Film Notes: 'Unconquered' to be shown at Fort Pitt exhibition opener
August 9, 2013 8:00 AM
Gary Cooper protects Paulette Goddard in Cecil B. DeMille's "Unconquered," a movie about pre-revolutionary days around Fort Pitt. Two pistols used by Cooper and owned by DeMille will be on display Saturday at the Fort Pitt Museum.
By Barbara Vancheri Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A new exhibition, "Unconquered: History Meets Hollywood at Fort Pitt," will open Saturday at the Fort Pitt Museum.
It will commemorate the 250th anniversary of Pontiac's Rebellion and explore the story behind the siege of Pittsburgh along with the Cecil B. DeMille epic, "Unconquered."
The movie will be shown at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, a crew of Colonial re-enactors will fire an 18th-century cannon at 1 p.m., and Jymm Hoffman will demonstrate Colonial blacksmithing techniques throughout the day.
The 1947 film, which cost more than $5 million ($52 million today), has been called a howler about an Indian attack on Fort Pitt. Loony, but for Pittsburghers, fun and starring Gary Cooper, Howard da Silva, Paulette Goddard, Boris Karloff and Lloyd Bridges.
The movie had its premiere in Pittsburgh with one of the largest parades in city history with covered wagons, Seneca Indians, Pennsylvania Gov. James Duff, Mayor David Lawrence and DeMille.
The exhibit will feature two dozen items related to the movie and its premiere, including two 18th-century pistols used by Cooper and owned by DeMille; Royal American Regiment uniforms worn by actors Henry Wilcoxon and Bridges; costumes donned by actors Da Silva and Alan Napier; American Indian-related props such as knives and tomahawks; publicity stills and newspaper clippings.
On loan for three weeks in August will be the original bubble machine invented by William Penn hotel engineer Ludwig Demoshek for the opening of the fictional frontier film. Lawrence Welk, who played the lobby's Terrace Room, adopted the bubble-maker as his own.
Special events are included in regular admission to the museum of $6 for adults; $5 for seniors; $3 for children ages 6 to 17, students or military members. Younger children and members of the Heinz History Center admitted for free.
The "Unconquered" exhibit will be on display through Aug. 3, 2014. The film will be shown on select weekends in the Fort Pitt Museum auditorium.
The museum, built in a re-created bastion of the British fort originally constructed in 1758, focuses on the role Western Pennsylvania played during the French & Indian War, American Revolution, Whiskey Rebellion and founding of Pittsburgh.
The makers of "Blood Brother" have signed deals to release the award-winning documentary into theaters in October and on television in early 2014.
Director Steve Hoover, producer Danny Yourd and Animal, a Pittsburgh-based production company, just closed deals for theatrical, broadcast and digital distribution in North America with Tugg Inc., ITVS for "Independent Lens," Mongrel Media and Cinedigm.
"I made 'Blood Brother' simply to tell the story of my good friend," Mr. Hoover said of onetime Pittsburgher Rocky Braat.
"When he told me he was moving to India, it didn't make sense to me, at least not right away. I was inspired to tell his story because I know him. I know he isn't a saint or a miracle worker, but every day he fights his own nature and the forces arrayed against him, and I think that maybe this story could inspire others, as well."
The movie will be released in theaters in October and will have its TV premiere on PBS's "Independent Lens," a weekly series highlighting original documentaries, in January.
The story of Mr. Braat, who jettisoned creature comforts for an orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS in India, won the grand jury and audience awards for U.S. documentaries at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
"We look forward to sharing Rocky's powerful story with everyone," Mr. Yourd said. "And we're hopeful that the film can provide the support needed for Rocky's work with the children." Proceeds will help to support the orphanage and Mr. Braat's work in Tamil Nadu.
The Pittsburgh filmmakers are in the early stages of their next project, "Gennadiy," a look at a man in Ukraine who uses unorthodox methods to rescue children from despair, drug use, homelessness and early death.
Movies and music
"Love in Hollywood: The Concert," with music made famous by Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Adele, Lana Del Ray and others, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road in Johnstown.
Singers Max Fedore and Emily Felton will be accompanied by Dan Philibin on piano, Nathan Santos on bass, Michael Bodolosky on drums and Brady Amerson on saxophone.
Call 1-814-269-7200 to order general admission tickets, $14, which are also available at the door starting at 6 p.m.