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Distant Drums (1951)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 978 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 9 critic

After destroying a Seminole fort, American soldiers and their rescued companions must face the dangerous Everglades and hostile Indians in order to reach safety

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Title: Distant Drums (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mari Aldon ...
Judy Beckett
Richard Webb ...
Lt. Richard Tufts
...
Pvt. Mohair
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Monk
Robert Barrat ...
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Storyline

Navy Lieutenant Tufts accompanies scout Quincy Wyatt into the Everglades to rout the Seminole Indians who are threatening the early settlers in Florida. When the command is forced to run, Wyatt and Seminole Chief Oscala square off in an exciting climax. Written by Buxx Banner <buxx572@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Teufelsbrigade  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Except for Larry Chance, the actors "playing" Seminole Indian warriors were in fact actual Seminoles. See more »

Goofs

The uniforms, besides being anachronistic, don't stay the same throughout the movie. At the beginning, Captain Wyatt wears trousers with Infantry white stripes on them. The "sergeant" (actually Sergeant Major chevrons) and corporal's chevrons are Cavalry yellow. The Captain appears wearing trousers with Cavalry yellow stripes and, shortly afterwards, Artillery red ones. The sergeant and the corporal also appear briefly wearing Artillery red chevrons. See more »

Quotes

Monk: These injuns smell a little gamey, Captain. They rub skunk oil on themselves to keep off bugs and flies.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in High Heels (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mundane plotting off set by zippy action and smart location work.
3 September 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Distant Drums is directed by Raoul Walsh and stars Gary Cooper, Richard Webb, Mari Aldon & Arthur Hunnicutt. Known as a "Florida Western," the film is set during the Seminole Wars in the 1840s. It's written by Niven Busch and Martin Rackin, photographed predominantly on location in the Florida Everglades (in Technicolor) by Sidney Hickox and Max Steiner scores the music. Plot sees Cooper playing an Army captain who after destroying a fort held by the Seminole Indians retreats with his party into the Everglades where many of natures dangers lurk as the Seminole pursue them.

Not one for fans of Cooper, Walsh or Busch to get excited about. The story is as conventional as it gets, complete with a romantic angle, and the dialogue is boorish and lacking imagination. Were it not for the excellently constructed action sequences (check out the under water scenes) and the lush location photography, then this one would be consigned to the "please steer away from" pile. Busch is the main culprit since his writing is confused as to what it wants to achieve. The Seminole Indians are painted as savages, thus giving a one sided feel to a War not often seen in movies, yet other Native Americans are handled more sympathetically via the portrayal from Cooper. All in all we learn nothing about the War and the people involved as the film winds up as a jungle like adventure built around a number of set pieces.

Cooper is rugged and watchable as an Alligator Dundee type and Hunnicutt as always leaves a favourable impression as the scout. Mari Aldon is pretty but pretty one dimensional, while Richard Webb just seems out of place in the perilous locale and therefore unconvincing. But as previously mentioned, nobody here is helped by the tepid script. It's believed that this movie features the earliest known use of the Wilhelm Scream sound effect, a technique used to vocalise a character being torn to shreds by an alligator. A standard film it is then, one that really should have been a fine entry into a sadly untapped in to topic. It's like getting a beautifully wrapped birthday present that when opened reveals nothing but strips of mouldy old newspaper. 5/10


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