Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1951 - APACHE DRUMS, producer Val Lewton's final film

The producer Val Lewton, had a lot of trouble restarting his career after he left RKO.  Lewton finally ended up at Universal Studios in charge of the kind of "B" movie that he knew how to make.  Apache Drums is a decent little western which has a number of Val Lewton's famous RKO horror film touches. 

The film is fairly standard Indians vs the settlers stuff, with lots of interesting things going on.  The main lead Steven McNally was not an "A" list actor and is probably chiefly remembered for playing the bad guy in Winchester 73 and the rapist in Johnny Belinda.  Coleen Gray's career never really took off after Red River, as you can see we were not dealing with some stellar leads but journeyman actors.

As for the Val Lewton touches, well the actual beating of the drums in Apache Drums reminded me of Lewton's classic horror film I Walked With A Zombie.  The final siege inside the town church at night is full of Lewton's trademarked shadows and sound effects. 

A fairly good western film from one of Hollywood's most influential producers.

75 minutes.

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