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A Thunder of Drums (1961)

Approved | | Western | 14 November 1961 (Japan)
The trials and tribulations of bitter veteran Captain Maddocks and argumentative rookie Lieutenant McQuade at a cavalry desert outpost.

Director:

Joseph M. Newman (as Joseph Newman)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Boone ... Capt. Stephen Maddocks
George Hamilton ... Lt. Curtis McQuade
Luana Patten ... Tracey Hamilton
Arthur O'Connell ... Sgt. Karl Rodermill
Charles Bronson ... Trooper Hanna
Richard Chamberlain ... Lt. Porter
James Douglas James Douglas ... Lt. Thomas Gresham
Tammy Marihugh ... Laurie Detweiler
Carole Wells ... Camden Yates
Duane Eddy ... Trooper Eddy
Slim Pickens ... Trooper Erschick
Clem Harvey ... Trooper Denton
Casey Tibbs Casey Tibbs ... Trooper Baker
Irene Tedrow ... Mrs. Scarborough
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Yates
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Storyline

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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A regiment of forgotten men... a woman no man could forget!

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1961 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Tonnerre apache See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There actually was a Fort Canby. First laid out in 1852, actual construction didn't begin until 1863 at Cape Disappointment, WA. It was occupied by Union troops in 1864. It became a combination lighthouse and coastal battery. While it was heavily fortified, it never fired a shot in anger. It was deactivated after World War II in 1947. It was named after Gen. Edward R.S. Canby, whose military career was spent in the west, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and California. During the Civil War he won a major battle in New Mexico that led to his promotion from colonel to general. He was murdered along with a minister at peace conference by a Modoc Indian, who attacked him without warning while they talked. The general was shot twice in the head and his throat was cut. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Lt. Curtis McQuade: You saw that trail we crossed a couple hours back, sir?
Captain Stephen Maddocks: Eighteen ponies, Mister, headed north crossed our line of march about 10 o'clock this morning
Lt. Curtis McQuade: I made it, ah, twenty to twenty-five, sir, crossed about dawn. I was undoubtedly wrong, sir.
Captain Stephen Maddocks: You were, sir.
Lt. Curtis McQuade: There were oats on that trail, sir.
Captain Stephen Maddocks: Well, that's quite right, Mr. McQuade. You're picking up.
Lt. Curtis McQuade: It was a Comanche trail, sir.
Captain Stephen Maddocks: Well, now.
Lt. Curtis McQuade: Comanche marks, sir.
[pulls Indian totem from inside coat hands it to CPT Maddocks]
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An inexperienced young calvary officer learns about fighting Indians in the Southwest from his veteran commanding officer.
18 May 2014 | by snicewangerSee all my reviews

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 that 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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