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In Revolutionary America, Gil Martin takes his new wife Lana back to his farm in upstate New York. The area is remote and a distance from the fort but they are happy living in their one room cabin. With the declaration independence, the settlers soon find themselves at war with the British and their Indian allies. Their farm is burned out and the Martins take work with Sarah McKlennar. The war continues however as the Martins try to make a new life. Written by
1939 was a banner year for great films--and certainly one of them was "Drums Along the Mohawk" in gorgeous early technicolor about a period in history not often used as the subject of a major film. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert are fine as a young couple in the years before the Revolutionary War settling in the backwoods of New York state. The hardships of pioneer life are made even tougher by the presence of Indians on the warpath, the only refuge being a nearby fort where men, women and children find some protection.
Brilliantly photographed with lots of action scenes that bring the film vividly to life under John Ford's direction. John Carradine makes an excellent villain and Edna May Oliver gives another one of her priceless performances as an elderly widow who forms a strong attachment to the young couple. An unforgettable scene has Indians raiding her home while she refuses to budge from her bed even though they set fire to it. Scenes of Indian cruelty and torture are also present--but altogether a moving film well worth viewing to see what frontier life must have been like way back then.
Sentimental at times--but also harsh and realistic. Most memorable scene: Fonda pursued by Indians for a long chase over woodlands, finally wearing out his pursuers who collapse from sheer exhaustion. Thrilling chase!
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