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Apache Drums (1951)

 -  Western  -  April 1951 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 330 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 7 critic

A gambler is thrown out of a western town, but returns when the town is suddenly threatened by a band of marauding Apaches.

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(screenplay), (from "Stand at Spanish Boot")
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Title: Apache Drums (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stephen McNally ...
Sam Leeds
...
Sally
Willard Parker ...
Mayor Joe Madden
Arthur Shields ...
Rev. Griffin
...
Lt. Glidden
Armando Silvestre ...
Pedro-Peter
Georgia Backus ...
Mrs. Keon
...
Jehu
Ruthelma Stevens ...
Betty Careless
...
Bert Keon
Chinto Guzman ...
Chacho
Ray Bennett ...
Mr. Keon
Edit

Storyline

A gambler is thrown out of a western town, but returns when the town is suddenly threatened by a band of marauding Apaches.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trommeln des Todes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Apache" Indians are actually lifeguards from the beach at Santa Monica, California, painted with full body paint and made up to look like Apaches. Director Hugo Fregonese and producer Val Lewton wanted the Apaches to do a lot of leaping from high windows, off of roofs, etc., and the film's budget precluded hiring stuntmen to play the Apaches. They decided to hire the lifeguards because of their athleticism and, more importantly, the fact that they didn't have to get stuntmen's pay. See more »

Goofs

The Apache are shown beating the drums with their hands, whereas they and all Native Americans used sticks or drum beaters. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Griffin: Sam Leeds and I have fought together - we saw death ride up to us. I feel I know this man - there's good in him - the kind of good that will help the town you love so much, Joe Madden.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Western to Stand Beside Lewton's Horror Classics
16 September 2007 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Like Lewton's horror films, one doesn't notice the low budget (the lowest ever for a color film at that time, per Lewton) because of the excellent character development and the plot tensions. And like his horror films, it's what you CAN'T see that's so terrifying. The final scene is in an adobe church with high, open windows. Outside one can hear the Apache drums and chants, the light from the burning town flickers on the walls, and one is forced to imagine the scene outside, as do the small band of settlers claustrophobically huddled inside. Indians appear at the windows from time to time like fun-house pop-ups. It's a nightmare situation mined for all its possibilities. Other scenes have a similar effect. A man without a gun comes on a just-massacred traveling party; suddenly, danger seems to exist all around him. Later, the hero is traveling with a party of armed men; suddenly he finds himself alone on foot on a flat plain with nowhere to take cover and a band of Apaches riding toward him at full gallop. And the opening scene: a gunfight occurs off-screen, shattering the peaceful scene of a kitten being served milk (an example of what Lewton called a "bus" scene after the sudden appearance of the bus in THE CAT PEOPLE). Though these situations may not be unique to this film, they are obviously the sort that appealed to Lewton, and are handled very effectively. But the core of the film is the characters: the protagonist, a card sharp who plays the angles (his nickname is "Slick") and is fast with a gun, a wise-ass who isn't all bad; the virtuous sheriff who isn't all good; the preacher, an old man with a lot of gumption, not a bad judge of character, but a reactionary Irish Catholic priest with a strong racial prejudice. Other typically interesting Lewton characters are the madam who's happy enough to leave town if someone will buy her out at a good price, the cavalry officer who understands the Indians, and particularly the stoic Indian scout, faithful to the settlers to the end. The very fact that these characters don't move to extremes in extreme situations, that they have both good and less positive traits, is what gives this film its grab. It's a film that doesn't force the viewer to follow its path, and doesn't automatically go to the dramatic limit suggested by the situation... That's why Lewton's films are great!


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