DRUM BEAT (1954) is a nicely made Alan Ladd Western recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.
I've been interested in watching this film since seeing a wonderful comic book cover with Alan Ladd and costar Charles Bronson over at Toby's place. That scene did not disappoint, with Ladd's nervy peace pow-wow with Bronson being a high point of the film.
DRUM BEAT, made by Alan Ladd's Jaguar Productions, was inspired by a true incident, the Modoc War of 1872-73 along the Southern Oregon border. Ladd plays Johnny MacKay, an Indian fighter named a peace commissioner by President Grant. Johnny attempts to make peace with the notorious Indian chief Captain Jack (Bronson) with the help of the son (Anthony Caruso) and daughter (Marisa Pavan) of the former Modoc chief.
This film was written and directed by Delmer Daves (THE LAST WAGON), beautifully filmed in CinemaScope by J. Peverell Marley. The movie makes fantastic use of locations in the area of Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona. The final confrontation with Captain Jack in a river is marvelous. I'd also note this is about as good-looking a Warnercolor film as I've seen.
As a footnote, Marisa Pavan is now 82. She is the widow of actor Jean-Pierre Aumont. Her twin sister was actress Pier Angeli, who died in 1971. The year after DRUM BEAT was released, Pavan had an Oscar-nominated role in THE ROSE TATTOO (1955).
TRIAL (1955), and I've also very recently seen films with Anthony Caruso, Willis Bouchey, Carol Nugent, Peter Hansen, and Hayden Rorke. The cast also includes Robert Keith, Warner Anderson, Rodolfo Acosta, Strother Martin, and Isabel Jewell. James Griffith has a one-scene role as the film begins.
I previously reviewed another recent Alan Ladd release from the Warner Archive, THE BIG LAND (1957).
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.