Savage Drums


1h 13m 1951

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 22, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Lippert Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Baldwin Lake, California, United States; India

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,330ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

On the night of a big boxing match in Washington D.C., Tipo, contender for the world lightweight championship, is visited by his brother John, king of Numiti, a small island in the South China seas. John implores Tipo to return to Numiti and help him persuade the island council to accept a United States treaty for much-needed roads, airstrips and a harbor, against which the local Communists are fighting. After Tipo refuses, John leaves the stadium with his fiancée Tania and is shot and killed. Tipo is torn between his fighting career and his responsibilities to his homeland until his servant Rami serenades him with melodies from their country and convinces him to return to Numiti and accept the crown. Tipo's sarcastic manager, Jimmy Purcell, his dim-witted weight trainer, Tex Shanty, and their lovable pet monkey Junior decide to join Tipo and Rami to fight for Numiti's freedom. After traveling by plane and steamer, the group arrives in the town of Auraugo and are warmly greeted by all the villagers, including Mauo, Tipo's father's closest advisor, and Tipo's cousin Rata, who has been serving as king in Tipo's absence. Aruna, a gentle blind man, gives the gift of a tropical bird to the new king and warns Tipo not to let the bird out of his cage because he will return to his owner. Unknown to the island council or to Tipo, Rata ordered John's assassination and is plotting to deliver Numiti into the hands of a foreign Communist power. Later in the king's office, Maou tells Tipo that John was killed because of the treaty and warns that Tipo is in danger as well. That evening at Tipo's coronation, Tania, who is secretly in league with Rata, poisons Tipo's ceremonial cava drink. Maou, however, has witnessed Tania's deed, and before Tipo imbibes, reminds all attending that the tradition is for the last leader, in this case Rata, to have the first sip. Rata, however, drops the bowl, dumping its contents. Lured by her seductive dance during the ceremonies, Tipo follows fair young native Sari outside, where she reminds Tipo that their parents had bound them to marriage as children. Tipo explains that he did not expect Sari to wait for him, and she leaves abruptly, thinking that he loves another. The next day in the assembly hall of the government house, the council vote on the treaty is tied and they decide to meet again later that evening. Meanwhile Sari accidentally overhears Rata telling Tania that foreign troops are arriving to occupy Numiti, and tells Maou. He confronts Rata and his co-conspirator, the foreign spy Borotof, who shoots and kills Maou. At noon, when the troops attack the citizens, Tipo, Tex, Jimmy, Sari, Rami and Junior flee to the jungle. The next morning talking drums can be heard throughout the island, claiming that Tipo murdered Maou and that he supports a war treaty. Tipo and his group then go to the neighboring village of Taone and are greeted by Aruna, who believes the drums are spreading lies and sends a message to all village men to gather in Taone and prepare to fight the foreign soldiers. Back in Auraugo, Borotof negotiates with the council, trying to convince them not to sign the treaty, while his men kidnap Sari to lure Tipo back to Auraugo. When Tipo and Tex attempt to free her, they are caught and held captive in the king's office. Seeing Aruna's bird, they tie a message to his claw and set the bird free. As was foretold, the bird returns to Aruna, and Jimmy assembles the men for battle. Meanwhile Tipo, on trial for the murder of Mauo, is forced to perform the test by fire, walking across burning stones, to prove his innocence. Rata sends a man with a poison dart to kill Tipo during his test but Jimmy arrives in time to stop the dart shooter, and Tipo and Tex pass the test, unharmed. Soon after a shootout between the soldiers and the villagers ensues, and Jimmy sends Junior into the palace to plant a stink bomb that drives the foreign soldiers out of the building. The soldiers surrender, but as Rami bravely marches toward town with reinforcements, he is shot and killed by the enemy. More Communist soldiers cross the fields outside the town but meet their doom by a machine-gun manned by Jimmy, Tex and Tipo. Later, after their victory is secure, Tipo, Sari, the villagers and recently sent American officers watch the incoming ships in the new Numiti harbor and look forward to the peace and prosperity to come.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 22, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Lippert Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Baldwin Lake, California, United States; India

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,330ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although one instrumental and one song were performed in the film, neither their titles nor composers have been determined. Onscreen credits list Fenton Earnshaw as the screenplay author, however, a November 13, 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Lippert Productions had purchased an original screenplay for Savage Drums by author Orville Hampton. Hampton's contribution to the final film has not been determined. Hollywood Reporter production charts add the Choral Islanders to the cast, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. According to pre-production Hollywood Reporter news items, background footage was shot in India and portions of film were shot on location at Baldwin Lake, CA.