War Drums (1957)

75 mins | Western | April 1957

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HISTORY

The film's working title was Chief Red Sleeves . The Apache Chief Mangas Colorado, along with Cochise, led much of the warfare against U.S. outposts during a twenty-five year period of Apache unrest beginning in the early 1860s. Colorado was also the father of one of Cochise's wives. The scene in the film in which "Riva" and the warriors force the white doctor to tend to "Mangas'" wounds was based on a true incident, in which his warriors brought their chief, who had been shot in the chest, to a doctor in Janos, Mexico, and forced the man at gunpoint to remove the bullet.
       War Drums was shot on location in Kanab, UT. According to Jul 1956 HR news items, the set was beset by several accidents, including a fire that destroyed a wardrobe trailer and a lightning storm that destroyed a generator, which delayed production for a few days. The MPH review incorrectly included Mona Freeman's name at the end of the cast list. A 25 Jul 1956 HR news item adds Victor Millan to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to an Aug 1957 HR news item, the film was edited at American National Studios. Although in the film Riva states that she is half Mexican, half Comanche, ads for the film describe her as a "White Warrior Woman." "Mangas" was also a character in the 1955 film Fort Yuma (see ... More Less

The film's working title was Chief Red Sleeves . The Apache Chief Mangas Colorado, along with Cochise, led much of the warfare against U.S. outposts during a twenty-five year period of Apache unrest beginning in the early 1860s. Colorado was also the father of one of Cochise's wives. The scene in the film in which "Riva" and the warriors force the white doctor to tend to "Mangas'" wounds was based on a true incident, in which his warriors brought their chief, who had been shot in the chest, to a doctor in Janos, Mexico, and forced the man at gunpoint to remove the bullet.
       War Drums was shot on location in Kanab, UT. According to Jul 1956 HR news items, the set was beset by several accidents, including a fire that destroyed a wardrobe trailer and a lightning storm that destroyed a generator, which delayed production for a few days. The MPH review incorrectly included Mona Freeman's name at the end of the cast list. A 25 Jul 1956 HR news item adds Victor Millan to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to an Aug 1957 HR news item, the film was edited at American National Studios. Although in the film Riva states that she is half Mexican, half Comanche, ads for the film describe her as a "White Warrior Woman." "Mangas" was also a character in the 1955 film Fort Yuma (see above). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 May 1957.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 57
p. 10.
Film Daily
1 Apr 57
p. 3.
Harrison's Reports
30 Mar 57
pp. 50-51.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 56
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1956
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 56
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1956
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 57
p. 9.
Los Angeles Examiner
11 Apr 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Apr 1957.
---
Motion Picture Daily
29 Mar 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Mar 57
p. 322.
The Exhibitor
3 Apr 57
pp. 4308-09.
Variety
3 Apr 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Operative cam
Key grip
Lighting tech
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
Joan Taylor's cost des
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Mexican Hat Dance" arranged by F. A. Partichela.
SONGS
"Cielito lindo," traditional.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Chief Red Sleeves
Release Date:
April 1957
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: week of 11 April 1957
Production Date:
mid July--28 July 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Palm Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 April 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8459
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Duration(in mins):
75
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18278
SYNOPSIS

When Mangas Colorado and his band of Apaches raid a camp of Mexican bandits who have stolen their horses, they retrieve their property and also take Riva, a half-Mexican, half-Comanche Indian girl whose father was killed by the horse thieves during a raid on his ranch. Mangas, pulling Riva along by a leash, and his band visit the camp of trader Luke Fargo, Mangas' old friend. When Judge Bolton, who is in the area to make a peace treaty with the Apaches, asks about the girl, Fargo explains that the Apaches kidnap Mexican girls to sell to white saloon owners. The judge is disgusted at the Indians' blatant practice of white slavery, but Fargo compares their actions to the U.S. government's placing of Indians on reservations as well as to the Southern states' legalized slavery. Around the campfire Riva sings and dances with Fargo, and smitten, he offers to trade guns for the girl, but Mangas refuses. The Apaches return to their village, where Mangas announces that he wishes to make Riva his wife. The Apaches, including Mangas' best friend Ponce, are distressed, and medicine man Chino says that the spirits will retaliate if Mangas marries outside of Apache custom. Although Ponce changes his position, two other warriors challenge Mangas, who fights them to the death. Mangas' cousin Yellow Moon and his sister Nona do not easily accept Riva, and when they attempt to force her to do squaw's labor, including building a wicky for her husband-to-be, Riva brawls with them and then tells Mangas that she will be treated as his equal. Mangas agrees, and then teaches Riva to shoot and hunt. At the ... +


When Mangas Colorado and his band of Apaches raid a camp of Mexican bandits who have stolen their horses, they retrieve their property and also take Riva, a half-Mexican, half-Comanche Indian girl whose father was killed by the horse thieves during a raid on his ranch. Mangas, pulling Riva along by a leash, and his band visit the camp of trader Luke Fargo, Mangas' old friend. When Judge Bolton, who is in the area to make a peace treaty with the Apaches, asks about the girl, Fargo explains that the Apaches kidnap Mexican girls to sell to white saloon owners. The judge is disgusted at the Indians' blatant practice of white slavery, but Fargo compares their actions to the U.S. government's placing of Indians on reservations as well as to the Southern states' legalized slavery. Around the campfire Riva sings and dances with Fargo, and smitten, he offers to trade guns for the girl, but Mangas refuses. The Apaches return to their village, where Mangas announces that he wishes to make Riva his wife. The Apaches, including Mangas' best friend Ponce, are distressed, and medicine man Chino says that the spirits will retaliate if Mangas marries outside of Apache custom. Although Ponce changes his position, two other warriors challenge Mangas, who fights them to the death. Mangas' cousin Yellow Moon and his sister Nona do not easily accept Riva, and when they attempt to force her to do squaw's labor, including building a wicky for her husband-to-be, Riva brawls with them and then tells Mangas that she will be treated as his equal. Mangas agrees, and then teaches Riva to shoot and hunt. At the wedding ceremony, Fargo, disappointed that he has lost Riva, nonetheless offers her a horse as a wedding present, and on the couple's wedding night, Riva teaches Mangas to kiss like an American. Later on, gold miners violate the American peace treaty by panning in Apache territory, and when Nona confronts them, they beat her and then shoot and injure her son, Little Owl. Mangas tries to convince the miners to go away peacefully, but they capture him and whip his backside, leaving humiliating scars. The enraged Apache chief then alerts Riva and the other warriors, and they raid the camp, killing all but one of the men. Later, Judge Bolton and Fargo meet at the site of the recent raid, and Sheriff Bullard announces his intent to teach the Apaches a lesson. Fargo asks that he may be permitted to go see Mangas to ascertain the truth, before they resort to violence. The judge agrees, but insists that the troops be shown the Apaches' hiding place. With the troops behind him, Fargo approaches the Apache band with a white flag, but as Mangas leaves his cover, Riva, spotting the troops assembled, cries out a warning. Ponce, in a panic, fires the first shot and kills Judge Bolton. During the ensuing battle, Fargo is wounded, and Riva nurses his wounds. When Mangas shows up, he recounts his humiliation at the hands of the miners, and Fargo says farewell. As the Apaches continue their raids on miners' camps, wagon trains and settlements, the Civil War breaks out, and Fargo becomes a U.S. Army major. Mangas is shot in a skirmish, and Riva, refusing to entrust her beloved husband to Chino, has him taken to a white settlement where an American doctor can treat him. After the doctor has finished tending Mangas' wounds, Fargo and his troops arrive at the settlement, and Fargo goes to see Riva and Mangas. Fargo explains that he has received orders to kill the Apache warriors and send the women and children to Fort Stanton, unless the Apaches put down their weapons and go peacefully to the reservations. Mangas refuses that option, but makes peace with his old friend Fargo. Fargo, realizing that Mangas will never give up, calls a temporary truce in order to allow the Apaches to seek refuge in the mountains. Riva, Mangas and their band of warriors depart with dignity. +

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

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