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HISTORY

The title card to the film reads "Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered ." A spoken narration opens the film, establishing the period and giving some historical background and motivation for the story. It begins, "At the forks of the Ohio stands an American city, a colossus of steel, whose mills and furnaces bring forth bone and sinew for a nation. Not so long ago, a lowly outpost guarded this very spot. It was called Fort Pitt...."
       According to a 25 Sep 1947 article in DV , this film, which cost $4.2 million to make, was DeMille's most expensive film to date. Referring to the Sep 1947 subpoenaing of forty-seven members of the film community by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to appear at hearings in Washington, D.C., DeMille, about to embark on a publicity tour for this film, is quoted in the article as having said "I'm also going to try to correct the impression that Hollywood is a nest of Communism." According to the Paramount Collection contained in the AMPAS Library, in Jun 1946, the Production Code Administration suggested a rewrite of "Abby's" wedding scene to eliminate its "objectionable flavor," stating "the present offhand handling of this marriage seems unduly light and undignified."
       Portions of this film were shot at the Conejo Grade, forty-five miles west of Los Angeles, CA. According to the Paramount Collection, a second unit photographed up and down the north fork of Clearwater River in Idaho, eighty-two miles from the closest town of Orofino on 4 Jul 1946. Big Mesa Falls in Ashton, ID (near Boise) was filmed for the waterfall scenes, and the rapids river sequence was ... More Less

The title card to the film reads "Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered ." A spoken narration opens the film, establishing the period and giving some historical background and motivation for the story. It begins, "At the forks of the Ohio stands an American city, a colossus of steel, whose mills and furnaces bring forth bone and sinew for a nation. Not so long ago, a lowly outpost guarded this very spot. It was called Fort Pitt...."
       According to a 25 Sep 1947 article in DV , this film, which cost $4.2 million to make, was DeMille's most expensive film to date. Referring to the Sep 1947 subpoenaing of forty-seven members of the film community by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to appear at hearings in Washington, D.C., DeMille, about to embark on a publicity tour for this film, is quoted in the article as having said "I'm also going to try to correct the impression that Hollywood is a nest of Communism." According to the Paramount Collection contained in the AMPAS Library, in Jun 1946, the Production Code Administration suggested a rewrite of "Abby's" wedding scene to eliminate its "objectionable flavor," stating "the present offhand handling of this marriage seems unduly light and undignified."
       Portions of this film were shot at the Conejo Grade, forty-five miles west of Los Angeles, CA. According to the Paramount Collection, a second unit photographed up and down the north fork of Clearwater River in Idaho, eighty-two miles from the closest town of Orofino on 4 Jul 1946. Big Mesa Falls in Ashton, ID (near Boise) was filmed for the waterfall scenes, and the rapids river sequence was shot in McCall, ID (also near Boise). The exteriors of the log fort and Wolf Creek were shot in a state forest in New York. Extensive filming took place in the Kiskiminetas River country in western Pennsylvania and in Cook's Forest, sixty miles from Pittsburgh, PA. According to a 1 Jul 1946 Par News item, after three weeks of shooting in Cook's Forest, part of Cook's National Park, heavy rains and floods forced the second unit to move 250 miles east to a scenic plateau north of the Allegheny Mountains. DeMille had fifteen fifty-foot birch trees shipped from Pennsylvania forests to Hollywood for the Peakestown spring fair scene in the film. According to Paramount News , DeMille used dozens of real fireballs and flaming arrows in the battle scene; eight persons suffered burns and one extra's hair was burned.
       A Paramount News item noted that DeMille bowed to the PCA by using soapsuds in Paulette Goddard's barrel bath scene, even though there was no bubblebath in 1763. Several reviews mentioned DeMille's depiction of Goddard in a crude wooden barrel as uncharacteristic of DeMille's traditionally lavish bath scenes, and an article in the NYT on 28 Jul 1946 stated that "a reliable piece of DeMille glamour--the bath scene--is going to find itself thrown for a loss in the showman's budget-heavy venture." According to a HR news item, between three and four thousand extras were used for the film in one hundred and ten days of shooting. Although Paramount circulated much press about DeMille's authentic and sensitive use of Native Americans in this film, an article in the NYT on 19 Oct 1947 said "it is deplorably evident that Unconquered , in this year of grace, is as viciously anti-redskin as The Birth of a Nation was anti-Negro long years back." The NYT review of the film, in reference to the depiction of "villainous Indians," stated that "all of them [were] incontrovertible Caucasians"; but, according to an article in Picturegoer , one hundred and fifty Native Americans ranging from Navajos to Cherokees were used in the assault on Fort Pitt scenes. The film's technicial advisor, Iron Eyes Cody, was of Seneca-Cherokee ancestry. Cody began working with DeMille as an actor in 1914 in The Squaw Man .
       This film was nominated for a 1947 Academy Award for Special Effects. Included in the nomination were Farciot Edouart, Devereux Jennings, Gordon Jennings, Wallace Kelley and Paul Lerpae for visual effects, including miniatures, transperency process projection, and optical effects for the long boat sequence, the water falls and canoe escape sequence and the battle sequence. George Dutton was nominated for sound, and George Dutton for sound effects. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Oct 46
p. 348
Box Office
4 Oct 1947.
---
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1947.
---
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1947.
---
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1947.
---
Film Daily
24 Sep 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 47
p. 10.
Independent Film Journal
12 Oct 46
p. 40.
Life
24 Nov 47
pp. 116-17.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Sep 47
p. 3849.
New York Times
22 Sep 1946.
---
New York Times
28 Jul 1946.
---
New York Times
11 Oct 47
p. 11.
Picturegoer
Nov 1947.
---
Variety
24 Sep 47
p. 11.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Sir C. Aubrey Smith
Rus Conklin
Paul E. Burns
Jim Nolan
Chuck Hamilton
Llorna Jordan
Besse Wade
Bill Haade
Nenette Vallon
Roderic Redwing
Bob Kortman
Allan Ray
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Rehearsal dir
Dial dir
Asst dir/company clerk
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d unit asst dir
2d unit 2d asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam dept staff
Cam dept staff
Cam dept staff
Cam dept staff
Still photog
2d unit cam
2d unit 2d cam
2d unit 2d cam
2d unit asst cam
2d unit still cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept staff
Art dept staff
FILM EDITORS
Cutting
Script cutting
Script cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Painter
2d unit painter
2d unit painter
Set const
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop
Prop shop
2d unit prop shop
2d unit prop
2d unit 2d prop
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward
Ward
2d unit ward
2d unit 2d ward
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dept
Mus dept
Mus dept
VISUAL EFFECTS
Dir of photog eff
Dir of process photog
Dir of process photog
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec eff cam
Spec eff cam
Spec eff cam op
Spec eff asst cam
2d unit spec eff asst
DANCE
Dances staged by
Dance dept
Dance dept
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup secy
Hair supv
2d unit hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Prod staff
Indian language adv
Bus mgr
Asst bus mgr
2d unit bus mgr
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting
Coordinator
Coordinator
Boom grip
Grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
2d unit grip
Horseman
Illustrator
Prod dept
Prod dept
Prod dept
P.A. operator and chair asst
P.A. operator and chair asst
Secy to Cecil B. DeMille
Secy to Donald Hayne
Secy to Roy Burns and Edward Salven
Secy to Jeanie Macpherson
Receptionist
Lab tech
Scr clerk
Scr clerk
2d unit scr clerk
2d unit auditor
2d unit timekeeper
2d unit nurseryman
2d unit machine shop
STAND INS
2d unit double for Gary Cooper
2d unit double
2d unit double
2d unit double
2d unit double
2d unit double
2d unit double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
2d unit Technicolor cam
2d unit Technicolor tech
2d unit Technicolor tech
2d unit Technicolor asst
2d unit Technicolor asst
2d unit Technicolor asst
2d unit Technicolor loader
2d unit Technicolor mechanic
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Unconquered: A Novel of the Pontiac Conspiracy by Neil H. Swanson (New York, 1947).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered
Release Date:
4 February 1948
Premiere Information:
Denver, CO opening: 4 November 1947
Production Date:
2d unit photography: began early June 1946
principal shooting: 29 July--8 November 1946
addl scenes: 25-26 November 1946
10 December 1946
30 December 1946
5 May 1947.
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 October 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1539
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
146-147
Length(in feet):
13,188
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1763 at the Old Bailey in London, Abigail Hale is sentenced to death for helping her brother fight the press gang which was attempting to forcibly press him into service at sea. To avoid hanging, Abby agrees to fourteen years of indentured service in the colonies and boards a ship bound for Norfolk, Virginia. The ship's brutish captain, Martin Garth, who is transporting munitions for the Indians of the Ohio Valley, bids for Abby, but is outbid by Captain Chris Holden from Virginia. When the ship reaches Norfolk, Chris, who is about to be married, grants Abby her freedom. After learning that an edict has forbidden the sale of guns, Garth buys every indentured servant on the ship, including Abby, who thinks Chris has double-crossed her. Meanwhile, Chris's fiancée Diana leaves him for his brother. In Peakestown, colonial leaders who are planning to seize Pittsburgh from the Indians meet with Chris and Garth. Garth, who is a blood brother to Guyasuta, the chief of the Senecas, and has married Guyasuta's daughter Hannah in order to trade the Indians guns for furs, claims the Indians gave him the land deeds to Pittsburgh. Under Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, Indians from the Ottawa, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee and other tribes, meanwhile, have been circulating a war belt to enlist the tribes to fight the colonists and drive them to the sea. Chris's friend, John Fraser, found the belt on a dead Indian and gave it to him. Since the colonialists have no army, Chris offers to carry peace belts to the Indians. Chris's two scouts are quickly killed by Indians sent by Garth to steal ... +


In 1763 at the Old Bailey in London, Abigail Hale is sentenced to death for helping her brother fight the press gang which was attempting to forcibly press him into service at sea. To avoid hanging, Abby agrees to fourteen years of indentured service in the colonies and boards a ship bound for Norfolk, Virginia. The ship's brutish captain, Martin Garth, who is transporting munitions for the Indians of the Ohio Valley, bids for Abby, but is outbid by Captain Chris Holden from Virginia. When the ship reaches Norfolk, Chris, who is about to be married, grants Abby her freedom. After learning that an edict has forbidden the sale of guns, Garth buys every indentured servant on the ship, including Abby, who thinks Chris has double-crossed her. Meanwhile, Chris's fiancée Diana leaves him for his brother. In Peakestown, colonial leaders who are planning to seize Pittsburgh from the Indians meet with Chris and Garth. Garth, who is a blood brother to Guyasuta, the chief of the Senecas, and has married Guyasuta's daughter Hannah in order to trade the Indians guns for furs, claims the Indians gave him the land deeds to Pittsburgh. Under Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, Indians from the Ottawa, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee and other tribes, meanwhile, have been circulating a war belt to enlist the tribes to fight the colonists and drive them to the sea. Chris's friend, John Fraser, found the belt on a dead Indian and gave it to him. Since the colonialists have no army, Chris offers to carry peace belts to the Indians. Chris's two scouts are quickly killed by Indians sent by Garth to steal the peace belts. Chris arrives at Fort Pitt, where Abby is a barmaid in Garth's saloon, and she helps him retrieve the belts. Armed with two pistols, Chris makes his escape with Abby to John's blacksmith shop. At a ball at Fort Pitt in honor of King George III's birthday, Garth exposes Abby to Captain Simeon Ecuyer, who was at her trial, and Chris lays claim to her in order to force Garth into a duel. Ecuyer determines Garth to be Abby's legal owner and, unaware that Garth is a traitor, forbids Chris from pursuing him and Abby. When Indian envoys alert Garth that the war has started and that they need weapons, he places Abby in the care of the Indians and goes to Guyasuta's camp, where plans are being made to burn the forts after the settlers are convinced to surrender. Meanwhile, at Fort Pitt, a widowed settler enters the ball carrying her wounded daughter and reports an Indian massacre. Ecuyer orders Chris to clear the town of people and burn it down, but he instructs John to carry out the order so that he can save Abby. Garth leaves Guyasuta's camp for Fort Pitt, forsaking Abby, who is tortured and burned by the Senecas. In a cloud of smoke, Chris arrives and convinces Guyasuta and Sioto, his medicine man, that his compass is the "medicine of death." He and Abby escape, but are pursued in canoes. By going over a mammoth waterfall, Abby and Chris convince the Senecas that they are dead, and they escape on foot to the outskirts of Venango to a cabin belonging to a family that has been killed. In Venango, all the settlers have been massacred except an old man, who warns Chris and Abby not to be tricked by the Indians into surrender. Meanwhile, Garth advises Ecuyer and Captain Steele, the officer in command, to raise a white flag at Fort Pitt, and relates Guyasuta's promise that all will be set free. Chris warns the settlers not to surrender, but is court-martialed for defying Ecuyer's earlier orders and sentenced to death. Abby agrees to stay with Garth of her own volition if he will free Chris, and Hannah, who had earlier arranged for Abby to be kidnapped by the Indians because she was jealous of Garth's interest in her, sacrifices herself by crossing the moat disguised as Chris and taking gunfire meant for him. Chris arrives at the fort at Bushy Run, held by Colonel Henry Bouquet and his 42nd Infantry, hoping his garrison will rescue Fort Pitt, but a quarter of Bouquet's men have been massacred. As the Indians begin their assault on Fort Pitt, Chris gathers a handful of the 42nd's surviving infantrymen and wagons full of dead soldiers and marches on Fort Pitt. The Indians, believing the garrison is alive, retreat. Chris kills Garth before he can escape with Abby, and is pardoned by Ecuyer. Ecuyer then marries Abby and Chris and orders Chris to go west with the frontier. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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