Drum (1976 film)

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Drum (1976).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve Carver
Screenplay byNorman Wexler
Based onDrum
by Kyle Onstott
Produced by
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byCarl Kress
Music byCharlie Smalls
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • July 30, 1976 (1976-07-30)
Running time
110 minutes
100 minutes (UK)
CountryUnited States

Drum is a 1976 American film based on the 1962 Kyle Onstott novel of the same name.[1] It was released by United Artists and is a sequel to the film Mandingo, released in 1975. The film stars Warren Oates, Pam Grier, Ken Norton, and was directed by Steve Carver.[2]


This film picks up the story 15 years after the events of the first film. Drum (Norton) has been born to a white prostitute (Vega), who raises him with her black lesbian lover (Kelly). Drum grows up to be a fighter and is often forced to bare-knuckle-box other slaves for the entertainment of the owners, one of whom is a gay Frenchman named Bernard DeMarigny (Colicos). DeMarigny wants to sleep with Drum, but his advances are rejected by the slave and DeMarigny vows revenge against Drum. Drum and his friend Blaise (Kotto) are eventually sold to plantation owner Hammond Maxwell (Oates) and are both taken to his plantation to work. Regine (Grier) is purchased by Maxwell as well and is taken to the plantation for his own personal desires as a bedwench.

After arriving at Maxwell's plantation, Regine is set up in the bedroom above Hammond. Augusta Chauvel (Lewis), Maxwell's fiancé is jealous and has other plans for Regine. Maxwell's daughter Sophie (Smith) wants to sleep with Drum, but he won't for fear of being killed. Sophie also attempts to sleep with Blaise and after being rejected, tells her father that Blaise has raped her, which is a lie. Blaise is put in chains and Maxwell decides that he must be castrated for the alleged rape.

Meanwhile, a dinner party has been arranged to celebrate the engagement of Maxwell and Chauvel. DeMarigny has been invited to attend the celebration and the guests end up discussing the best way to castrate a slave at the dinner party. While the party is taking place, Drum frees Blaise from his chains and there ends up being a violent uprising from the slaves at the engagement party. DeMarigny shoots Blaise during the fighting and Drum in turn grabs hold of DeMarigny's privates and rips them off. Both slaves and slavers are killed during the battle, but Maxwell and Chauvel are all saved by Drum. In appreciation for saving his family, Maxwell sets Drum free.




The film was initially being directed by Burt Kennedy, but he was replaced due to creative differences with the executive producer, Dino De Laurentiis. Carver then took over as director with only four days of preparation, the film's print made use of material filmed by both Kennedy and Carver.[3] According to a 2020 interview with Carver, Burt Kennedy had only shot the opening sequence in Puerto Rico. Embarrassed by the script, Kennedy walked off the picture. Carver stated that "a lot of the actors followed him off of the picture". Carver then had to recast several roles and brought on "Pam Grier, Royal Dano and Brenda Sykes and several others".[4]


Home media[edit]

A restored edition of Drum has been released on DVD and blu-ray by Kino Lorber (2014), which includes an audio commentary by director Steve Carver.[5]


Critical response[edit]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote: "Life on the old plantation was horrendous, I agree, but movies like this are less interested in information than titillation, which, in turn, reflects contemporary obsessions rather more than historical truths."[2]


  1. ^ Kyle Onstott (1962). Drum. Dial Press. ISBN 9780449229200.
  2. ^ a b Canby, Vincent (July 31, 1976). "Drum (1976)". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Susan Compo (April 17, 2009). Warren Oates: A Wild Life. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 351–. ISBN 978-0-8131-7332-0.
  4. ^ "Steve Carver interview". THE FLASHBACK FILES. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  5. ^ "Drum (Blu-ray)".

External links[edit]