A Thunder of Drums (1961)

97 mins | Western | 1961

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HISTORY

Location scenes for the film were shot in Arizona. Prior to production, James Warner Bellah adapted his short story "Command" for a 4 Oct 1960 broadcast on the Best of the Post-TV television show. ... More Less

Location scenes for the film were shot in Arizona. Prior to production, James Warner Bellah adapted his short story "Command" for a 4 Oct 1960 broadcast on the Best of the Post-TV television show. More Less

CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Robert Enders Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Command" by James Warner Bellah in The Saturday Evening Post (8 Jun 1946).
SONGS
"Water from a Bad Well" and "Ballad of Camden Yates," words and music by Duane Eddy
sung by Duane Eddy.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1961
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 September 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Robert J. Enders, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 August 1961
Copyright Number:
LP20693
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
97
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1870's, Lieut. Curtis McQuade, a headstrong, inexperienced officer, arrives at the remote cavalry post of Fort Canby in Arizona. Almost at once he is in trouble with the garrison commander, Capt. Stephen Maddocks, a hard-bitten veteran Indian-fighter who resents the younger officer's brashness. Curtis creates further trouble by rekindling his former romance with Tracey Hamilton, who is staying at the fort with her fiancé, Lieutenant Gresham. One day Gresham, who has learned of the affair between Curtis and Tracey, fails to return from a scouting party. Curtis accompanies Maddocks on the search and is horrified to discover Gresham and his men massacred by Indians. Shocked into the realization that his reckless behavior with Tracey may have caused Gresham to lose control of his wits, Curtis redeems himself by acting as the decoy with which Maddocks hopes to draw the attention of the marauding Apaches. Alone with their backs to a cliff, Curtis and a handful of his men await the onslaught. When the Indians attack at dawn, Maddocks and his troopers charge into the clearing and wipe them out. In the fighting, however, Maddocks' only close friend, Sergeant Rodermill, is killed by an Apache arrow. When Curtis returns to Fort Canby, he finds Tracey boarding the eastbound stage. As he says goodby to her, he realizes that Maddocks' credo--"Bachelors make the best soldiers, all they have to lose is their loneliness"--is the only correct philosophy for a true military ... +


In the 1870's, Lieut. Curtis McQuade, a headstrong, inexperienced officer, arrives at the remote cavalry post of Fort Canby in Arizona. Almost at once he is in trouble with the garrison commander, Capt. Stephen Maddocks, a hard-bitten veteran Indian-fighter who resents the younger officer's brashness. Curtis creates further trouble by rekindling his former romance with Tracey Hamilton, who is staying at the fort with her fiancé, Lieutenant Gresham. One day Gresham, who has learned of the affair between Curtis and Tracey, fails to return from a scouting party. Curtis accompanies Maddocks on the search and is horrified to discover Gresham and his men massacred by Indians. Shocked into the realization that his reckless behavior with Tracey may have caused Gresham to lose control of his wits, Curtis redeems himself by acting as the decoy with which Maddocks hopes to draw the attention of the marauding Apaches. Alone with their backs to a cliff, Curtis and a handful of his men await the onslaught. When the Indians attack at dawn, Maddocks and his troopers charge into the clearing and wipe them out. In the fighting, however, Maddocks' only close friend, Sergeant Rodermill, is killed by an Apache arrow. When Curtis returns to Fort Canby, he finds Tracey boarding the eastbound stage. As he says goodby to her, he realizes that Maddocks' credo--"Bachelors make the best soldiers, all they have to lose is their loneliness"--is the only correct philosophy for a true military man. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.