Drums Along the Mohawk

1939

Drama / History / Romance / War / Western

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) download yts

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Henry Fonda as Gilbert Martin
John Carradine as Caldwell
Ward Bond as Adam Hartman
Clara Blandick as Mrs. Borst
720p 1080p
743.08 MB
1280*720
Unrated
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S Unknown
1.56 GB
1920*1080
Unrated
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S Unknown

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Terrell-4 7 / 10

Three-strip Technicolor in all its glory!

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 getting' back to work. There's going' to be a heap to do from now on." And we know he's talking about building a nation, not just a new farm.

The movie is effective despite John Ford's long-time propensity for ham-handed humor, sentimental myth building and his indulgence in stereotypical portrayals of Indians as either child-like objects of amusement or animal-like objects of fear. What saves this story, as it saved many of Ford's films, is his great talent for cinematic story-telling. As corn-ball as some of the scenes in this movie are -- the short, chubby drunk or Gil's amazement that his wife is giving birth or the wise but child-like behavior of the Christian Indian chief -- we still are caught up in Gil's and Lana's story. Although the movie is particularly a paean to the women who had to struggle on, sometimes fighting, sometimes waiting, Ford gives the film an unusual unwarlike tone. The widow Mrs. McKennar, who took Gil and Lana in when their farm was destroyed, looks at Gil marching off to his first battle and thinks about her husband. "Sometimes he'd wave. Ten to one he wasn't even seeing me. He was thinking about all those men, you see. All those men he went out to fight...to kill and be killed...blast his eyes, loving it." One powerful scene has Gil and the other men back from the battle. They won but it didn't go well. Gil has collapsed, and as Lana tends to him he barely notices her. He just stares into the distance while he tells what happened when they were ambushed. "I got down back of a log and aimed at a fellow. He leaped straight up in the air. Fell forward on his face. After that we just kept shooting as fast as we could load for I don't know how long. Adam Hartman came over beside me. His musket was broke. He had a spear. He kept grinning. I remember thinking, 'He's having a good time. He likes this.' Pretty soon he pointed off. I saw an Indian coming toward us, naked. I tried to load but it was too late. Adam stood up and braced his spear and the Indian came down. I never saw a fellow look so funny, so surprised. He just hung there, with his mouth open...lookin' at us, not sayin' a word. I had to shoot him, there wasn't anything else to do."

Ford pushes the buttons of duty, faith and patriotism. We've learned that war isn't the glorious struggle some make it out to be. Still, Ford shows us that fighting to protect our land, to protect our chance to build our farm and keep our children safe is proper. In 1939, that was a strong message. So was his theme of patriotism with which he closes the movie. At the fort in Mohawk Valley a company of regular soldiers arrives to tell the people that the war has been won, that Cornwallis has surrendered to Washington. They're carrying a flag. A churchman looks at it and says to the others, "So that's our new flag, the thing we've been fighting for. Thirteen stripes for the colonies and thirteen stars in a circle for the Union." And with that a couple of men take the flag and climb to the top of the church steeple, where they tie it down so that it waves in the wind. Ford knew how to punch home a point, alright.

Fonda and Colbert were both fine actors. Fonda, in particular, brings, as usual, a strong sense of decency to his role. While I think he and Colbert make a slightly improbable pair (Colbert in all her roles, for me, seems to have a sly worldliness that makes her so good at sophisticated comedy), they work well together. The movie is really war from a woman's point of view, and Colbert brings it off.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Yeoman Farmers In the Mohawk Valley

Drums Along the Mohawk is the story of newlyweds Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert and the trials they faced trying to make a life in the Mohawk River Valley during the Revolutionary War.

The Upstate New York theater save for the key battle of Saratoga was one of the backwater areas of the American Revolution. Still it has a colorful history and it's the one area of the Revolution where the British made use of their allies among the Indians.

Specifically the Iroquois who had supported the British against the French in the Seven Years War 20 year earlier. As a consequence of that support, the Indians were guaranteed no white settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. Saying that and enforcing that were two different propositions. Farmer pioneers as depicted by Fonda and Colbert were not about to be turned back by words in the Treaty of Paris. Of course the Indian side to it was never told on screen at that time in Hollywood.

Still those were brave people who pioneered and the film is a tribute to them. The real person of Nicholas Herkimer and his brave death in the Battle of Oriskany is woven into this story. Herkimer is played by Roger Imhoff and he was the son of German settlers from Hanover. Remember George III was Duke of Hanover and lots of German settlers came to the colonies. Imhoff plays Herkimer with correct German accent and as the gallant hero he was.

John Carradine plays Caldwell the one eyed Tory who leads the Iroquois, Why John Ford just didn't use the real name of Walter Butler for Carradine's character I couldn't say. Yet Caldwell is based on Butler who was right up there with Benedict Arnold as one of the Revolution's deepest, darkest villains. Carradine does well with the part, no shades of gray in his portrayal. You might recall that Butler was one of the 'jury' at the trial in The Devil and Daniel Webster and Lionel Barrymore played him in D.W. Griffith's silent classic, America.

Edna May Oliver is the pioneer widow woman who takes in Fonda and Colbert after their own place is burned to the ground during a raid and won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She was a hardy soul and she steals the film.

This is John Ford's first Technicolor feature and he really did well in the cinematography department. The forest greens of upstate New York really are depicted well, especially in the part where Henry Fonda is being chased by the Indians as he goes for help in the climax.

Upstate New York was a key area of the American Revolution. With the British occupying New York City for most of the war, upstate was the bridge in which those rabble rousers in New England kept connected with the south. It's why the Battle of Saratoga was so important, why Benedict Arnold's aborted treachery in turning West Point over to them was so important. If it wasn't for those yeoman farmers in the Mohawk Valley there might not be an America today.

And the Mohawk Valley was more important afterwards because another man with vision who was New York's governor named DeWitt Clinton had an idea to extend the headwaters of the Mohawk River straight to Lake Erie with a canal. That act opened up the northwest to trade and made New York the largest city in the USA. No doubt the descendants of Colbert and Fonda worked on the Erie Canal as well.

Drums Along the Mohawk is a nice tribute film to some brave people whose battles on that sideshow theater of the war made possible the very existence of America.

Reviewed by Terrell-4 7 / 10

Neglected gem! One of John Ford's finest films...

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 getting' back to work. There's going' to be a heap to do from now on." And we know he's talking about building a nation, not just a new farm.

The movie is effective despite John Ford's long-time propensity for ham-handed humor, sentimental myth building and his indulgence in stereotypical portrayals of Indians as either child-like objects of amusement or animal-like objects of fear. What saves this story, as it saved many of Ford's films, is his great talent for cinematic story-telling. As corn-ball as some of the scenes in this movie are -- the short, chubby drunk or Gil's amazement that his wife is giving birth or the wise but child-like behavior of the Christian Indian chief -- we still are caught up in Gil's and Lana's story. Although the movie is particularly a paean to the women who had to struggle on, sometimes fighting, sometimes waiting, Ford gives the film an unusual unwarlike tone. The widow Mrs. McKennar, who took Gil and Lana in when their farm was destroyed, looks at Gil marching off to his first battle and thinks about her husband. "Sometimes he'd wave. Ten to one he wasn't even seeing me. He was thinking about all those men, you see. All those men he went out to fight...to kill and be killed...blast his eyes, loving it." One powerful scene has Gil and the other men back from the battle. They won but it didn't go well. Gil has collapsed, and as Lana tends to him he barely notices her. He just stares into the distance while he tells what happened when they were ambushed. "I got down back of a log and aimed at a fellow. He leaped straight up in the air. Fell forward on his face. After that we just kept shooting as fast as we could load for I don't know how long. Adam Hartman came over beside me. His musket was broke. He had a spear. He kept grinning. I remember thinking, 'He's having a good time. He likes this.' Pretty soon he pointed off. I saw an Indian coming toward us, naked. I tried to load but it was too late. Adam stood up and braced his spear and the Indian came down. I never saw a fellow look so funny, so surprised. He just hung there, with his mouth open...lookin' at us, not sayin' a word. I had to shoot him, there wasn't anything else to do."

Ford pushes the buttons of duty, faith and patriotism. We've learned that war isn't the glorious struggle some make it out to be. Still, Ford shows us that fighting to protect our land, to protect our chance to build our farm and keep our children safe is proper. In 1939, that was a strong message. So was his theme of patriotism with which he closes the movie. At the fort in Mohawk Valley a company of regular soldiers arrives to tell the people that the war has been won, that Cornwallis has surrendered to Washington. They're carrying a flag. A churchman looks at it and says to the others, "So that's our new flag, the thing we've been fighting for. Thirteen stripes for the colonies and thirteen stars in a circle for the Union." And with that a couple of men take the flag and climb to the top of the church steeple, where they tie it down so that it waves in the wind. Ford knew how to punch home a point, alright.

Fonda and Colbert were both fine actors. Fonda, in particular, brings, as usual, a strong sense of decency to his role. While I think he and Colbert make a slightly improbable pair (Colbert in all her roles, for me, seems to have a sly worldliness that makes her so good at sophisticated comedy), they work well together. The movie is really war from a woman's point of view, and Colbert brings it off.

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