07/29/2014  
Revolution: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Combo & DVD Aug 19Cuban Fury on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 29Draft Day on Digital HD Aug 19, VOD Aug 29, Blu-ray Combo Sep 2Prom Night on Blu-ray and DVD Sep 9Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II in Theaters Aug 29 & Blu-ray Sep 16Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, and More Aug 19The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray Aug 12

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Kelly Ripa Reveals the Hardest Part of Her Family's 'Ni...
Revolution: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Combo...
Sandra Bullock Celebrates Her 50th Birthday At Cowboy B...
Kevin Smith Blames Jennifer Garner for Ending Friendshi...
Cuban Fury on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 29...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

20th Century Fox presents
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

"We still have the land." 
- Lana (Claudette Colbert)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: June 30, 2005

Stars: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda
Other Stars: Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Dorris Bowdoin, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Robert Lowery, Roger Imhof
Director: John Ford

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:43m:54s
Release Date: May 24, 2005
UPC: 024543172833
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-B- C+

DVD Review

As a director, John Ford was many things, but revisionist wasn't one of them; his films, for better or worse, embody the values of manifest destiny, and that couldn't be more clear here. (It's no accident that his leading man of choice was John Wayne, and this movie was made the same year as his first collaboration with Wayne, Stagecoach.) In John Ford's America the white man's burden is a moral obligation—good Christian people are on the side of right, and it's their job to conquer the bloodthirsty natives, no matter how much carnage it takes. Drums Along the Mohawk is just the sort of picture against which a movie like Dances With Wolves rebels; its politics may seem old-fashioned at best and offensive at worst, but it's still an entertaining tale.

We meet our heroes, Gil and Lana Martin, on their wedding day, in the auspicious year of 1776—they leave the comforts of civilized Albany for the wilds of Ohio, and Lana is plucked rudely from her family's bourgeois home to a log cabin built by her husband, with no amenities, and natives, even the friendly ones, rudely barging in and scaring the wits out of her. (Native Americans is now the term of choice, but it probably won't come as a shock that this movie refers to them only and always as Indians.) Can this rich upstate New York girl transform herself into a frontier woman, especially in this time of revolution?

The plot of Drums Along the Mohawk is curiously ambling, and the movie is motored ahead principally by its stars. Though she's listed second on the front of the DVD case, Claudette Colbert, as Lana, gets top billing; she keeps her character from being a spoiled little rich girl, and demonstrates a fearsome colonial mettle. Henry Fonda's Gil is a classically upright American performance from him; he had just played the title role in Young Mr. Lincoln, and the following year he and Ford would team up again for the actor's finest hour, as Tom Joad. Ford never had much of a touch for comedy, and this movie is no exception; the principal bad guy doesn't get much screen time, but his eye patch and his Tory politics are a dead giveaway, and when he, Caldwell (John Carradine), teams up with the crazed Senecas to attack the settlers, it's no surprise. Especially memorable, too, is Edna May Oliver, as a flinty frontier widow with the proverbial heart of gold; she takes a shine to the Martins, though her one remaining goal in life now is to die in the house that her late husband built.

All of the able-bodied men in the Mohawk Valley are packed off to General Washington's army, though Ford never gives us any glorious battle scenes—all we get is the aftermath and the carnage, which is considerable. The director gives such humanity to the white people that his portrait of the natives becomes that much harder to take—with a couple of exceptions, they're liquor-swilling, crazed pyromaniacs, routinely referred to by epithets like "filthy painted heathens." (The few other natives, all of whom have been Christianized, are made the butt of jokes because of their uneasy grasp of English.) So if you're reflexively unable to watch something that's so obviously politically incorrect, you'll want to steer clear; but taken warts and all, it's a pretty kinetic if structurally ungainly piece of filmmaking.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: One of Ford's first color pictures, this one was given a very thorough going-over for its transfer to DVD, as an accompanying restoration comparison demonstrates. Still, the palette in these early color movies wasn't quite worked out yet, and the blues and reds look far more rich and full than the browns and yellows.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The technical limits of '30s filmmaking are more evident here, as both the mono and stereo tracks are pocked with static and buzz.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The aforementioned restoration comparison is very informative—it offers side-by-side clips of a transfer from 1985 with the 2004 restoration, and then compares the latter with the final digital video restoration done for DVD. Though the feature is in color, the original trailer is in black and white; the disc also opens with a thumping, overcut anti-piracy ad, liable to induce headaches in the Fonda and Colbert fan bases.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

For good and for bad, a vintage John Ford picture, with two strong lead performances, and a fascinating glimpse at the early capacity of Technicolor.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

celebrity, television, morning talk, live with kelly & michael, kelly ripa, mark consuelos, david burtka, neil patrick harris, adventure, movie, chelsea handler, whitney cummings, sandra bullock, million dollar cowboy bar in jackson hole, wyoming, diane mcmanus, southern soul all stars, kevin smith, ben affleck, jennifer garner, mallrats, chasing amy, dogma, jay and silent bob strike back, batman v superman: dawn of justice, comedy, box office, movies, drama, horror, music, nick jonas, jonas brothers, jason evigan, r&b, chains, donna dixon, bosom buddies, dan aykroyd, james brown biopic, get on up, saturday night live, doctor detroit, fx, fargo, martin freeman, billy bob thornton, allison tolman, animation, tca awards, breaking bad, true detective, matther mcconaughey, hbo, itunes festival 2014, september, pharrell williams, kylie minogue, maroon 5, david guetta, sam smith, blondie, beck, kasabian, philip seymour hoffman, february death, cooper, tallulah, willa, mimi odonnell, james cahill jr., david friedman, action, app, james garner, maverick, the rockford files, devine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, 8 simple rules, the children's hour, doris day, reality, marvel comics, thor, femail, god of thunder, mjolmir, super hero, johnny winter, blues guitar player, zurich switzerland, johnny winter album, willie dixon, walter horton, sex tape, the purge: anarchy, planes: fire & rescue, dawn of the planet of the apes

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact