Drum, The (1938)
“In our mountains, you are wise or dead. I beg you to be wise.”
Unfortunately, his role in this flick isn’t large enough by far, and the story itself comes across as simply jingoistic imperialism. Massey is convincingly wild-eyed and obsessed:
… mouthing rhetoric that would sound familiar in modern-day tales of Jihadi fighters, while perpetuating other-izing fears: “I see a wave — a wave of men. Lean, hard, hungry free men from the hills, swooping down on the fat, soft comfortable slaves of the plains, their white throats ripe for the knife — a story as old as time… I see the mosques and domes rise again.” As Jay Carr asserts in his article for TCM, it can “hardly be regarded as anything more than dated, imperial chest-thumping, patronizing and paternal, in which Brits alone know what’s good for the rest of the world, in this case India”; meanwhile, Stuart Galbraith of DVD Talk notes that Sabu’s character is “firmly ensconced as a symbol of the contentedly colonized”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
One thought on “Drum, The (1938)”
First viewing. Not must-see.
Simply put, it’s nearly impossible to add much about a film that is widely recognized as propaganda.
Looked at as purely fiction (which may not be easy), it’s not bad for a film of its type. The action sequences near the end are well-handled.