6.5/10
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17 user 9 critic

Drum Beat (1954)

In 1872, Indian fighter Johnny MacKay is appointed peace commissioner for the California and Oregon territory but he faces tough opposition from the renegade Modocs led by their brutal chief Captain Jack.

Director:

Delmer Daves

Writers:

Delmer Daves (screenplay), Delmer Daves (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Ladd ... Johnny MacKay
Audrey Dalton ... Nancy Meek
Marisa Pavan ... Toby
Robert Keith ... Bill Satterwhite
Rodolfo Acosta ... Scarface Charlie
Charles Bronson ... Kintpuash, aka Captain Jack
Warner Anderson ... Gen. Canby
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Blaine Crackel
Anthony Caruso ... Manok
Richard Gaines ... Dr. Thomas
Hayden Rorke ... President Ulysses S. Grant
Frank DeKova ... Modoc Jim
Perry Lopez ... Bogus Charlie
Isabel Jewell ... Lily White
Peggy Converse Peggy Converse ... Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant
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Storyline

President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle. After Modoc renegade Captain Jack engages in ambush and other atrocities, MacKay must fight him one-on-one with guns, knives and fists. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They called him a Wanderer because a horse was his home...they called him "Injun Lover" but never to his face...but they called on him when everyone else had run away ! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1955 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Delmer Daves' Drum Beat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000, 31 December 1954
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jaguar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

General Edward Canby, whose death is depicted in this movie, was in reality the only U.S. army general killed during the American Indian Wars. "General" G. A. Custer, killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, was not in fact a general at the time of his death. After the Civil War, he held the permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel. See more »

Goofs

When Captain Jack meets with the peace commission and asked by Johnny MacKay what it would take to make peace, he responds "all of the Lost River to the Klamath. River" See more »

Quotes

Johnny MacKay: You think they're bluffin'?
Manok: We find out if they start shootin'.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema: Alguns Cortes - Censura II (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Drum Beat
Music by Victor Young
Lyrics by Ned Washington
See more »

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User Reviews

A Bronson Breakthrough
6 December 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Catch the two great bookend sequences. They may be the most memorable part of this nicely produced Western purportedly based on fact. That opening sequence with McKay (Ladd) walking in unchallenged to meet President Grant is based on the historical fact that presidents have only been removed from the public in later times. Citizens back then could essentially walk in and talk to the president without a dozen pre-screens.

Also, for this Bronson fan, that jail cell ending may well be the high point of his acting career. He shows more unforced good humor and naturalness there than any scene I've seen him in. In fact, he easily steals the movie from the rest of the cast, positioning himself as a real Hollywood comer.

This is an A-production from Warner Bros. For example, scope out the well stocked cavalry troop. No corner-cutting there. Then too, lavish use is made of Sedona's familiar red rock locations adding real scenic value. Also, there's a much larger than usual supporting cast of familiar faces, even down to bit parts. Producers Daves and Ladd (uncredited) do a bang-up job assembling the many components.

Surprisingly, for plot developments, the Indians actually get to win a battle and rejoice on- screen. However, the film's impact is damaged by being over-long, probably to accommodate a romantic interest to broaden audience appeal. Then too, Ladd, the actor, appears not nearly as interested in the film as Ladd, the co-producer. Frankly, he looks glum throughout the nearly two-hour running time, and I don't think it's from under-playing the part. Plus having him over-power the muscular, extremely fit looking Bronson is quite a stretch.

Despite these several drawbacks, it's still a good scenic, action flick, the first of director Daves' series of superior Westerns.


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