Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: titoli on August 29, 2014, 06:17:02 AM

Title: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: titoli on August 29, 2014, 06:17:02 AM
Good for the exchanges between hardened commander Boone and the half-moronic rookie Hamilton and the action toward the end. 6\10
Title: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: Spikeopath on February 08, 2017, 08:07:36 PM
It's not my advice, Mr, it's the rule of the game...

..Bachelors make the best soldiers, all they have to lose is their loneliness.

A Thunder of Drums is directed by Joseph Newman and written by James Warner Bellah. It stars Richard Boone, George Hamilton, Luana Pattern, Arthur O'Connell, Charles Bronson, Richard Chamberlain, Duane Eddy and Slim Pickens. Out of MGM it's filmed on location at Old Tuscon & Sabino Canyon in Arizona, and also at Vasquez Rocks, California. It's filmed in CinemaScope and Metrocolor, with cinematography by William W. Spencer and music scored by Harry Sukman.

"There are three things a man can do to relieve the boredom of these lonely one troop posts: He can drink himself into a straight-jacket: He can get his throat cut chasing squaws: Or he can dedicate himself to the bleak monastic life of a soldier and become a great officer."

It's proved to be a divisive film amongst Western aficionados, and it's not hard to understand why. The film begins with a pre credit sequence of suggested savagery, a real attention grabber, then the credits role and the colour and vistas open up the story. From here we are placed into the lonely and fretful life at a cavalry fort in the Southwest. The company consists of tough grizzled Captain Maddocks (Boone) who carries around a burden from his past, his ire further inflamed by the arrival of greenhorn Lt. Curtis McQuade (Hamilton). He needs experienced men, not fresh faced kids, and McQuade isn't helping himself by being involved in a love triangle with Lt. Thomas Gresham's (James Douglas) lady, Tracey Hamilton (Patten). This coupled with the threat imposed by the Indians puts strain on all involved at Fort Canby. And there's the crux of the matter, the film is more interested with character dynamics than breaking out into an action packed B ranked Western.

Newcomers to the film should prepare for a talky picture, but it is a very good talky picture. Sure there's action, including a well staged battle in the final quarter (check out those Apache suddenly appearing from the rocks like ghosts!), but this is a film that is being propelled by dialogue, well written dialogue. There is no point in saying that it's well cast because it isn't, Boone is immense and intense and gets the best dialogue of all, but Hamilton is miscast and Patten totally unconvincing. Pickens is hardly in it and Bronson has a character that could be any number of things; someone who it's hard to know if we should dislike or cheer on. While Chamberlain and Eddy are in it to look nice and play the banjo respectively. Yet with the photography suitably keeping the landscape arid and harsh, and the mood around the base one of impending death or boredom (even the levity of a drunken sequence only enforces what little joy is around), the film has much going for it by way of psychology.

It's no "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" of course, and its problems are evident, but it does have merits, and if for nothing else it deserves a look for Boone's excellent performance. 7/10
Title: Re: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: Spikeopath on February 09, 2017, 12:01:29 PM

What does that mean?
Title: Re: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on February 09, 2017, 12:34:32 PM
It means that there was already a post about it from titoli, when I combine topics I have to post in it myself so that I can bring it up, they go chronologically so titoli posted first, I posted fix so I could bring it up in the controls, then I combined them.  ;)
Title: Re: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on February 09, 2017, 12:46:42 PM
But not yet in the aw list.

It is now...  ;)
Title: Re: A Thunder of Drums (1961)
Post by: cigar joe on October 10, 2017, 08:21:37 AM
Finally was able to catch up with this film today, enjoyed it. I bought the cast, a mix of new and up and coming new talent and some old hands. I like Richard Boone, but there's not a whole lot of his Western films that I can point to and admire. The Tall T, The Alamo, Rio Conchos, Hombre, and now this one. I'll go a 7/10, some great Western landscapes also.