Apache Drums

A modest but unusually effective B Western about a small township overrun by Mescalero Apaches when a warning from the gambler expelled earlier by the mayor goes unheeded. Beautifully staged by Fregonese, especially the climactic attack on the church where the survivors make their stand, with painted Apaches erupting through the high windows like demons from hell. Val Lewton's last production, it is full of touches instantly recognisable from his RKO series: the subtle ambivalence undermining attitudes and ethical principles, the generous stance against racism, the concern for childhood (the gambler distracts the frightened kids with an exhibition of sleight-of-hand), the love of traditional songs (the kids led into a chorus of 'Oranges and Lemons'; the minister countering the Apache chanting by launching into 'The Men of Harlech').

Release details

Duration: 72 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Hugo Fregonese
Screenwriter: David Chandler
Cast: Stephen McNally
Coleen Gray
Arthur Shields
Willard Parker
James Griffith
Armando Silvestre
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