austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

A pretty face can hide an evil mind

The Perils Of Pauline Episode Six, ``Pursued by Savages'', opens with the discovery that Dr Hargraves, Dodge, and Pauline are not dead.

The hut they're in is on fire and collapsing, sure, and Hargraves and Dodge are tied up, but why should that stop them? They escape by running, even though Dodge does so in a painfully comic fashion.

By the way, the opening narration points out that this is a Yadka village, and that they're being attacked by Sullivan's friendly Kaydak natives. I'm sure that the naming of the villages was done with careful thought and planning, and that the syllabic symmetries which gave us Yadka and Kaydak were selected for thoughtful artistic reasons.

Off in the jungle the evil Dr Bashan is tromping around finding the instructions it turns out the second disc had, pointing to the location of the secret gas formula, instead of the instructions themselves. Warde, Hargraves, and Pauline team up with Sullivan, who flew his way in and has his plane on-hand, and hey, he's got a couple bombs to spare, so why not bomb Bashan into good behavior? Dodge pauses the action to point out how he wants a parachute, but there's none to be had, since how could there ever be problems with a small prop plane in a 1930s serial? Seriously.

Well, the natives unleash a wave of drum and gong-beating, including some gong-beating used in earlier installments set in China, and this onslaught forces the plane down for urgent repairs. Pauline figures to follow the drums, since if she doesn't they might never get a cliffhanger this installment, and hey, there's another jaguar! He runs off before he can get shot, if you can imagine something moving that fast. Meanwhile, Fang points out to Dr Bashan the waterfall what Marshall, Will, and Holly fall down in the opening to Land of the Lost, and warns against shooting orang utans. Bashan doesn't see any reason not to shoot at tigers, though, and that lets Warde ambush him and swipe back the sacred disc.

Not to worry. Before you know it, Pauline's racing through the jungle, with spear-wielding native chasing her, and frantic pacing around in front of the plane waiting for it to be all better. Dodge screams and does a goofy little leap and flee move, since of course he does, and Pauline facing down a phalanx of natives makes her scream. So Warde leaves off tying up Bashan and his henchmen to go chasing the running pauline, while stock footage of a tiger prowls around. Pauline runs into a cave with yet another, possibly the same, tiger, who leaps at her for the cliffhanger.

This installment feels like it's trying to cover too many points for the narrative thrust it's able to give each of them. I guess the important points are, Pauline and her father have to escape the collapsing hunt, Our Heroes have to catch Bashan long enough to get the disc, and everyone has to be in danger of their lives again for the end of the story, but, does it have to be so haphazardly done? The plane is introduced in a way that makes it look like it's going to be useful this installment, when it's just a waste of time; given that its existence was planted when Sullivan was introduced, why not come up with sounder reasons for all the character movement going on? Well, other than that they have to fill twenty minutes and flying around to no purpose fills a minute or two, gives Dodge the chance to act in his comic-relief cowardly way, and if they didn't use that then they'd have to find something else, right? I suppose I can understand their writing it that way, but it doesn't mean the story feels like it's not a strong narrative drive.

Trivia: From 1884 the Carlsberg brewery began using the principles Pasteur developed for his ``beer of revenge''. Source: Louis Pasteur, Patrice Debré, Translated by Elborg Forster.

Currently Reading: The Kid Of Coney Island: Fred Thompson And The Rise Of American Amusements, Woody Register.

Tags: movies, perils of pauline, serials
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