A Thunder of Drums


(1961) ★★

TCM: Sunday 9 August, 3pm

General’s son George Hamilton given a rough frontier ride by Fort Canby commander Richard Boone in clichéd cavalry’n’Comanche dust-up. Young lieutenant Richard Chamberlain and giggling trooper Charles Bronson are the pick of an undistinguished supporting cast (‘…introducing Duane Eddy!’) and typical of MGM’s perfunctory approach is Harry Sukman’s nondescript giddy-up music. It’s hard to believe that any studio would ever think that an actor as teak-solid wooden as Hamilton could have a serious film career. As for Duane Eddy, he went back to twanging his guitar. This was by no means the only western directed by journeyman Joseph Newman, although his most memorable movie remains the 1955 sci-fi bill-filler, This Island Earth. Raoul Walsh’s directorial career spanned half-a-century, from The Bowery in 1914 and the 1925 version of The Thief of Bagdad, to James Cagney’s Roaring Twenties (1939) and White Heat (1949), and beyond. Like A Thunder of Drums, A Distant Trumpet (BBC2, 1pm) is a distant echo of Howard Hawks and John Ford’s pre-eminent post-war westerns. Even Walsh’s own Distant Drums (1951) is more memorable than this cliché-ridden cavalry vs pesky Injuns hokum led by the unimpressive Troy Donahue. (In the 60s, even Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison made allowed to make westerns). Sadly, it was Walsh’s final film.

Certificate: PG

Duration: 97min

IMDB – A Thunder of Drums

TMDB – A Thunder of Drums

Other Showings Time & Date
TCM Monday, 10 August at 9:15AM