Drums Along the Mohawk

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Enfield1

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I was flipping through the channels this morning. Turner Classic Movies was running “Drums Along the MohawK”. I have read about the movie, but I had never seen it. I actually thought that it was pretty good, considering that it was made in 1939. Overall, I thought that the clothing was pretty well represented. It did have your typical early Hollywood overacting, and the women sure had a lot of make up on for living in cabins on the frontier. I looked hard, however, and only saw flintlocks. Usually bad, old films will slip some percussions or even trap doors in there. I am sure that some of y’all have seen it many times. What did y’all think?
 

tenngun

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Better then movies made twenty years later.
We often look at guns, but I look a lot at back ground. They out fitted the set real well.
 

Stophel

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I agree, it's a surprisingly good movie considering it was 1939... of course, pretty much every movie/TV show depicting the 18th century suck pretty bad, up until the 1992 Last of the Mohicans movie, when finally someone at least put some effort into it.
 

rednexx

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I will say that it is a very good movie with a very good cast, look at all of the people in this movie, most were well known character actors. If you look on the innerweb there is a place that lists , award winning movies of 1939 it's a huge list , I don't think this one was on it sad to say. I was curious if anyone else was a bit skeptical about the Native Americans parts in this movie , so many portray poorly or totally inaccurately as far as dress and being the wrong language and tribe being allied with which group or side.
 

nagantino

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It’s a good movie. John Ford tended to make great movies and I think this is one. Ok, with that out of the way....I don’t think that movie could be made today. The portrayal of Native Indians would stop it in its tracks. The Last of the Mohicans did a good job of the technical side, appropriate firearms and clothing, but it dared to show the cruelty of the times, especially among the Indians. That reality would not get made today.
 

toot

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remember that in 1939 there weren't any reproductions to be had! so the flintlocks used in films were original.
 

rickpa

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I've been waiting to see that movie again. Just reread the book about 2 months ago and wanted to see how closely the movie followed it. Last time I saw the film was probably 20 years ago. I can remember scenes from the movie like Herkimer losing his leg and the old lady making the Indians carry her bed out of the burning house or Henry Fonda marching past the house on the way to battle but can't remember the whole movie. Thanks for the heads up.
 

1861colt

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Yes, I liked the movie too. Sad the depictions of the Indian massacres, knowing those brutalities really happened and the brave misfortunates were real heroes.
1939 was a bad year for good movies because there were so many good ones that didn't get the best recognition Gone With The Wind stole the Awards and then there was Stagecoach, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Snow White. Funny, but Gone With The Wind frankly my dear I didn't give a d---, EXCEPT for the little part where Scarlett was escaping the plantation in the dark and she was waving her 1861 Colt around to get people moving and ward off any potential bad guys. The only part where she showed guts. (that's just my opinion).
 

nagantino

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I've been waiting to see that movie again. Just reread the book about 2 months ago and wanted to see how closely the movie followed it. Last time I saw the film was probably 20 years ago. I can remember scenes from the movie like Herkimer losing his leg and the old lady making the Indians carry her bed out of the burning house or Henry Fonda marching past the house on the way to battle but can't remember the whole movie. Thanks for the heads up.
Just remembered this......many years ago I was drinking with my girlfriend in a packed bar in Belfast. I suggested we go home to watch a movie. Just as I was saying the words I fell off me stool. Everyone laughed and when I sat down again someone asked what the movie was I was in a rush to see. “ Drums along the Floorhawk” I replied. To much Guinnes.
 

Iron Jim Rackham

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I would disagree that movies about the 18th century were poorly made, prior to Last of the Mohicans. I think Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon did an excellent job or portraying 18th century European life. Amadeus also depicted 18th century European life great attention to detail. LOTM is fun to watch but Hawkeye's rifle looks nothing like what a pre-revolutionary longrifle would have looked like. Hollywood isn't history. Thus whether you're watching Drums Along The Mohawk, Last of the Mohicans, Barry Lyndon or Amadeus, you're watch film adaptations of fictional novels or plays. The movies weren't produced as history lessons but with the intent to entertain and make money.
 

wiksmo

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I had not seen the entire movie before, only small segments previewed on TCM. So I did record it and watched it last night. As @Iron Jim Rackham said, I was quite entertained. There were some great individual characters portrayed. I thought the valley photography was great, enjoyed the beautiful depiction of life lived outdoors. And then the sequence that put me on the edge of my chair. It was the lengthy scene with wiry Gil running from the three, much more fit-looking Indians. I never thought his escape from the fort to get help would succeed! Liked the movie. ~wiksmo
 

rickystl

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I remember as a kid watching this 1939 movie (more than once) and was thrilled to see them shooting flintlocks. But I remember I kept wondering why the frizzens never moved and no pan smoke. Of course years later I learned they were mocked up prop rifles made from trapdoors. Somewhere, a long time ago, I remember reading they would paint the trapdoor locks a brass color as they would actually look like steel/iron in the early B&W films. It seemed they would use genuine flintlocks for close-up scenes, and the trapdoors for shooting scenes. But I guess the average viewer isn't supposed to notice this. I still watch this movie every 2/3 years, and still enjoy it.

Also read that due to the effort at authenticity, the 1992 film DATM went way over budget. But the movie turned out to be a huge success anyway.MV5BZWU0OWJmNjItYzQ0Ny00NzEzLWI5ZDctMTJhM2I0NDBjY2M3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDI2NDg0NQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR...jpgDSC00034 (Medium).JPGDSC00036 (Medium).JPG
 

Bouncer1947

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It’s a good movie. John Ford tended to make great movies and I think this is one. Ok, with that out of the way....I don’t think that movie could be made today. The portrayal of Native Indians would stop it in its tracks. The Last of the Mohicans did a good job of the technical side, appropriate firearms and clothing, but it dared to show the cruelty of the times, especially among the Indians. That reality would not get made today.
 

Bouncer1947

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You're right of course about the cruelity, however please read some of Eckert books..historical fiction but pretty accurate..both white and red men were very cruel during that era
 

Alexei

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I agree with all the great comments. I was fortunate enough to actually be shown DAM in High School history class (thank you Mr.Marcy ! ), back in 1964. It inspired a life-long fascination with the French and Indian War.
 

Flinty Scot

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These close-ups of the modified trapdoors are impressive, not the least for the trouble they took to mock up a flintlock (for distance or soft focus shots).
I have to locate a copy of "Drums" for my collection. I don't recall ever seeing it.
 
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