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Distant Drums (1951)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 29 December 1951 (USA)
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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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Richard Webb ...
Lt. Richard Tufts
...
Pvt. Mohair
...
Monk
...
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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>

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Against unseen jungle terrors and untamed savage tribes ... and pounding war-drums that echoed his challenge !


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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

29 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Teufelsbrigade  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

WILHELM SCREAM: This film contains the first known instance of "The Wilhelm Scream" (a sound effect of a man screaming, since used in over 149 other movies). During a scene in which the soldiers are wading through a swamp in the everglades, one of them is bitten and dragged underwater by an alligator. The scream for that character was recorded later. Six short pained screams were recorded in a single take, which was slated "man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams." The fifth scream was used for the soldier - but the 4th, 5th, and 6th screams recorded in the session were also used earlier in the film when three Indians are shot, one after another, during a raid on a fort. Although the "signature" or "classic" screams, takes 4 through 6 on the original recording, are the most recognizable, all of the screams are referred to as "Wilhelm" by those in the sound community. Ben Burtt, sound effects designer on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), named it "Wilhelm" after the character that let out the scream in The Charge at Feather River (1953). He discovered a file at Warner Bros. for this movie, which contained paperwork that was left over from the picture editor when the film was completed. One of the papers was a short list of names of actors who were scheduled to come in to perform various lines of dialogue for miscellaneous roles in the movie. After reviewing the names and even listening to their voices, one person seemed to be the most likely suspect: Sheb Wooley. Sheb played the uncredited role of Private Jessup in "Distant Drums", and was one of the few actors assembled for the recording of additional vocal elements for the film. It is very likely he was asked on the spot to perform other things for the film, including the screams for a man being bitten by an alligator. See more »

Goofs

When the famous "Wilhelm scream" is used for the part that a man is attacked by an alligator and drawn under water the scream can still be heard while already being under water. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Quincy Wyatt: An interesting thing about the way the Seminoles bury their warriors. The sit 'em up and put war paint on 'em, set a bowl of fresh food alongside of 'em and then stick their favorite weapon in their hands and then they cover 'em up. With a great chief like that over yonder, they throw in the first newborn child to be born after he died.
Lt. Richard Tufts: Why do they do a thing like that for?
Capt. Quincy Wyatt: Well, they believe when a man dies, his spirit leaves the body and enters that of the first newborn. And in regarding a ...
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits are followed immediately by Lt. Richard Tufts (Richard Webb) writing in his LOG "I, Lieutenant Richard Tufts, United States Navy, do make this account of my perilous journey in the Territory of Florida in the year 1840." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mist (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Those Seminole Wars
29 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

United States Pictures which released Distant Drums through Warner Brothers was I think Gary Cooper's own production company. Looking at The Films of Gary Cooper book, I noticed about three others with same credits in the Fifties of which Distant Drums was the first.

The film was shot on actual location in the Everglades, I think Gary Cooper must have gotten some taste of what Bogey and Hepburn were enduring doing The African Queen. Too bad the story didn't rate the same as The African Queen.

Cooper is an American Army captain on duty with the army of General Zachary Taylor, played by Robert Barrat, who lives on his own island and doesn't dress in any army uniform. Zach Taylor had a reputation for informality, but that was carrying it a bit too far. The only other guy who had his own private island during war was Lt. Commander Quentin McHale and his PT Boat crew.

Anyway Barrat gives Cooper a mission and a Navy lieutenant played by Richard Webb to carry it out. To attack an old Spanish fort and go by boat across Lake Okechoobee. An early type of amphibious warfare. The attack goes off as planned and some civilian prisoners are rescued from the renegades using the fort. But the Seminoles are in hot pursuit of Cooper and the whole bunch through most of the film.

I can't believe by the way that a director like Raoul Walsh had the army and the Seminoles fighting with repeating rifles and six shooter revolving pistols. Stuff wasn't invented yet.

For the early years of the republic, Florida under Spanish rule and loose rule at that, was a thorn in our side. Pirates like the ones you see here used it as a haven for raiding purposes. But it was also a refuge for runaway slaves. Our southern states wanted Florida acquired to put an end to that. The indigenous tribes to Florida, the Seminoles did offer refuge for runaway slaves. So a war there was inevitable, especially when southern presidents like Andrew Jackson were in the White House.

Maybe one day someone will do a proper film on the early history of Florida, but this ain't it.


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