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'Drum' is the kinda sorta sequel to 'Mandingo', a movie that tried to walk a fine line between being a "serious" drama and a silly but fun exploitation movie. The director this time around is Steve Carver who made the trash classics 'Big Bad Mama' and 'The Arena', and he doesn't even attempt to disguise the Drive-In feel of this one. Ken Norton once again stars but plays a different character than in 'Mandingo'. Warren Oates plays Hammond Maxwell who Perry King played in the first movie. The idea that they are the same man is totally ridiculous and unbelievable, but once you can get over that hurdle you are in for a good time. Oates is outrageously amusing but without resorting to the hamminess that James Mason brought to 'Mandingo'. He is simply a joy to watch, as an uncouth but charming slave owner, and is the number one reason to hunt down this movie. Oates terrific performance more than makes up for Norton's dull turn. Also very good is Yaphet Kotto ('Blue Collar') as Drum's friend turned enemy Blaise, also one of Oates' slaves. Kotto is excellent (as usual) and it's a pity he wasn't the star instead of Norton. Fiona King ('The Fury') plays Oates' wife to be and is entertaining, as is Rainbeaux Smith ('Caged Heat') as Oates slutty daughter (a similar role to Susan George's in 'Mandingo' but much more enjoyable). Also noteworthy is John Colicos ('The Postman Always Rings Twice') as a very evil and camp slave owner who vows to kill Drum who spurns his salacious advances. The impressive cast also includes blaxploitation legend Pam Grier ('Black Mama, White Mama') who sadly doesn't have all that much screen time, and Oates 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia' co-star Isela Vega, who doesn't have much more. 'Drum' is pure exploitative trash and proud of it. If you take it in that spirit and not as a serious study of racism in 19th century America you'll enjoy it immensely. Especially when watching Warren Oates in one of his most enjoyable and underrated performances. This movie is essential viewing for all Oates fans.
For those who don't know: MANDINGO and DRUM are both adaptations of books
from the Falconhurst plantation series of novels by Kyle Onstott and, later,
Lance Horner. There were several books in the series; thus far I've run
across about five or six of them!
DISCLAIMER: let me state right now that I am black and can totally understand how people are easily offended by these films. The thing is these films feature such sheer, unadulterated exploitation and overripe acting/dialogue that hardcore bad movie addicts will have a hard time NOT finding these films majorly entertaining! I flat-out admit that both MANDINGO and DRUM are among my favorite guilty pleasures, and I view them both as what would happen if John Waters could have gotten away with making a really sleazy soap opera set on a plantation. Some of the dialogue is so ridiculous that it's nearly impossible for me to take these films seriously at all, although the rape and torture does bring one back to the wretchedness of the situation.
Anyway, I don't know where those of you who claim that DRUM is not a sequel to MANDINGO got that idea. Warren Oates is playing the same character that Perry King did in the first film, only this story takes place about fifteen years later. He even makes veilled references to what happened at the end of MANDINGO, specifically the fates of Ken Norton and Susan George. In other words, PAY ATTENTION! And if you think this is exploitativve, go back and watch the uncut version of ROOTS again. Sure it's more "legit" than MANDINGO and DRUM, but it is every bit the exploitative soap opera that they are. For the real flavor and excellence of ROOTS, read the book.
I got a copy of it from one of those "avant garde" type video shops that
pride themselves in having the hard to find stuff.
You can see this movie without having seen the pre-quel,"Mandingo" and not lose much understanding, since they make almost no references to what happened in the first movie. In fact, the plantation owner's white daughter was not in the first movie, so it really doesn't follow at all (she was in the novel "Mandingo"). Those who thought Mandingo was trashy will really be howling when they see this one....Warren Oates and the woman playing his daughter play for laughs in the middle part of the movie...(that actress went on to make X-rated movies and then dropped out of acting altogether by the mid 80s). John Colicos plays an evil homosexual....I like the overdone white trash talk though (" OH PAW! You ain't gonna marry that uppity bitch!) Great camp. Ken Norton acts like a mannequin most of the movie.....(" He might kill Blaize...or even worse, castrate him" - said with a totally expressionless face). And the dinner conversation is hilarious. ("Son I gonna give you Regine. How long you figger it take you to knock her up?). (" Miss Augusta, you jes got to get used to the fack that Falconhurst is all about n****r fornicatin'. If'n my n****rs stop fornicatin', we stops eatin'.)
Regine: You likes big titties, don't you Mistah Maxwell?
Hammond: Oh you knows I likes big titties.
Regine: Well Miss Augusta, she got BIIG titties.
And I repeat - this is supposed to be a serious movie.
The movie is in that "so bad it's good" category. Check it out, if you have a hankerin' for that genre.
After reading all the reviews about this film, I was expecting either a sleaze-fest or a camp-fest (or both), but I was pleasantly (?) surprised. Although there are undeniably exploitational elements here (incest, castrations, torture), the director doesn't really linger over them. Nobody would mistake this for a thoughtful study on the mistreatment of black slaves in early 19th-century America, but it's a surprisingly well-made film, and the recreation of the period is just fine. The major weakness of "Drum" is that the male lead, Ken Norton, simply can't act; thankfully, Warren Oates and Yaphet Kotto certainly can. Pam Grier is wasted, however, and Colicos is positively ludicrous as a gay slave-trader. (**1/2)
"Mandingo" was a brutal film, with quite a few over-the-top scenes that
would have you laughing today (not "at" it really, but laughs of "I
can't believe they said that"), just for the fact that they are so
blatantly non-PC and would never fly in today's political climate.
"Drum," the sequel to "Mandingo," not only is much more prone to such
laughter, but the actors even seem, sometimes, to be in on the goof.
"Drum" is a serious film though - brutal at times, like its predecessor - but with so much of this dialog, it is absolutely amazing the actors say all this stuff with straight faces. It is here where Warren Oates, as Hammond Maxwell (previously played by Perry King), really shines as an actor. He plays his role simply perfect - a lesser actor would have had no choice but to play the role into the realm of total farce. But somehow, amazingly, Oates finds that incredibly fine line where he is definitely part of the fun of the picture, but he still plays it straight, and not as a goof. This is no doubt one of his best roles.
In one of the film's best scenes, Oates as Hammond is outside eating with his bride-to-be, and the dialog exchange between the two just simply has to be seen, and heard, to be believed. This may even be the "funniest" scene in the film, but there is Oates, playing it just perfect.
Ken Norton, who played Mede in Mandingo, plays his son Drum here, and he still cannot act, but he's fun to watch try. Yaphet Kotto is great no matter what he does, and all the other familiar faces, especially Pam Grier, add to the festivities. Hammond gets a little profound at the very end, an ending that pulls no punches.
"Drum" is definitely a film to be seen, it's just up to you how you want to view it.
Overall this is a fair film. Maybe not fair to history or the actors. Ken Norton asking Yaphet Kotto if he had let Sophie touch his snake was very amusing. The use of N word has to be at least a hundred times. I found the film to be in bad taste and not for any purpose other than to exploit. At the end Warren Oates makes a statement that sums up the whole film. He says that slaves are unpredictable sometimes, just like some kind of mad critter. ** out of *****
I'd heard that Mandingo was this hilarious campfest, but when I finally saw it, I found it much too unpleasant to be funny, unintentionally or otherwise. Sure, it was exploitive, like S&M porn, but it lingered on torture, humiliation, and brutality far too often. I just bought a copy of Drum on eBay and I'm happy to report it delivers everything in the way of cheap thrills and laughs that Mandingo didn't. It has a much more interesting plot, more over the top acting and dialogue, much more nudity, and (mercifully) less sadism. All the actors seem to be in on the joke. Pam Grier's part is very small, but just her eye rolling is worth the price of admission. And Rainbeaux Smith nearly walks off with the movie as the plantation owner's slutty daughter. Her performance is everything Susan George's (in Mandingo)should have been. It's also interesting that even though this is an exploitation film about slaver, almost all the nudity is from white women.
Drum, in my opinion, was much more enjoyable than Mandingo. It's more an
action film than a drama. Ken Norton gets to say more dialogue, even though
he's still no actor. The big plus for Drum is that it's not as long as
Mandingo. The cast delivers very bizarre performances, including John
Colicos as Drum's evil gay ex-boss, and Warren Oates does well as Hammond
Maxwell, although he doesn't have the same wickedness that Perry King
portrayed him with in the first film.
The final showdown, with the battle between black slaves and rich white people, plus the burning mansion, goes to show that there were some slaves in those days who were mad as hell and weren't gonna take it anymore!
Ha ha ha ha .....this movie was out there. Okay i'm a 31 year black male and a movie buff.I like movies good and bad, but a really love campy movies. Drum is now my favorite movie on all time!!!! The acting was terrible, the direction was worst,but i loved it!!! The plantation owner and his slutty daughter were the most outrageous characters in the entire movie...i love slavery movies or any movie set in the antibellum south..i saw mandingo and loved it!!!...i didn't even know drum existed until i saw it on late night cable tv. It was explicit,funny and probaly insulted half the viewing population! It was WILD and most of all POLITICALLY INCORRECT..WHICH IS WHAT FILMMAKING SHOULD BE!!!!!Most black people who watch this movie will probally laugh there ass off, I did! Those people who were offended, cool out. Its just really a fun movie.
This was the so-called sequel to "Mandingo" and its not really a sequel but another excuse for exploitation which can be fun to watch. Ken Norton is "Drum" and he can't act to save his life but his physique is so impressive and also the fact that he was a famous boxer that had beaten Muhammad Ali gives the viewer some curiosity to watch him. Warren Oates plays Hammond Maxwell and Perry King played him in the first film and its impossible for him to play it but thats only if you use logic. Oates does add some respectable acting to the film and he chews up the scenery with gusto. Oates says lines like, "My bucks got to have intercourse, the saps a risen'". Pam Grier is Regina and she's Oates bed wench. Grier has a topless scene but has very little else to do in this film. Her part is very underwritten. Yaphet Kotto is Blaise and he gives probably the best performance. I'm not sure if Kotto did this film for the money but if he didn't, he should have known better. He does his best to portray an angry slave who talks of freedom in his heart. "B" movie icon Rainbeaux Smith plays Oates daughter Sophie and she has the hots for the bucks and if they don't cooperate then she screams rape. Smith is enjoyably bratty in this role and its the type of role she spent most of her career playing. She always brought that something extra to a role. Film is shameless in its subject matter. It has gays, lesbianism, naked prostitutes, spankings, fights, slave upheaval, and of course all the actress's get undressed. "Drum" was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and its another cheesy production from him. What can you expect from a man who dared to remake "King Kong"? If you loved this on an exploitation level, I couldn't argue with you. Its hilariously bad.
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