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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. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gary Cooper was ill during filming. The 46-year-old actor needed heavy make up so that he could play a young frontiersman. See more »
Near the end of the movie, when Gary Cooper is shooting Howard Da Silva in the barn, he shoots him, then when he draws his other gun, another shot is heard. This kills Da Silva, even though Cooper is only holding the gun, not pulling the trigger. See more »
Pre-Revolutionary War America focusing on the latter stages of the French and Indian War
"Unconquered" was one of those Cecil B. DeMille productions that did not quite make it as a true epic, but it did qualify as good film entertainment. Set in the American colonies of the 1760's, the film brings into conflict a love triangle, Indian uprisings, dastardly dealings by greedy whites in selling arms to tribes for furs, and the rights of indentured servants in the colonies. Featuring Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard in the lead male and female roles, plus Howard Da Silva in the role of the sneeringly evil fur trader, this film moves at a decent clip, even if some history is ignored for the sake of the story in the film.
Ah, the story. Paulette Goddard has run afoul of the British judicial system and is given the choice of execution in England or slavery in the colonies for a period of 14 years. She chooses the route of an indentured servant, and is placed aboard a British frigate heading for the colonies. While on board ship, she catches the eye of both Cooper and Da Silva, and in a shipboard auction, is purchased by Cooper, much to the chagrin of Da Silva. Cooper intends to free her when the ship arrived in the colonies, but Da Silva forces the auctioneer to resell Goddard, unbeknownst to Cooper.
In later scenes, the three engage in one conflict after another, which brings in to the arena, the Indian tribes led by Boris Karloff, playing a Seneca chief named Guyasuta. Da Silva's role, Martin Garth, had earlier married the chief's daughter, and that gives him an inroad with the Indian tribes. Cooper, as Captain Chris Holden, is able to rescue Abby Hale, Goddard's role, from the Indians, and they make their escape down river, which leads to a trip through the rapids and over a waterfall. Finally comes the showdown in which the Indians attack the nearby Fort Pitt, garrisoned by British regulars and frontiersmen and their families. While the battle rages outside the fort, Holden and Garth have to settle their disagreements in the fort's stable.
Besides the trio of leading performers, the cast has several Hollywood regulars. Cecil Kellaway, Ward Bond, and a very youthful Lloyd Bridges add to the protagonists in the film, and Mike Mazurski gives a great performance as Garth's henchman in the attempt to control the Indian fur trading practice.
"Unconquered" gives Cecil B. DeMille a chance to embellish another period of history, and while the production is worth watching, a viewer needs to take the overall work as entertainment, and not completely true to the times of 1763 Colonial America. 8 out of 10.
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