Drums Along the Mohawk

1939

Drama / History / Romance / War / Western

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 59%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 4653

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Henry Fonda as Gilbert Martin
John Carradine as Caldwell
Ward Bond as Adam Hartman
Clara Blandick as Mrs. Borst
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
743.08 MB
988*720
English
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 1 / 4
1.56 GB
1472*1072
English
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 2 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ma-cortes 7 / 10

Vintage Ford film detailing the trials of a colonial newlywed couple harassed by Indians and British

Awesome and marvelous Western by the great John Ford and deemed by many to be his early best . 1776 , in American revolutionary , Albany , Gilbert 'Gil' Martin (Henry Fonda who was real descendant of the Fondas that settled in the Mohawk Valley in the mid 17th Century) marries the beautiful Magdelana 'Lana', shortly before the revolutionary war , and takes her West to begin a homestead in the Mohawk Valley , in Upstate New York . There took place bloody battles as Battle of German Flats in the Mohawk Valley as part of the loyalist Butler's Rangers , and the Battle of Oriskany . As they settle their homestead when the war begins and both of whom become involved into a terrible conflict . As both sides battle relentlessly supported by Indians , as the Iroquois Confederation was split in its loyalties during the Revolution , the Oneidas sided with the Americans while the Mohawks and Senecas joined with the Hurons and Nipissing First Nation , Ojibwas and Algonquins on the side of the instigating British . For the next six years Gilbert battles in the war and while they attempt to establish their homestead . But it to be on fire and the young farmers , then , move and meet a grumpy old widow , Mrs. Mc Klennar (Edna May Oliver) , who is happy to put them up in her farm in exchange for help from both of them . Later on , Gil joins the minutemen , and after that , Indians commanded by the nasty Brit Caldwell (John Carradine) burn the farms and attack the rebellious colonists on a fort that is really besieged . But the violence and destruction of war catch up , and even the fort isn't guaranteed safe . And Gilbert carries out a long marathon foot leg through an Indian gauntlet .

One of John Ford's early Western hits , it has come remarkable Colour cinematography by Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan , dealing with pioneers hardships , and the expected , violent as well as impressive scenes about the Redskin siege . This nice and superb Western contains thoughtful characters , full of wide open space and dramatic moments . Outdoors are pretty good and well photographed , story first-rate and powerful told too . Here John Ford and Henry Fonda reached the peak of their successful and fundamental screen collaboration . Thought-provoking , insightful screenplay portraying in depth characters and brooding events with interesting issues running beneath script surface . Over-the-top Western with trigger-taut drama , perfectly written by Lamar Trotti and uncredited collaboration by Nobel winner William Faulkner , being based on on the Walter Edmonds novel . The film relies heavily on the extremely sentimental relationship between the young marriage : Lana/Claudette Colbert and Gilbert Martin/Henry Fonda . Fine acting from Henry Fonda as a civilized man from the East coast colonies who finds himself a loving bride , and attractive Claudette Colbert who keeps her upper lip pretty stiff but she looses their expected baby . ¨Drums along the Mohawk¨ gets to ensemble a magnificent supporting cast , plenty of familiar faces , and Ford's regulars , such as : Edna May Oliver , John Carradine , Ward Bond , Francis Ford , Eddie Collins , Arthur Shields , Robert Lowery , Jessie Ralph , Jack Pennick , Russell Simpson and Chief John Big Tree . This classic and moving picture ranks as one of the main of John Ford's works , including settings , interpretations , cinematography all extraordinary . It contains Ford's usual themes as familiar feeling , a little bit enjoyable humor , friendship and sense of comradeship but also some cynicism and full of wide open spaces with breathtaking landscapes exceptionally filmed from Cook County , Pennsylvania , Aspen Mirror Lake , Duck Creek Village , Strawberry Point , Dixie National Forest, Wasatch Range , Cedar Utah USA . Furthermore , a sensitive , romantic and thrilling at times , musical score by the classic composer Alfred Newman .

Marvelously shot Ford film with a lively look at the complex world of the colonialists , pioneers versus Indians , and adventure romance . This solid as well as patriotic motion picture was well directed , this is a grand , cunningly crafted entertainment , action-filled and jingoist saga about revolutionary America . Ford's prior and subsequent films to get great successes as ¨The stagecoach¨ , ¨The young Mr. Lincoln¨ and the cavalry trilogy as ¨Fort Apache¨, ¨They wore yellow ribbon¨ and ¨Rio Grande¨. And , his posterior ¨Two rode together¨ has a similar plot to ¨The searchers¨ though the Ford's vision about West is pretty cynical and less idealist .

Reviewed by James Hitchcock 5 / 10

Eastern Western

Lana Borst, the daughter of a wealthy family, marries a young farmer named Gilbert Martin and goes to live on his small farm on the frontier. At first Lana, who is accustomed to living in luxury, hates frontier life, but her love for Gilbert is strong enough to help her adjust, and she settles down to their life together until their farm is destroyed by an Indian raiding party. The Martins are forced to accept work on the farm of a wealthy neighbour, the widowed Mrs. McKlennar, and during a brief period of peace they are able to rebuild their farm and start a family. When war returns to the area, Gilbert joins a local militia and fights bravely for his country. Eventually, facing a major attack by Indians and a few renegade white men, the settlers are forced to take refuge in a nearby fort. Just when it seems that the fort will be overrun, American soldiers come to the rescue, and all ends happily with the Stars and Stripes proudly flying.

That could easily be the plot of a standard Western, no doubt directed by John Ford. "Drums along the Mohawk", however, is what might be called an Eastern Western, that is to say a standard Western shifted two thousand miles to the east and a hundred years back in time. The above story takes place not in the Texas or the Utah or the South Dakota of the 1870s but in upstate New York during the 1770s, in fact against the background of the American War of Independence. (It is, however, nevertheless directed by John Ford).

Now anyone with any historical knowledge will be aware that the American War of Independence was so called because the Americans were fighting for independence from Britain, but you would not realise that from this film, which does not feature a single British character. There are a few villainous Tories (in the sense of pro-British American Loyalists, not members of the British Conservative Party), but the main villains are the Indians. The reason doubtless lies in the year the film was made, 1939. With war looming, Ford was doubtless uncomfortably aware that an anti-British movie could have been interpreted as pro-isolationist or, worse, pro-Nazi. Not all Americans in 1939 believed that they could remain permanently neutral if war came to Europe, and Ford might have been unwilling to offend citizens of a country alongside whose forces American troops might soon be fighting.

Seen from 2016 as opposed to 1939, however, Ford's treatment of the Indians looks far more offensive than any treatment of colonial-era Britons could ever have been. (Indeed, it is a lot more offensive than his treatment of Indians in some of his later Westerns from the forties, fifties and sixties). The white settlers frequently refer to them by such choice epithets as "pagans", "savages" and "brutes", and it is clear that we are meant to take these descriptions as objective statements of fact, not as racist insults, because that is exactly how the Native Americans are portrayed- brutal, savage, and motivated only by bloodlust. There is no attempt to analyse why the Indians of this period should have harboured such enmity towards the whites or why they might have favoured the British rather than the Revolutionaries, but any American viewers wanting an answer to these questions ought to read their own Declaration of Independence, which makes it quite clear that the sentiment "all men are created equal" did not extend to the non-white races.

The only "good Indian" is Chief Blue Back, a Christian convert who has partially adopted the white man's ways and learnt to speak English after a fashion and who sides with the Revolutionaries. Ford doubtless intended us to see Blue Back as sympathetic, but from a modern point of view he looks more like a patronising caricature. A real Blue Back would probably have been more pathetic than sympathetic, a lonely, isolated figure cut off from his own people and their culture by his religious conversion and patronised, but never treated as an equal, by the whites among whom he lived.

The acting is not particularly distinguished. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert in the two leading roles are adequate, but in neither case is this their finest hour. The supporting characters, however, tend towards the one-dimensional, not only Blue Back but also Arthur Shields' garrulous clergyman and the irritatingly formidable-but lovable Mrs. McKlennar. (Edna May Oliver seemed to specialise in irritatingly formidable-but-lovable old ladies; she even managed to portray Lady Catherine de Burgh as such in "Pride and Prejudice" the following year). The film's one saving grace is its visual attractiveness; it was Ford's first colour film at a time when most Westerns were made in black-and-white. 1939 was the year in which Ford directed one of the great Westerns of all time, "Stagecoach", but "Drums along the Mohawk" is in nothing like the same class. 5/10

Reviewed by OldFilmLover 6 / 10

Good Period Atmosphere, but Dull Plot and Wooden Dialogue

Drums Along the Mohawk is pretty dull fare. The scenery and historical period activities (clearing forests, barn dances, etc.) are all well done, but otherwise, this is a dull movie. There is no plot to speak of, just a string of raids and battles of American patriots against Tories and Indians. The villain (John Carradine) is undermotivated in the script, and is not given enough screen time to make him into a character worthy of either admiring or hating. Fonda and Colbert are miscast -- neither is suitable for the part, especially Colbert. This error was due to the "star system" which caused studios to "milk" their big names by putting them in every conceivable movie. (Warner Bros. similarly miscast Errol Flynn as a Western hero in Dodge City in the same 1939 year.)

The dialogue and delivery is mostly wooden. Only Edna Mae Oliver comes across as a real human being. (I actually have relatives like that!)

The message of the movie -- "Gee, wasn't life tough in those pioneer days, and how brave young brides had to be to cope with these hardships" -- is pretty trite.

1939 was a year of great films. Drums Along the Mohawk is not one of them. I know that will outrage those who think that anything directed by John Ford is automatically good, but the fact is that this is one of Ford's clunkers. Great camera work and accurate period flavor do not make a great film. The makers of "Barry Lyndon" in the 1970s should have learned that lesson from this 1939 dud.

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