to get herself and the dog onto an old boat.
            Not far off in the distance is a naval fleet. They are going to be using the boat that Pauline and Rusty are on for their target practice. The fleet shoots at the boat and puts enough holes in it to start sinking it. Pauline is frantic she tries desperately to get the naval fleet’s attention. She manages to find a pen and piece of paper and writes a note saying she is on board the old ship. Pauline gives the note to Rusty who she has swim to the battleships.
            The crew of one of the ships sees the dog swimming towards them. They take a small rowboat out to the dog. The crew sees the note and the captain calls a cease fire. The crew and the dog get to Pauline in the nick of time.
            Someone on the yacht has wised up to Koerner’s evil doings trying to get rid of Pauline for her money. The man punches Koerner and throws him overboard. Koerner eventually drowns.
            When Pauline comes back she embraces Harry and tells him she has finally had enough of having adventures and wants to marry him at last.
            For the past nine weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed watching The Perils of Pauline. Some of them were exciting and thrilling and some were just alright. Pauline Marvin is a great character. I liked how she went on all these adventures, planned or unplanned, and did so with such bravery and fun. My favorite aspect of all these episodes is that they were filmed in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Fort Lee was the original movie town. All the major studios started there. Over the summer I completed my internship as a museum registrar at the Fort Lee Museum working for the Fort Lee Film Commission. I found so many incredible movie artifacts from the early film industry and learned so much about it. The Fort Lee Film Commission are big fans of The Perils of Pauline and even use a behind the scenes photograph from one of the films as their logo.
            The Perils of Pauline is a must see for classic film fans. They are fun, innocent, and entertaining given the time period they were made in.  I can only hope that these films, if seen by more viewers, especially women, will inspire writers in some way to write strong, adventurous female characters.