Death Drums Along the River
|Death Drums Along the River|
|Directed by||Lawrence Huntington|
|Produced by||Harry Alan Towers|
|Written by||Harry Alan Towers
|Music by||Sidney Torch|
|Distributed by||Constantin Film (Germany)
Planet Films (UK)
|Running time||83 minutes|
Death Drums Along the River (titled Sanders in the USA) is a 1963 British-German international co-production, using the characters from Edgar Wallace's 1911 novel Sanders of the River and Zoltán Korda's 1935 film based on the novel, but placed in a totally different story. Filmed on location in South Africa, it features Richard Todd and Marianne Koch leading a cast of British, German and South African actors.
In The Gambia (during British colonial rule), two policemen patrolling a wharf sight a bag of nuts dropped by stevedores. As the bag breaks the workers discover a pouch that was in the bag of nuts that is quickly grabbed by a man who escapes after killing one of the policemen. Police Commissioner Sanders (Todd) questions Pearson (Bill Brewer), a suspected criminal, but finds no information.
At the same time, a Dr. Jung (Koch) arrives at the airport and is met by Todd's assistant Inspector Hamilton (Jeremy Lloyd). Dr. Jung is going to a clinic up country near the Senegalese Border run by Dr. Weiss (Albert Lieven), Dr. Schneider (Walter Rilla) and Nurse Marlene (Vivi Bach). Also on the plane with Dr. Jung is an American journalist (Robert Arden) who wishes to visit the clinic to do a story.
Commissioner Sanders begins to suspect the clinic as a location for smuggled diamonds from across the border.
- Richard Todd as Inspector Harry Sanders
- Marianne Koch as Dr. Inge Jung
- Albert Lieven as Dr. Weiss
- Walter Rilla as Dr. Schneider
- Jeremy Lloyd as Hamilton
- Robert Arden as Hunter
- Vivi Bach as Marlene
- Bill Brewer as Pearson
- Simon Sabela as Bosambo
Todd would reprise the role of Inspector Harry Sanders in the follow-up film, Coast of Skeletons (1964).
Harry Alan Towers was active in South Africa producing several films with West German financing from Constantin Film and a cast of West German actors. The film has very little to do with Edgar Wallace's Sanders of the River except the name of Sanders (now a Police Commissioner), the boat Zaire (that is now a small craft rather than a steamer) and Simon Sabela playing Bosambo in a very small role. The film was marketed in Germany as one of the then popular Edgar Wallace series of films.
The intertribal warfare of Edgar Wallace's work and the 1935 British film has been replaced by a standard detective story involving murder and diamond smuggling. The fictional nation is not given a name, but in the spirit of the times Dr Jung asks Sanders what he'll do when the nation is granted independence. Sanders replies he'll stay on "if they'll have me".
- p.217 Bergfelder, Tim International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and International Co-Productions in the 1960's 2005 Berghann Books
- Todd, Richard In Camera: An Autobiography continued 1989 Hutchinson