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William Cameron Menzies
Escaping a Nazi prison train in war-torn Italy, an American and a British soldier set out for the Swiss border and find themselves leading a multi-national party of refugees for the Italian underground.
Best friends Clay Clayburn and Will Denning graduate from West Point only to soon find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War. When the two men meet each other in combat, neither knows it as each is in an artillery position hundreds of yards from the other. However, the love of Clay's life, Kathy Summers, does know and tries desperately to save her two good friends from killing each other. Written by
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
The detail consists of 20 men. This is inadequate to man four artillery pieces. A minimum of 40 to 50 men would be required for that number of guns. See more »
William Cameron Menzies is perhaps the best production designer in American motion picture history (Gone With the Wind, et alia) and his work as director applies the design principles which he espoused, such as with this film, including a prime emphasis upon cinema as a graphic art, a visual rather than literal interpretation of a script, filling that metaphysical space between scenario and direction with an artist's point of view, while avoiding a potentially incorrect objective sensibility. The narrative tells of a pair of best friends and West Point classmates, Georgian Clay Clayburn (James Craig) and Yankee Will Denning (Guy Madison) who are wearing officers' coats of opposing artillery units during the War Between The States, and of the inevitable military engagement between them, featuring a most dramatic segment involving the difficult placement of Confederate cannons atop a mountain overlooking Union rail supply lines, shot with Menzies' intriguing pictorial effects and unique camera angles. An independent King Brothers production under the aegis of RKO, DRUMS IN THE DEEP SOUTH is not replete with good performances, although Craig is solid as is his custom, while Barbara Payton, as Clayburn's lover, tries hard and is at the pinnacle of her short-lived beauty, with Dimitri Tiomkin's lush score properly evocative for this generally prescriptive film.
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