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  • Drums Along The Mohawk [DVD] [1939]
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Drums Along The Mohawk [DVD] [1939]

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  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Darryl Zanuck
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Nov. 2005
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002HSE04
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,154 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


John Ford directs this Technicolor outdoor adventure set before the Revolutionary War in the American Colonial period. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert star as Gilbert and Magdelana (Lana) Martin, a newlywed young couple trying to establish their homestead in New York State's Mohawk Valley, which is under constant attack from Native American tribespeople. Lana, who was brought up in a wealthy family, finds the life rough and difficult, but things improve as the farm becomes established and she gives birth to their first son. But their comfort is shortlived: Gilbert, who was wounded in battle with the Indians, has finally recuperated when the Valley's fledgling community falls prey to a fresh bout of attacks.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 May 2013
Format: DVD
Drums Along the Mohawk is directed by John Ford and adapted to screenplay by Sonya Levien & Lamar Trotti from the novel written by Walter D. Edmonds. It stars Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, Edna May Oliver, John Carradine and Ward Bond. Music is by Alfred Newman and cinematography by Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan.

Settlers on the New York frontier face up to the challenges of the Revolution and hostile forces homing in on their settlements.

In what was a stellar year for cinema, John Ford had three films released, Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln and Drums Along the Mohawk, of the three it's not unfair to say that the latter is seen as the lesser light of his 1939 output. Yet this in no way means it's a weak film, it isn't, although it has some problems, it's just a measure of the director that he was able to churn out quality more often than not.

Drums Along the Mohawk is very much a quintessential Ford movie, it's awash with sentiment, an awareness of the value of community and of course some muscular love of America. The attention to detail of frontier life - and the knowledge of the folk who fought in that first wave of the Revolution - is superb, boosted no end by the magnificent Technicolor and the way Glennon and Rennahan (Oscar Nominated Best Color Cinematography) bring the Utah landscapes vividly to life.

The story allows Ford to produce some great moments. A battle scarred Gilbert Martin (Fonda) musing on the horrors of war holds the viewer spellbound, the edge of seat attack on Fort Herkimer that closes the picture excites and frightens in equal measure, and a chase sequence that sees Gil pursued by three Mohawks is a thing of beauty as it begins under a blood red sky and continues through the changing landscape.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 4 July 2004
Format: DVD
There are relatively few movies about the American Revolution. I think this is due to the fact that the American side lost most of the battles of that war. The battle at Saratoga, the surprise attack at Trenton, and the siege of Yorktown are part of the short list of American victories, and except for the occasion television movie or mini-series, they are rarely touched upon. Consequently, "Drums Along the Mohawk" remains the best of American movie about the revolution even though it was made before World War I and even though the redcoats are not really involved in the fight.
"Drums Along the Mohawk" does not start off as a movie about the American Revolution. Instead it begins as a movie about settling the frontier, which, at that point, was upstate New York. The focus is on a pioneer couple, newlyweds, Gilbert (Henry Fonda) and Magdalena (Claudette Colbert), called Lana. Martin is a farmer who brings his bride to the Mohawk Valley where their home is burned out by Indians allied with the British. The couple are taken in by neighbors after that happens and Martin joins the militia, but the settlers are going to need more men than that to fight the Indians and save the fort from attack.
Based on a novel by Walter D. Edmonds the screenplay for "Drums Along the Mohawk" is by Sonya Levien and Lamar Trotti, although William Faulkner worked on it without receiving credit as well. Edmonds' history novels were all set in upstate New York and "Drums Along the Mohawk" is about the warfare between the settlers and the Six Nations of the Iroquois allied with the British. The Battle of Oriskany in 1777, fought in a forest, was a American victory although their commander General Nicholas Herkimer (Ralph Imhof) died of his wounds in one of the moving scenes of the film.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BUBS. on 24 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
this film is worth watching because it shows us the problems and dilemmas of the early settlers in the wild west . the film i recieved jumps at the start of the film mostly 2 mins sometimes 8 mins there was a tiny mark under disc's surface inside edge , the seller happily replaced the disc and it arrived fully sealed however once i opened the case the very same mark is under the surface and the film is jumping 2 mins into the start .this was uncanny and it has to be a manufacturing problem with the disc ,the film plays perfectly after the jump and you don't miss anything really but be warned of the probable fault.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
When Lana Martin (Claudette Colbert) arrives by wagon with her new husband, Gil (Henry Fonda), to Mohawk Valley and his homestead, she isn't prepared for what she sees. The time is just before the Revolutionary War. The valley is beautiful and unspoiled, but the homestead is a one-room log cabin Gil has built, and the farm will need to be worked by the two of them. Lana has never seen an Indian, but in the course of the movie she's going to see a lot, and most won't be friendly.

Drums Along the Mohawk is John Ford's curious but effective look at one aspect of the Revolutionary War. The story isn't about George Washington or the great battles. It's the story of what happens in this one, isolated valley in upstate New York. While there are Indian attacks and we can see the results of a battle or two, the story really is about Lana Martin and how she changed. We watch her and Gil build their farm, and we see it burnt to the ground when war comes to the valley. From a young woman in a big, frilly dress facing a life she had never imagined, by the end of the movie Lana is wearing a soldier's coat and is prepared to shoot down an attacker, which she does with hardly a blink. She sees Gil return from his first battle almost shell-shocked. We see her and Gil having to become hired hands when their farm is destroyed. We see her suffer a miscarriage. At the start of the movie, Gil was an honest, hard-working young man, almost naive at times. Now he and Lana are watching the birth of their new nation. They've both become...capable. "Well," Gil says to her at the close, "I reckon we'd better be gettin' back to work. There's goin' to be a heap to do from now on." And we know he's talking about building a nation, not just a new farm.
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