Another of Cecil B. DeMille's bloated epics about the shaping of America, UNCONQUERED stars Goddard as an indentured servant sentenced to 14 years of servitude in the American colonies. On the voyage across from England, she meets Cooper, a Virginia militia captain who takes an immediate liking to her, despite the fact that he is already engaged. Goddard...read more
Another of Cecil B. DeMille's bloated epics about the shaping of America, UNCONQUERED stars Goddard as an indentured servant sentenced to 14 years of servitude in the American colonies. On the voyage across from England, she meets Cooper, a Virginia militia captain who takes an immediate
liking to her, despite the fact that he is already engaged. Goddard also attracts the eye of da Silva, a scurrilous trader. When his attentions grow too lewd, she slaps him, prompting da Silva to try to buy her contract. He is foiled on the docks, though, when Cooper bids higher and immediately
gives Goddard her freedom. However, da Silva has too many other nefarious schemes in the works to be bothered by a little setback like this. Most notably, he marries the daughter of Seneca chief Karloff and agitates the Indians to unite to drive the white men back into the sea, using muskets da
Silva sells them. At Fort Pitt, Cooper's fiancee tells him that she has fallen in love with another man, a development that doesn't seem to bother Cooper much. Goddard, however, falls into da Silva's hands again when he manages to get hold of her contract and convince her that Cooper's purchase
was fraudulent. He puts her to work in a saloon he owns, managed by the crude Mazurki. She scrubs the floor while the men make rude comments, but Cooper isn't long in rescuing her. Jealous of her husband's attentions toward Goddard, da Silva's Indian wife arranges with the tribe to have Goddard
kidnapped. Goddard is tied to a stake and is about to be tortured when Cooper comes on the scene to rescue her yet again. They arrive back at the fort just as the Indians attack with flaming arrows. Cooper helps the settlers fight off the Indians, then manages to kill da Silva and Mazurki in a
shootout in a stable. As the film ends, Cooper and Goddard are about to be married.
This huge and expensive production never really comes together. Over $5 million and 102 days were spent on the film, but it was savaged by the critics and ignored by the public. Fearing the flaming arrows that had already sent 30 extras to the hospital with burns, Goddard created problems for the
director when she refused to climb the ramparts of the fort during the attack sequence. To teach her a lesson DeMille picked one lowly extra for an important part in the scene, succoring the wounded on the ramparts. Goddard was vindicated, though, when the extra joined the others at the hospital.
Karloff wasn't very good as the Indian chief, though his dedication to the part was impressive. He had originally intended to speak the role in gibberish, but DeMille insisted that he learn Seneca, which he did. In addition, the actor had recently undergone back surgery and under his bonnet, furs,
and loincloth was a massive brace. Cooper is good but looks a little old to be gallivanting about the frontier, and Goddard tries too hard to be glamorous, destroying her character. Da Silva is a worthy villain and the rest of the cast is more than adequate, but the whole thing sinks under its own
grand weight. DeMille simply tries too hard to get in everything, even one of his patented bathtub scenes, played here in a barrel by Goddard. The film lost a fortune at the box office.
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