DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939) C 103m dir: John Ford
w/Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Dorris Bowdon, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Robert Lowery, Roger Imhof
From The Movie Guide: "A sentimental beauty. This richly directed and acted colonial epic concerns Fonda and Colbert, young newlyweds starting out on the frontier of the Mohawk Valley just before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Their transition from a life of privilege to that of the rugged frontier proves an exercise in stamina. To help fend off Indian attacks engineered by the British, Gil [Fonda] joins the militia and goes off to fight; finally, after many battles and hardships, the future of the new Americans begins to look bright. This historical chronicle directed by John Ford is made believable through its attention to small details, presenting a mosaic of frontier life. One of Ford's biggest problems in making the spectacular film was the unavailability of necessary props and costumes; Fox had not specialized in costume or historical films, particularly those with 18th-century settings, and almost everything had to be made from scratch at great cost. The ancient flintlock muskets brandished by scores of extras were the real weapons of the era, however, not reproductions. A Fox propman chased the flintlocks down in Ethiopia --- where they had actually seen combat in the mid-1930s, when they were used by Ethiopian soldiers against Mussolini's armies. This was Ford's first color film, his cameras recording the lush forests and valleys of northern Utah. So rich and verdant is the color in this film that it later provided stock footage for several Fox productions, including BUFFALO BILL (1944) and MOHAWK (1956)."
Edna May Oliver received an Oscar nomination for her performance as Mrs. Sarah McKlennar.