HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Unconquered The Perils of Paulette
Year: 1947
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Paulette Goddard, Howard Da Silva, Boris Karloff, Cecil Kellaway, Ward Bond, Virginia Campbell, Katherine DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, C. Aubrey Smith, Victor Varconi, Virginia Grey, Mike Mazurki, Porter Hall, Richard Gaines
Genre: Romance, Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Although Cecil B. DeMille remains best known for his star-studded Biblical epics throughout the 1930s and 1940s he made a series of similarly grandiose historical adventures exploring significant episodes from America's past. Following in the wake of The Plainsman (1937), Union Pacific (1939) and Northwest Mounted Police (1940) – which featured the same stars – Unconquered takes place in colonial times only a few years before the American Revolution.

Set in the year 1763, the film serves up a fictionalized account of the so-called “Conspiracy of Pontiac” where a resourceful Indian known as Pontiac united many of the tribes in the Ohio valley to revolt against American settlers and British troops and thus reclaim the land. Against this combustible backdrop, unjustly convicted English lass Abby Hale (Paulette Goddard) is sentenced to slavery in the colonies. Aboard a ship in Virginia, she draws the compassion of colonial Captain Chris Holden (Gary Cooper) who gallantly buys her freedom. Unfortunately, odious fur trader Garth (Howard Da Silva) finds Abby too beautiful to relinquish. He manages to steal her away to back-breaking servitude at a trader's outpost with far worse in store. Meanwhile Chris suspects Garth is supplying the Indians with guns and fermenting an uprising so he can have a monopoly of the fur trade. His attempts to expose Garth reunite him with Abby as together they are engulfed in events leading up to a tremendous battle between brave settlers and hostile Indians.

Narrated by DeMille himself in typically authoritarian fashion, Unconquered is an uncomfortable melange of starchy history lesson and the kind of corny bodice-ripping yarn one would expect from one of those cheesy romance novels. Indeed the film was dubbed “The Perils of Paulette” by some wags on the Paramount lot. No doubt referring to the serial-like plot that propels the heroine from one indignity to another as she is repeatedly bound captive and abused with ravishing Paulette Goddard stripped down to her undergarments. It is a comic book take on history, though alas not as lively as one, with pantomime performances including an uncharacteristically bad one from Paulette Goddard. Given how she sparkled in her roles opposite Charlie Chaplin and Bob Hope and worked well with Jean Renoir, one can only conclude DeMille was at fault. Although this was their third film together the actress and director never really got on. During filming DeMille was enraged when Paulette refused to perform in a stunt sequence where he pelted the cast with real fireballs and flaming arrows. Which was a wise move on her part given a stunt woman and several extras were injured. Nevertheless, DeMille had his revenge later when he refused Paulette the role Gloria Grahame played in his circus extravaganza The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), a decision that likely hastened her career decline in the Fifties.

It falls to a reliably rugged Gary Cooper to anchor things as our dashing hero though the film still compares poorly with John Ford's stirring saga of frontier life, Drums Along the Mohawk (1939). On the positive side, DeMille brings the colonial period to life in vivid detail and the dialogue has the odd poetic flourish even if the plot is pure cornball. Thematically the film is as reactionary as one would expect of DeMille who vociferously champions the colonialists as “the unconquered.” Free spirits who, as Chris repeatedly insists, will steadfastly endure everything nature throws at them. Which, in spite of our awareness in the twenty-first century of the injustice in usurping the Native Americans, is an acceptable stance. These people did endure great hardship to forge a nation. Ford's film similarly celebrates the frontier spirit. However, while DeMille does not hold back in condemning white slavery as a heinous historical crime he sidesteps the thornier issue of black slavery. Note the scene where Chris' slave pleads to be taken away with him but is politely ignored. The film's attitude towards Native Americans is no less suspect although DeMille does at least try to craft a more complex character in the form of Hanna (Katherine DeMille), Garth's conflicted Indian wife. Later on Boris Karloff makes a notable appearance as Indian chief Guyasuta. The iconic horror star is convincing enough but his character is one-dimensional reduction of the historical Pontiac while the other Indians are drawn largely as snarling savages or simpletons who repeatedly fall for white men's tricks.

Much of Unconquered is stuffy, self-important and slow. There is a whole lot of talk to get through before DeMille doles out his trademark spectacle. Things get somewhat livelier once the action hits the frontier with an exceptional chase across the river rapids climaxing with a thrilling plummet down a waterfall. The aforementioned fiery siege is another staggering set-piece but these instances aside DeMille takes his foot off the pedal too often.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3711 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: