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Captain Maddocks will never be promoted beyond Captain because of a mistake that he made in the past. Lt. McQuade is a green rookie who is now under the command of the tough Captain and he does not seem to be able to do anything right. Lt. McQuade also has trouble with Tracey, but it will be the renegade Indians that will test him and teach him the importance of following orders. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
On the night before the final battle: around the campfire, bottom right, ribbed shoe-prints are clearly visible in the dust. They were obviously made by modern footwear with synthetic soles. See more »
An inexperienced young calvary officer learns about fighting Indians in the Southwest from his veteran commanding officer.
A young lieutenant in the United States Calvary named Curtis McQuade is assigned to an out of the way Army post on the Southwestern frontier The post is understaffed and commanded by a career captain named Maddocks whose standing orders are to keep the peace with the limited resources that he has at his disposal. McQuade is also the son of an important army general in Washington and there is a suspicion among his fellow officers that he has gotten both his rank and his posting due to his fathers connections. In addition,McQuade discovers that a former lover of his is living on the post and is engaged to the lieutenant who second in command. It turns out that McQuade's father had commanded the post when McQuade was a boy and the Top Sargent of the troupe is a veteran named Karl Rodermill who had served under McQuade's father and remembers McQuade as a boy. Even before McQuades arrive , a war party of hostile braves has been causing havoc in the district. But are they Comanche or Apache? Captain Maddocks has to try to stamp out the threat of the hostile warriors while teaching McQuade how to be a soldier and a man.McQuade learns that Captain Maddocks has a secret in his past which involves McQuades father
This is a taut,fast moving story that benefits from a tight script and sound direction. George Hamilton portrays McQuade and at this point in his career, he was still trying to develop as an actor. The movie belongs to Richard Boone, however. He is is ideally cast as Captain Stephen Maddocks and brings a gruff, world weary dignity to the role and he is the main reason to watch the film. Arthur O'Connell is very good as the crusty Sgt. Rodermill who see's his principle duty as trying to keep his men as safe as possible and has little patience with McQuades constant griping. Charles Bronson has a key role and Richard Chamberlain, Slim Pickens, and James Douglas are also in the cast. Luana Patten is unfortunately forgettable in the female lead and her portrayal lacks conviction.Singer Duane Eddy has a role but the less said about him the better.
The script attempts to convey the boredom and lack of social stimulation at the desolate army post which leads to gossip, drinking, and personality conflict which can be deadly if they affect an officers judgment in the field.There are a few too many coincidences in the plot which weaken the story.
A Thunder of Drums is a tight, well drawn out western action thriller that will hold your interest. Richard Boone's superb performance alone makes it worth a watch.
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