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Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Claudette Colbert , Henry Fonda , John Ford  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)

Price: $24.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Writers: Bess Meredyth, Lamar Trotti, Sonya Levien, Walter D. Edmonds, William Faulkner
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Raymond Griffith
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007PALM0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,458 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Drums Along the Mohawk" on IMDb

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  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lawless frontier. Indian attacks. Settlers protecting themselves the only way they know how-with guns and courage. In the years before the Revolutionary War, the East was as wild as the West would be one hundred years later. Henry Fonda delivers one of his most memorable performances ever as a young frontier leader protecting his family in the backwoods of New York state. Claudette Colbert so-stars as his spirited wife. With a fine supporting cast that also includes Edna May Oliver and John Carradine, this is one of John Ford's most exciting historical dramas.

Amazon.com

Nineteen thirty-nine is often proposed as the movies' halcyon year, and three reasons why were directed by John Ford: Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk. In that exalted company Drums... would have to be accounted "merely superb"--even if it's the best film ever made about the American Revolution and, oh, only about eighth-best picture of its year.

Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert play newlyweds in New York's Mohawk Valley at the time of the Revolutionary War. That war is more a distant rumor than a direct concern of people with cabins to raise, crops to harvest, and firstborn on the way. When it comes to their valley, in the form of hitherto-peaceable Indians whipped up by a gaunt Tory with an eyepatch (John Carradine), life changes as though with the passing of a cloud shadow.

In this, his first color film, Ford created indelible images of the dawning of America: a lone wagon making its way through acres of long grass rippling in the wind; the Indians, at the onset of their first raid, seeming to materialize out of the mist, out of the very trunks of trees; a ragged line of farmers with flintlocks passing along a split-rail fence, then resolving into a column, an army, marching toward a distant horizon. (Utah's Wasatch mountain country stands in persuasively for upstate New York in pioneer days.) Edna May Oliver scored a best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination as a memorably crusty frontier widow, while Ward Bond--oddly omitted from the opening credits--claimed a place of honor in the John Ford Stock Company playing Fonda's best friend. --Richard T. Jameson


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revolutionary War classic June 26, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Drums Along the Mohawk is a very good movie about a period in American history that not many movies have been made about. Set during the Revolutionary War, the story is about two newlyweds and their new life in the Mohawk Valley. The couple is trying to establish themselves with a home and farm of their own, but are interrupted when the British and the Mohawk Indian tribe begin to raid all along the valley. The settlers must deal with the raiding Indians while also trying to survive. There is plenty here for fans of Henry Fonda also. The action scenes are excellent, especially the attack on the fort. However, it is also very effective when the characters talk about a battle and how horrible it was rather than the viewer actually seeing it. An enjoyable film that is still very good!
Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert play Gil and Lana Martin, the newlywed couple struggling to survive. Both are very good and believable as husband and wife. This was a good period for Fonda when he made The Grapes of Wrath around this time. There is an excellent supporting cast, most notably Ward Bond as Adam, Gil's friend and neighbor, Edna Mae Oliver as the widow Mrs. McLenard, who puts up Gil and Lana when their house is destroyed. She has some incredibly funny scenes especially when some marauding Indians invade her house, but she refuses to leave even as they drag her out on her bed. This is an excellent movie with a great cast and excellent story. Do not miss this Revolutionary War classic!
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119 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORICAL ADVENTURE COMES TO LIFE March 8, 2005
Format:DVD
Apple-cheeked Claubert and tall and gangly Fonda are so young, they're a pleasure to watch. All performances, including Ward Bond and Edna May Oliver, are exceptional and the color is amazing. "Drums Along The Mohawk" is an epic of the frontier that you'll want to watch again and again. Although the film takes place in upper New York State, viewing the terrain, it was probably shot in northern California. No matter. The film begins with hope alive and better things to come yet is dashed by the realities of the frontier and war. Battle scenes between indians and settlers can be a little frightening so I'd recommend that if you're going to let small children see this, an adult should sit with the child. A perfect film.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relatively Early, Excellent John Ford Movie August 31, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Relatively early, I say, because I think Ford really hit his stride in the 1940s once he started his John Wayne cavalry pictures.
"Drums Along the Mohawk" is a wonderful treatment of an era curiously left alone by most American movie studios, the Revolutionary War. Henry Fonda is a farmer on the Mohawk River in upstate NY, who brings home a "city" bride, Claudette Colbert. Much of the early part of the film is her adaptation to this backwoods life, so different from her father's home. Colbert's character is emblematic of the original settlers of the American continent, who left familiar ways behind them and set off into an adventure undreamed of. Bit by bit, her citified ways have to be jettisoned if she is to be a good wife to her honest and plain-speaking husband. Gradually their smaller domestic drama is engulfed in community concerns as the Revolutionary War whips up the warpath of the Indians surrounding the colonists, and they must fight for their very existence as that new concept, Americans.
There are some really pricless episodes in "Drums Along the Mohawk", such as when Fonda holds his newborn baby for the first time, Colbert goes into hysterics at her first encounter with an Indian, Edna May Oliver confronts Indian braves invading the sanctity of her home, and someone has to get word out of the beseiged fort to the soldiers for relief.
You'll be very glad to see "Drums Along the Mohawk", I assure you.
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