'The Grub Stake' to be shown at museum
February 2, 2013
Boundary County Historical Society is sponsoring
the showing of Nell Shipman's 1922 silent film,
"The Grub Stake," one of several she filmed in
Priest River in that era, at the Boundary County
Museum on Saturday, February 23.
Born in October, 1892, in Victoria, British
Columbia, Shipman was an early Canadian pioneer
in Hollywood. She's also the first actress to
perform a nude scene in movie history when she
starred in the most successful silent film in
Canadian history, "Back to God's Country,"
filmed in 1919.
Known for portraying strong, adventurous women,
she lived her life as one, as well. in addition
to acting, she was an author, screenwriter,
producer director and animal trainer.
After she and her producer husband, Ernest
Shipman, divorced in 1920, she returned to
Hollywood to form Nell Shipman Productions, but
it only produced four films.
She was living in Spokane when she began
production on "The Grub Stake" at Lionhead Lodge
in Priest Lake, but the film was never
distributed because the American distributor
went bankrupt. Nell made several short films in
the Priest Lake area to try to save her company,
but was unsuccessful.
In "The Grub Stake," Nell plays a young woman
who is lured to the Yukon by a gambler with
promises of marriage and a grubstake for a gold
mine. She takes her ailing father with her, only
to discover when she gets there that the gambler
was lying to her and actually planned to see her
to a dance hall. She gathers her father and an
old miner she has met, takes a dogsled and
supplies from the gambler and the three of them
head for the wilderness to look for a lost gold
claim the old miner has been looking for.
She lived to the age of 77, passing away in
Cabazon, California, in 1970, though her life
had nearly been cut short in 1918 when she
contracted the Spanish flu during a pandemic
that claimed the lives of 50- to 60-million
"The Grub Stake," newly restored and tinted and
with a new score by the Bijou Orchestra, will be
shown in the museum's Portrait Hall at 7 p.m.,
Saturday, February 23, and of course they'll
have popcorn! Recommended donation is $10, and a
family rate is available.
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