Movie poster for the film Distant Drums
|Directed by||Raoul Walsh|
|Produced by||Milton Sperling|
|Written by||Niven Busch
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Editing by||Folmar Blangsted|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release dates||December 25, 1951 (New York City, New York)
December 29 (wide)
February 13, 1952 (France)
March 27 (Italy)
August 1 (Germany)
September 11 (Hong Kong)
September 19 (Finland)
December 18 (Japan)
|Running time||101 min.|
|Box office||$2.85 million (US rentals)|
Distant Drums is a 1951 film (more specifically, a "Florida Western") directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Gary Cooper. It is set during the Second Seminole War in the 1840s, with Cooper playing an Army captain who destroys a fort held by the Seminole Indians then retreats into the Everglades while under chase.
The actual location of the fort in the film was the historic Castillo de San Marcos.
In 1840, U.S. Army General Zachary Taylor sends out Lieutenant Tufts and scout Monk to a remote Florida island home where the reclusive Captain Quincy Wyatt lives with a 5-year-old son.
The soldiers' mission is to rescue men and women taken prisoner by Seminole warriors. One of them, Judy Beckett, develops a romantic attraction to Capt.Wyatt as they flee the Indians into the Everglades.
Most of the other Army troops are massacred after Wyatt and Tufts separate from them to construct canoes. Back at his home, Wyatt is distraught to find that his son is gone. He has an underwater fight to the death with Seminole chief Oscala, then is relieved to learn that his boy is safe.
- Gary Cooper as Wyatt
- Richard Webb as Tufts
- Mari Aldon as Judy
- Arthur Hunnicut as Monk
- Carl Harbaugh as Duprez
The sound effects in the 'jungle' scenes (the Everglades), playing on stereotypes and ill-informed viewers, includes Howler monkey and Kookaburra calls, neither of which were in Florida at the time.