On the pre-revolutionary frontier of the Mohawk Valley, newly-weds Lana (Claudette Colbert) and Gil (Henry Fonda) take shelter in a nearby fort after repeated raids by Native American tribes.
John Ford is responsible for some the most archetypal Westerns in cinema history. While not the jewel in the Ford lexicon that includes Stagecoach, The Searchers and The Grapes of Wrath , Drums Along The Mohawk is certainly no slouch of the genre. Its impact on the cinema landscape of the time was limited due to 1939 being a stellar year for movies (Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Stagecoach to name just a few).
The pre-revolutionary era is not a well mined historical period in film, especially in this genre. It provides an intriguing backdrop for characters. The growing anti-British sentiment and the feeling of isolation and danger across the edges of the frontier.
Henry Fonda is the consummate all American leading man in Ford’s American dream building but Colbert is oddly miscast. She looks altogether too groomed and put together to be taken seriously as a frontiers-woman and lacks any real chemistry with Fonda.
Packed with beautiful, rugged backdrops, Drums Along the Mohawk deserves to be considered alongside Ford’s better known work. His mark runs through it at every turn as he builds another slice of America, his way.
Director: John Ford
Starring: Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Ward Bond
Running Time: 99 minutes
Release Date: 15 September 2014