austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Oh, be careful what you say

The Perils Of Pauline Episode Seven, ``Tracked by the Enemy'', opens with the discovery that Pauline is not dead.

Luckily Warde follows her into her cave and shoots the tiger with his sturdy six-shooter. They flee to the airplane, finally making use of that, and Dr Hargraves finds that the disc doesn't have any evil poison gas potion on it; it's just got directions to the actual poison recipe. Meanwhile the natives, angry at Dr Bashan and Fang for the destruction of their village, have surrounded the two. Realizing that they'll come in about four episodes short if Bashan is killed, Warde drops some hand grenades from the plane to help old Bashan out of this fix and maybe blow up some natives who, after all, were unreasonably angry with the people responsible for the destruction of their village. This is a staggering moment of loss of sense on everyone's part, really: I guess they're trying to establish that Warde is heroic in that he tries to save even people who've wronged him badly, but, how does he choose sides in the Bashan-versus-Yadka conflict? I suppose it's necessary to the story to explain how Bashan gets out of his fix, but, wouldn't it be more effective if he got out on his own, even if it was just by cleverly hiding?

The plane flies Warde et al to the boat with which they'll sail to Singapore, and abandon Sullivan as being really redundant to the other chipper white explorer-type guys already in the serial. Bashan just takes a plane to Singapore to save time. (I'm sure that none of this was actually filmed in Singapore, or anywhere else actual, by the way, although there's enough palm trees and vague forests in the distance that I'm not hard-pressed to suspend my disbelief abut this.)

At the Mandarin Hotel everyone pauses to look at how there's a real pond just outside, with real live man-eating sharks as a major attraction. They don't actually stop and face the audience to say, ``EVERYBODY GOT THAT? MAN-EATING SHARKS RIGHT HERE'', but they might as well. That night, at the bar, Dr Hargraves mentions how he's figured out the instructions and he's left the disc in the hotel room, which is no trouble at all as long as there's no eavesdroppers for Bashan nearby --- oh, what are the odds? A generically Oriental-looking woman wearing the sort of dress that looks painted on goes poking around the Hargraves hotel rooms.

Pauline --- who's aware at least that no, Bashan's not dead, just slowed down a little --- goes upstairs and catches the intruder, of course, and Bashan converges on this too, and there's scuffling and what do you know but everyone's out on the balcony which collapses into the MAN-EATING SHARK POND, which is a fine place for a cliffhanger to go, isn't it?

Trivia: James Rumsey accepted the job of building the Patowmack Company canal on 14 July 1785; at the time no one in the United States had experience in building a large canal. Rumsey was fired in July 1786. Source: Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation, Peter L Bernstein.

Currently Reading: Coronation Commentary, Geoffrey Dennis. Dennis grants that monarchy may be a pretty ridiculous way to choose a Head of State, but graciously points out what a mess all those new Republics made of the world situation after the Great War, which certainly can't be blamed on the monarchs who used to rule places like Germany or Austria or Russia, can it? (I realize I'm a fine one to talk about writing deadpan things meant to be taken ironically and not having it understood, but, Dennis doesn't seem to be writing ironically here. He does assert that a wiser monarch like Victoria would never have allowed the Treaty of Versailles to go through, although I don't see what she could have done even were she non-dead about it.)

Tags: movies, perils of pauline, serials

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