A broad satire of silent-film production, the film is a musical-comedy vehicle for Hutton. The original songs by Frank Loesser include the standard “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So”, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Paul Panzer, who played the villain in the 1914 film The Perils of Pauline, has a very small part in this film, as do silent-comedy veterans Chester Conklin, Hank Mann, Snub Pollard, and James Finlayson.
The film is in the public domain today; all public-domain video releases are sourced from 16 mm television prints that have faded over the years. Universal Studios (through NBC Universal Television, successor-in-interest to EMKA, Ltd.) owns the original film elements.
Pearl White (Betty Hutton) is a frustrated factory worker who aspires to become a dramatic actress. She joins a touring theatrical troupe managed by handsome but pompous Mike (John Lund), but fame and fortune elude her because she’s unable to suppress her natural rambunctiousness. In desperation, White takes a job at a movie studio, where she promptly finds herself in the middle of a slapstick pie fight. With the help of bombastic director Mac (William Demarest), top-hatted villain portrayer Timmy (Billy De Wolfe), and imperious dramatics coach Julia (Constance Collier), Pearl soon becomes world-famous as the star of such cliffhanging, tied-to-the-railroad-tracks serials as The Perils of Pauline.
Introduced by Betty Hutton in The Perils of Pauline and released on Capitol Records, “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song
“Poor Pauline” (Written by Charles McCarron and Raymond Walker)
Betty Hutton – “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So” (Written by Frank Loesser)
Betty Hutton – “The Sewing Machine” (Written by Frank Loesser)
Betty Hutton – “Rumble, Rumble, Rumble” (Written by Frank Loesser)
Betty Hutton – “Poppa, Don’t Preach To Me” (Written by Frank Loesser)
Paramount Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons