In honor of Fort Ticonderoga’s 2013 opening weekend I thought it would be a fitting tribute to share something related to the fort. Have you heard of Fort Ti aka Fort Ticonderoga: The Movie? I hadn’t heard of it until recently, and I find it thrilling that a feature film was set in the North Country (and does anyone know if it was filmed here or if it was only set designs?) even if it is 60 years old!
The terms “North Country” and “world premiere” haven’t mingled very often, but May 8, 1953 was one notable exception. It all had to do with Fort Ti, but not the one we’re all familiar with. This was Fort Ti, the movie, and it was special for several reasons.
Since the earliest days of movie-making, film crews have used dozens of locations across the region, but this particular movie had a significant impact both locally and nationally. The fact that Ticonderoga in Essex County, New York, hosted a world premiere is itself impressive. (Adirondack Almanack)
This 1953 film takes place during the French and Indian War, and although takes place on the East Coast it is classified as a Western. The film uses the fort’s historical setting and characters based on real colonial soldiers to tell a story of action and romance.
The film included many Hollywood embellishments, and dealt with a story of [the fighting unit] Rogers Rangers, [Gen. Lord] Jeffrey Amherst, and several other [historical] players, with a romance built in, and plenty of fighting action (offering ample opportunities for throwing things at the audience). George Montgomery played the leading role as Captain Jed Horn, while young Joan Vohs (a former Rockette) played his love interest, Fortune Mallory. (New York History)
Read the full synopsis of Fort Ti.
Fort Ti: An Early 3-D Film
Fort Ti was an important movie not just for the North Country, but for the film industry. In the 1950s, people were beginning to spend more time watching TV than going out to the movies. To try to circumvent this new trend the various film production companies began developing ways to lure people back to the theaters–one way was the implementation of a 3-D experience.
Fort Ti was to be Columbia’s showcase offering, and movie attendees had to wear polarized glasses to enjoy the intended effect. One lens was red and the other blue, and in general, the idea was to merge two visual impressions into one. The result? Objects looked like they were jumping out from the screen, right at the viewer. (New York History)
Fort Ti definitely fulfilled the production’s desire to engage the audience. Multiple reviews pointed out how the audience moved and dodged the many objects coming toward them from the screen. This movie had a large impact at the time, and was an important stepping stone in film history.
Some movie historians include it on their lists of the most important Western films of all time, not for the story, but for the new 3-D format and the effect it had on viewers. (Adirondack Almanack)
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