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Savage Drums (1951)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy | 22 June 1951 (USA)
There is this little small-island kingdom located off the South China coast and the United States offers a pact of economic aid and military assistance if needed. But there is this Asiatic ... See full summary »




On Disc

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Complete credited cast:
Tipo Tairu
Jimmy Cuso
Tex Channing (as Bob Easton)
Francis Pierlot ...
Paul Marion ...
Rata Tairu
Ray Kinney ...
John Mansfield ...
Tuana 'John' Tairu
Tabuana, older chief on council


There is this little small-island kingdom located off the South China coast and the United States offers a pact of economic aid and military assistance if needed. But there is this Asiatic Communist nation/power---not identified but the name starts with 'C'--- that does not want this treaty to be signed, for whatever reason those Commie-nations have for doing whatever it is they are doing, and they have a plan going to thwart the treaty. Then the island King-inheritor, Sabu, playing a tic-tac-toe role name, comes home. Sabu does this at a large sacrifice, as he had to give up his promising career as a world-class prizefighter in the United States. But he has little choice as his brother, the prior King, had been murdered and if there was anything kingdoms were big on, it was keeping the royal crown in the hands of one family. Sabu, after accepting accolades from the citizens, snoops around and discovers that his cousin, who has reigned for a brief period between the murder of the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

22 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trommeln der Wildnis  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Just about watchable
21 February 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I acquired this picture as the make-weight on a DVD double bill with Jungle Hell. It is actually the better picture of the two, although that is not saying much.

The movie starts in America, with Sabu as a boxer heading for a world title fight. However, the character's boxing background is of no significance and plays no part in the subsequent plot. This is symptomatic of the main problem with the picture: it takes forever to get started. It was only at the third attempt I actually got past the seemingly endless prologue and watched the movie through to the end.

However, when the movie does finally spark into life there is a surprising amount of action for what is essentially a 'no budget' B picture.

The story takes us to an island in the South China Sea where Sabu is crowned king and leads his people in their resistance against communist invaders and local traitors. A treaty with America ensures their future freedom and prosperity.

The invaders are not numerous but there are more of them than I expected. There is a fair bit of outdoor shooting, both on location and on the back lot so the picture never gets too claustrophobic. The biggest surprise was a couple a long tracking shots, including an unexpectedly elaborate track and crane in the coronation scene.

Perhaps the most revealing thing about this movie is that its director, William Berke, was banging out 8 or 10 of these movies a year for most of the Forties. Perhaps the true benchmark for these programmers would be weekly episodes of a TV series rather than other feature films.

This is far from being a good picture and there is no reason for anybody to go out of their way to see it, but at least it is a genuine movie, not a con trick, like Jungle Hell, which is frankly unendurable.

'Just about watchable' may seem like damning with faint praise, but in the context of these bottom of the barrel pictures it is almost a compliment.

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