Drum Beat


1h 51m 1954
Drum Beat

Brief Synopsis

While negotiating a peace treaty with North California Indians, a presidential emissary has to fight off a renegade.

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Nov 13, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 10 Nov 1954
Production Company
Jaguar Productions, Inc.; Ladd Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Cococino National Forest, Arizona, USA; Coconino National Forest, Arizona, United States; Sedona, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1
Film Length
9,660ft

Synopsis

In 1872, Indian fighter Johnny Mackay goes to Washington to discuss with President Ulysses S. Grant the violence along the California-Oregon border caused by a renegade Modoc Indian chief, Captain Jack. Grant appoints Johnny Peace Commissioner and asks him to convince Captain Jack, whom he has known a long time, to return to the reservation. Johnny escorts Nancy Meek, the niece of a retired army colonel, back west. On the stagecoach journey between Sacramento and Oregon, they are attacked by Indians led by Modoc Jim, one of Captain Jack's men. After stage driver Bill Satterwhite's sweetheart, Lily White, is killed, Bill swears vengeance on all Modocs. When Johnny drives Nancy to her uncle's ranch, they discover that it has been raided and burned, and her aunt and uncle killed. At Fort Klamath, Toby and Manok, the daughter and son of the old Modoc chief, tell Johnny that most of the Modoc want peace but are unable to control Captain Jack. After Toby proposes that Johnny kill Captain Jack, he replies that he intends to talk peace. When Toby, who is in love with Johnny, suggests that if she becomes his wife, no Modoc will ever harm him, Johnny gently turns down her offer. At Lost River, Captain Jack's territory, Johnny reminds Captain Jack that he signed a treaty agreeing to live on the reservation. However, Captain Jack, wants to take over all of Lost River and drive out the settlers. As Johnny leaves, Bill rides up and starts shooting, killing Modoc Jim and causing the other Indians to go on a killing rampage. The Modoc take refuge at a mountain stronghold, and when the Army, led by General Gilliam, attempts to storm the stronghold, they are defeated and have to retreat to the fort. Later, General Canby is instructed by the Secretary of War to cease all operations against the Modoc and make another attempt to achieve peace, but a peace with honor. Manok and Toby arrange a meeting between Captain Jack, Johnny, Canby and other interested parties, and both sides agree to come unarmed. Johnny, who has fallen in love with Nancy, asks her to promise that she will leave if the peace talks fail. At the meeting, Captain Jack reiterates his demand that all the settlers leave the Lost River area, then suddenly draws a gun and starts shooting at the peace party. Toby is killed while trying to protect Johnny, who is wounded in the attack. President Grant then authorizes Johnny to track down the renegades. As Johnny rides out with the soldiers, Captain Jack and two of his braves, Scarface Charlie and Bogus Charlie, split up, and Johnny pursues Captain Jack while Bill and Manok go after the others. Manok catches and kills Bogus Charlie, but Scarface Charlie suprises Bill by telling him that they will surrender. After initially being pinned down by Captain Jack's rifle fire, Johnny overpowers him in a rapidly flowing stream and takes him back to the fort as a prisoner of war. After Captain Jack's trial, as preparations are made for his hanging, Johnny visits him in his cell where they discuss meeting one day in their respective heavens and part as friends. After peace finally comes to the area, Johnny and Nancy plan a life together.

Film Details

Genre
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Nov 13, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 10 Nov 1954
Production Company
Jaguar Productions, Inc.; Ladd Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Cococino National Forest, Arizona, USA; Coconino National Forest, Arizona, United States; Sedona, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1
Film Length
9,660ft

Articles

Drum Beat


Having left his contract at Paramount, the studio where he became a star in the 1940s, Alan Ladd decided to take his career more firmly into his own hands in the 1950s by forming a company, Jaguar Productions, to make his own movies and distribute them through Warner Brothers. The first venture of this new company was Drum Beat (1954). It wasn't the runaway hits he was used to at Paramount and, as Westerns go, certainly not up to the standards of his most iconic role, Shane (1953), but it was a modest success, at least commercially. Critically, it was noted more for its visuals than its story and dialogue.

Certainly the source material offered plenty of opportunity for tense action. The story is based on incidents from the war between the Modoc tribe and the U.S. Army in Oregon and California in 1872-1873. According to the opening titles, it's based on historical fact and fictional incidents and characters have been introduced only where necessary to dramatize the truth. The Modocs waged a lengthy guerrilla war against U.S. Army forces, in one battle killing General Edward Canby in April 1873. The army reinforced its troops, eventually forcing the surrender of most of the tribal warriors. Their leader, Captain Jack, was captured and executed for Canby's murder, along with three of his warriors. The rest of the tribe was either returned to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon or relocated to Oklahoma. Canby, by the way, was the only U.S. Army general killed in a war against the Indians. (George Armstrong Custer was, in fact, only a lieutenant colonel at the time of his 1876 death at Little Big Horn.)

The movie takes up the story after Canby's death, with Ladd playing an Indian fighter who has been asked by President Grant to try to bring an end to the conflict with the renegades. His efforts put him in contact with good and bad Modocs and whites alike. He also becomes involved with both a sympathetic Modoc woman and a woman of his own race, played, respectively, by Marisa Pavan and Audrey Dalton, who were each put under a three-picture contract with Jaguar. Neither, however, ever appeared with Ladd again.

Captain Jack is played with bloodthirsty relish by Charles Bronson, using that name for the first time on screen. Up to this point, he had been billed by his birth name, Charles Buchinsky.

The acclaimed look of the film is largely attributable to location shooting in Sedona, Arizona, and the nearby Coconino National Forest at a reported cost of $1.1 million. It was written and directed by Delmer Daves, who had enough of a name at this point to earn a main title reading "Delmer Daves' Drum Beat." Daves, who began as a screenwriter in the late 20s, had recently directed a fairly well-respected Western with James Stewart, Broken Arrow (1950). He went on to make the hit Westerns 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Cowboy (1958). He later directed Ladd in The Badlanders (1958), but this was his only picture for Jaguar. He won a Western Heritage Award in 1975 for directing "outstanding Western motion pictures."

Just before production began on this picture, Alan Ladd had one of the accidents that would plague him throughout his life. He slipped in the bathtub and cracked a rib. While being treated for that, he also learned he had high blood pressure. Although his doctors warned him to take it easy, he would not delay production of the first film from his own company and refused to consider casting another actor in the role.
Producer: Delmer Daves, Alan Ladd (uncredited)
Screenplay: Delmer Daves
Cinematography: J. Peverell Marley
Editing: Clarence Kolster
Art Direction: Leo K. Kuter
Original Music: Victor Young
Cast: Alan Ladd (Johnny Mckay), Audrey Dalton (Nancy Meek), Marisa Pavan (Toby), Robert Keith (Bill Satterwhite), Charles Bronson (Captain Jack)

By Rob Nixon
Drum Beat

Drum Beat

Having left his contract at Paramount, the studio where he became a star in the 1940s, Alan Ladd decided to take his career more firmly into his own hands in the 1950s by forming a company, Jaguar Productions, to make his own movies and distribute them through Warner Brothers. The first venture of this new company was Drum Beat (1954). It wasn't the runaway hits he was used to at Paramount and, as Westerns go, certainly not up to the standards of his most iconic role, Shane (1953), but it was a modest success, at least commercially. Critically, it was noted more for its visuals than its story and dialogue. Certainly the source material offered plenty of opportunity for tense action. The story is based on incidents from the war between the Modoc tribe and the U.S. Army in Oregon and California in 1872-1873. According to the opening titles, it's based on historical fact and fictional incidents and characters have been introduced only where necessary to dramatize the truth. The Modocs waged a lengthy guerrilla war against U.S. Army forces, in one battle killing General Edward Canby in April 1873. The army reinforced its troops, eventually forcing the surrender of most of the tribal warriors. Their leader, Captain Jack, was captured and executed for Canby's murder, along with three of his warriors. The rest of the tribe was either returned to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon or relocated to Oklahoma. Canby, by the way, was the only U.S. Army general killed in a war against the Indians. (George Armstrong Custer was, in fact, only a lieutenant colonel at the time of his 1876 death at Little Big Horn.) The movie takes up the story after Canby's death, with Ladd playing an Indian fighter who has been asked by President Grant to try to bring an end to the conflict with the renegades. His efforts put him in contact with good and bad Modocs and whites alike. He also becomes involved with both a sympathetic Modoc woman and a woman of his own race, played, respectively, by Marisa Pavan and Audrey Dalton, who were each put under a three-picture contract with Jaguar. Neither, however, ever appeared with Ladd again. Captain Jack is played with bloodthirsty relish by Charles Bronson, using that name for the first time on screen. Up to this point, he had been billed by his birth name, Charles Buchinsky. The acclaimed look of the film is largely attributable to location shooting in Sedona, Arizona, and the nearby Coconino National Forest at a reported cost of $1.1 million. It was written and directed by Delmer Daves, who had enough of a name at this point to earn a main title reading "Delmer Daves' Drum Beat." Daves, who began as a screenwriter in the late 20s, had recently directed a fairly well-respected Western with James Stewart, Broken Arrow (1950). He went on to make the hit Westerns 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Cowboy (1958). He later directed Ladd in The Badlanders (1958), but this was his only picture for Jaguar. He won a Western Heritage Award in 1975 for directing "outstanding Western motion pictures." Just before production began on this picture, Alan Ladd had one of the accidents that would plague him throughout his life. He slipped in the bathtub and cracked a rib. While being treated for that, he also learned he had high blood pressure. Although his doctors warned him to take it easy, he would not delay production of the first film from his own company and refused to consider casting another actor in the role.

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.


Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute.

After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland.

TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place:

8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960)
10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963)
1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967)
4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976)

Charles Bronson, 1921-2003

Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him.

Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954).

Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West.

These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977).

Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Charles Bronson - Sept. 13th - TCM Remembers Charles Bronson this Saturday, Sept. 13th 2003.

Turner Classic Movies will honor the passing of Hollywood action star Charles Bronson on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a four-film tribute. After years of playing supporting roles in numerous Western, action and war films, including THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960, 8 p.m.) and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967, 1:15 a.m.), Bronson finally achieved worldwide stardom as a leading man during the late 1960s and early 1970s. TCM's tribute will also include THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963, 10:15 p.m.), Bronson's second teaming with Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and will conclude with FROM NOON TILL THREE (1976, 4 a.m.), co-starring Jill Ireland. TCM will alter it's prime-time schedule this Saturday, Sept. 13th. The following changes will take place: 8:00 PM - The Magnificent Seven (1960) 10:15 PM - The Great Escape (1963) 1:15 AM - The Dirty Dozen (1967) 4:00 AM - From Noon Till Three (1976) Charles Bronson, 1921-2003 Charles Bronson, the tough, stony-faced actor who was one of the most recognizable action heroes in cinema, died on August 30 in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was 81. He was born Charles Buchinsky on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of fifteen children born to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Although he was the only child to have graduated high school, he worked in the coalmines to support his family until he joined the army to serve as a tail gunner during World War II. He used his money from the G.I. Bill to study art in Philadelphia, but while working as a set designer for a Philadelphia theater troupe, he landed a few small roles in some productions and immediately found acting to be the craft for him. Bronson took his new career turn seriously, moved to California, and enrolled for acting classes at The Pasadena Playhouse. An instructor there recommended him to director Henry Hathaway for a movie role and the result was his debut in Hathaway's You're in the Navy Now (1951). He secured more bit parts in films like John Sturges' drama The People Against O'Hara (1951), and Joseph Newman's Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952). More substantial roles came in George Cukor's Pat and Mike (1952, where he is beaten up by Katharine Hepburn!); Andre de Toth's classic 3-D thriller House of Wax (1953, as Vincent Price's mute assistant, Igor); and De Toth's fine low-budget noir Crime Wave (1954). Despite his formidable presence, his leads were confined to a string of B pictures like Gene Fowler's Gang War; and Roger Corman's tight Machine Gun Kelly (both 1958). Following his own television series, Man With a Camera (1958-60), Bronson had his first taste of film stardom when director Sturges casted him as Bernardo, one of the The Magnificent Seven (1960). Bronson displayed a powerful charisma, comfortably holding his own in a high-powered cast that included Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. A few more solid roles followed in Sturges' The Great Escape (1963), and Robert Aldrich's classic war picture The Dirty Dozen (1967), before Bronson made the decision to follow the European trail of other American actors like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. It was there that his hard, taciturn screen personae exploded in full force. In 1968 alone, he had four hit films: Henri Verneuil's Guns for San Sebastian, Buzz Kulik's Villa Rides, Jean Herman's Adieu l'ami which was a smash in France; and the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West. These films established Bronson as a huge box-office draw in Europe, and with some more stylish hits like Rene Clement's Rider on the Rain (1969), and Terence Young's Cold Sweat (1971) he soon became one of the most popular film stars in the world. It wasn't easy for Bronson to translate that success back in his homeland. In fact, his first few films on his return stateside: Michael Winners' Chato's Land, and The Mechanic (both 1972), and Richard Fleischer's Mr. Majestyk (1973), were surprisingly routine pictures. It wasn't until he collaborated with Winner again for the controversial Death Wish (1974), an urban revenge thriller about an architect who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are raped, did he notch his first stateside hit. The next few years would be a fruitful period for Bronson as he rode on a wave of fine films and commercial success: a depression era streetfighter in Walter Hill's terrific, if underrated Hard Times (1975); Frank Gilroy's charming offbeat black comedy From Noon Till Three (1976, the best of many teamings with his second wife, Jill Ireland); Tom Gries tense Breakheart Pass; and Don Siegel's cold-war thriller Telefon (1977). Sadly, Bronson could not keep up the momentum of good movies, and by the '80s he was starring in a string of forgettable films like Ten to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), and Murphy's Law (1986, all directed by J. Lee Thompson). A notable exception to all that tripe was John Mackenzie's fine telefilm Act of Vengeance (1986), where he earned critical acclaim in the role of United Mine Workers official Jack Yablonski. Although he more or less fell into semi-retirement in the '90s, his performances in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991); and the title role of Michael Anderson's The Sea Wolf (1993) proved to many that Bronson had the makings of a fine character actor. He was married to actress Jill Ireland from 1968 until her death from breast cancer in 1990. He is survived by his third wife Kim Weeks, six children, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was the first production of Alan Ladd's own company. The main title reads: "Delmer Daves' Drum Beat." The film was shot around Sedona and in the Coconino National Forest, Arizona. Time reported that the film was made at a low cost of $1,100,000. The opening titles state that the story is based upon historical fact and that fictional incidents and characters have been introduced only where necessary to dramatize the truth. This was the first film in which Charles Buchinsky was billed as Charles Bronson.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1954

Film was based on true incidents that happent in Oregon in 1869.

This was the first film in which Charles Bronson became credited as such, foregoing his previous stage name of Charles Butchinsky.

CinemaScope

Released in United States Fall November 1954