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Drum Beat (1954)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Western | 6 April 1955 (Japan)
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 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 peace 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's group engages in ambush and other atrocities, MacKay eventually ends up tracking Captain Jack down and fighting him one-on-one to apprehend him. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only the fierce Modocs knew the terrible meaning of each beat of the Drum ! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 1955 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Delmer Daves' Drum Beat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)
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

Actor Charles Buchinsky (his birth name) changed his name to Charles Bronson, using his new moniker for the first time in this film, and remained so for the rest of his acting career. See more »

Goofs

This movie was based on the 1869 Modoc Indian uprising in northern California, yet they show 44-40 lever action Winchester rifles, which were not introduced until 1873. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Thomas: Don't you feel like a murderer?
Johnny MacKay: No, sir.
Dr. Thomas: Shouldn't you?
Johnny MacKay: I've never shot anyone without cause. My job is to protect the wagon train. When somebody shoots at my people, I shoot back.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Good Life (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Handsomely produced western in gorgeous WideScreen color...
9 January 2012 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

While the plot of DRUM BEAT is based on a true incident during frontier days on the plains, nothing about the film suggests that it's any more than a standard Cavalry vs. Indians western seen hundreds of times since the movies were born.

However, credit director Delmer Daves for finding some gorgeous locations for his story and casting Charles Bronson and Anthony Caruso as Indians who look marvelously authentic in their make-up. Not so fortunate are Marisa Pavan and Audrey Dalton in the weak female roles that could have been played by any young ingénue on the Warner lot.

Alan Ladd is the Indian expert hired by President Grant to make peaceful overtures to the Modocs, headed by Bronson. Elisha Cook, Jr. is interesting as a corrupt Indian trader and most of the supporting roles get good results, especially in the action scenes, all of which are well-staged by director Daves. Especially good is a climactic fight between Ladd and Bronson as they tumble down a rushing stream and fall over the rocky terrain. Ladd seems to be doing most of his stunts in this action-packed scene.

But otherwise, he delivers a rather stoic performance, showing barely any expression even in his brief love scenes with Audrey Dalton. Hard to tell if he was bored or just impatient with the routine script.

All in all, worth watching for the action scenes and the handsome landscapes filmed in beautiful WideScreen Technicolor.


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