12 November 1999 | guil12
DeMille Epic of Colonial America in Technicolor.
Cecil B. DeMille,once again, takes a simple plot outline and then glorifies his attempt to tell the story. Put British soldiers, American settlers, Indians, Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard in the same film, add Technicolor,and you have fine entertainment.
Story begins with Abby Hale (Goddard) being sentenced to the noose or white slavery in America for an unjust crime. On ship towards America she meets and is won, in an impromptu slave auction, by Chris Holden (Cooper) who outbids the villain (wonderfully played by Howard DeSilva) to get even with him because of his shady dealings in selling guns to the Indians.
Holden releases Abby (he has a fiance, you see) as it wouldn't look proper with her trailing behind him as his servant. Abby, thinking she was set free goes to collect her papers only to discover DeSilva owns her (a trick he played with auctioneer).
Once in America, it is soon discovered that Abby was not given her freedom and Chris (having lost his fiance to his own brother) goes about to get her back. Along the way they run into Indians and rapids. Abby is captured by Indians, set up by DeSilva's wife,the daughter of the chief (played beautifully by DeMille's daughter, Katherine).
Of course, Chris, pursues his lady fair. This includes arriving at the Indian camp where she is at the stake being tortured, getting her released from the Indian chief (played by Boris Karlof) through a trick with a compass. Thus the chase begins which includes Chris and Abby going over a huge waterfall in an Indian canoe. Many critics called the movie "The Perils of Paulette" because of all DeMille put her through to make the picture. She rebelled several times, walking off the set, only to have DeMille refuse to use her again (this was her third picture for him). She lost out to Gloria Grahme in the role of Sugar (a name she used to call all her leading men) in DeMille's GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.
In the end, after the confrontation of Cooper and DeSilva, he wins his lady fair and all ends happily ever after.
Cooper and Goddard still have the ability to draw your attention in spite of the fact they are in their latter years. Paulette, still the red-headed beauty, does some decent acting for a DeMille film and Coop can still play the hero. Only time they appeared together prior to this film was another DeMille film years earlier, NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE. However, in that film they weren't lovers.
Look for several good character actors in this one, among them Ward Bond, Cecil Kellaway, Henry Wilcoxen and, in a cameo role, C.Aubrey Smith along with Raymond Hatton.