War Drums (1957)

Approved   |    |  Action, Drama, Romance


War Drums (1957) Poster

The friendship between a white man and an Apache chief is tested when they fall in love with the same woman during a time of frontier conflict.

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5.8/10
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11 August 2011 | bkoganbing
5
| Before Cochise........Before Geronimo.........
Before Cochise and Geronimo became the charismatic leaders of the Apache resistance to American invasion of their Arizona homeland, the most known of their warrior chiefs was Mangas Coloradas in this film played by Lex Barker. If you're looking for the real story of Mangas Coloradas you won't find it in War Drums.

Borrowing from the real story as told in Broken Arrow between Cochise and Tom Jeffords, War Drums has Lex Barker in a romantic rivalry between himself and white trader Ben Johnson over a Mexican prisoner Joan Taylor. When Barker comes to trade with Taylor recently taken from some low lives of her own people, Johnson is willing to bargain with Barker he's taken with her beauty and spirit. But so is Barker and it's no sale.

The romantic triangle doesn't separate the two friends, but white encroachment does and their story is the rest of the film.

Too bad the story had not any truth to it. In this story of the early Civil War years, Mangas Coloradas who was born in 1790 was already beginning his 70th year as this story unfolds. He'd been at war off and on with both Mexicans and Americans for decades. His son-in-law was Cochise who is not depicted here.

When Mangas Coloradas died in 1863 it was because of some treachery involved. His real story would make a great film.

Barker, Taylor, and Johnson and the rest of the cast give sincere performances. The film is photographed nicely in fitting Southwest locations. Mangas Coloradas deserves better though and he deserves the truth.

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