Adventure / Drama / History / Romance / Western
Adventure / Drama / History / Romance / Western
In 1763, felon Abby Hale is sentenced to slavery in America. In Virginia, heroic Capt. Holden buys her, intending to free her, but villain Garth foils this plan, and Abby toils at Dave Bone's tavern. Garth is fomenting an Indian uprising to clear the wilderness of settlers, giving him a monopoly of the fur trade. Holden discovers Garth's treachery, but cannot prove anything against him. Can Holden and Abby save Fort Pitt from the Senecas? Many hairbreadth escapes.
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May 16, 2018 at 03:02 PM
DeMille at his most entertaining with strong cast and good script...
UNCONQUERED is eye candy with its glorious Technicolor scenery and elaborate sets (a mixture of real location photography and painted backgrounds) and, as is typical of any Cecil B. DeMille epic, it's got a splendid cast and a lengthy running time to tell its frontier story of early America--the colonists vs. the Indians.
PAULETTE GODDARD is sold into indentured slavery and two men fight over her--GARY COOPER and HOWARD DA SILVA. That's the basic nub of the story, all events leading up to who will win the girl as Goddard and Cooper go through a series of wild adventures with Indians on their track as Cooper attempts to rescue her from Da Silva's attempt to keep her as his own property. There's even a thrilling escape from the Indians across the rapids and a wildly implausible stunt over the falls pulled by Cooper that is impressive despite being incredibly over-the-top.
There are several well-staged battle scenes with various forts being attacked by the redskins and each segment has a "cast of thousands" look that makes it clear no expense was spared to bring all the excitement to the screen.
Paulette's character undergoes a "Perils of Pauline" type of narrow escapes, each more implausible than the one before, but who cares when it's all served up by DeMille with sufficient amount of tension and daring.
Both stars are in fine form and deliver good performances, ably supported by a fine supporting cast of players including HENRY WILCOXON, C. AUBREY SMITH, KATHERINE DeMILLE, WARD BOND and CECIL KELLAWAY.
One of DeMille's better epics, well worth viewing for fun and adventure with lavish attention to detailed costumes and settings.
The Perils of Paulette...
I must confess I really like Cecil B. DeMille's pseudo historical epics. They are as fascinating to watch as a head on collision between two (2) trains and about as subtle. So lets get this clear if your looking for any sort of historical accuracy, LOOK ELSEWHERE! For hand-wringing political correctness BEGONE! The Colonial Settlers are good, the Indians bad and the British are incompetent, thats it. If you are expecting dialog by way of Hamlet thats not going to be here either. Like Harrison Ford said about George Lucas, "You can write dialog like that, but we can't say it".
The fun of this film is to watch it unfold in all it's glorious Three (3) Strip Technicolor and follow the adventures of Paulette Goddard with Gary Cooper as they move from one (1) set piece to another. For thats what this film is as series of set pieces. Or as what some critics of DeMille felt, he did not make motion pictures but moving paintings, though very entertaining ones.
"The Perils of Paulette" is what the critics referred to this picture upon its original release. I think very few actresses were put upon more then she was in this movie. She was bound (chains, rope or leather), almost whipped, almost burned at the stake, almost drowned going over a waterfall, almost raped, etc. If this had been a pre-code film I am sure we would have seen something like the excesses in 'THE SIGN OF THE CROSS'! It would have been interesting to see what ended up on the cutting room floor that could not make it past the censors. Supposedly during filming she blew up and walked off the set until DeMille could bring things down to an acting (or pain tolerance) level, referring to DeMille as a SADIST! DeMille liked troopers such as Barbara Stanwyck and did not forget this. When Paulette wanted the role of 'Delilah' DeMille told her to take two (2) drop dead pills and effectively ended her career. When the 'UNCONQUERED' was finished CB issued gold medallions to those he felt were real troopers. Boris Karloff got one (1) and the drummer boy (for not flinching when a ball of fire bounces off his drum), not Paulette.
When you watch a Cecil B. DeMille film the important thing is not to take it seriously and just enjoy the ride. There are alway some neat things that you can pick up. Though he plays fast and loose with history (most directors do to this day; Michael Moore, Oliver Stone) he gets a lot of details right. The firearms, swords, uniforms even the shape of the British star fort are all right on. There is also excellent attention to detail on the day to day life of this period of history. He did build his films from the ground up and if did not convey historical accuracy gave a good imitation. Sort of a 1940's version of virtual reality. It looks great but is not all there.
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The traditional view of Colonial America
If you hate political correctness, you may love, "Unconquered." This film, from 1947, doesn't have the contemporarily familiar themes of evil settlers, or land thieves. In fact, the Indians are the bad guys in this one. The Indians, aided by a corrupt Englishman, have decided to wipe out white settlers in a race war. Gary Cooper is quick to the rescue. All the while he attempts to regain his bond slave, escape the gallows for treason, and fight his nemesis who happens to be the Indians' best friend. This is a strong film.