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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

.

directed by John Ford
USA 1939

Based on the best selling novel by Walter D. Edmonds, “Drums Along the Mohawk” became Ford’s first color film. A huge commercial hit, mainly because of its two stars, Fonda and Colbert, it went on to be an overlooked, thus by many considered a minor, film by Ford in the shadow of “Young Mr. Lincoln” and especially “Stagecoach”.

The story deals with a newly wed couple, who travels from “civilised” New York to the Mohawk valley and settles downs as farmers. Hardly have they arrived, before they are caught up in the revolutionary war.

Where Ford’s westerns are about history, about the men and women, especially men, who created the USA, “Drums Along the Mohawk” differs in motif, as its not so much about the war itself or the men, but about a woman, as the story concentrates on the transformation of Lana from na´ve rich girl to an independent frontier woman. Initially, she gets into a hysterical fit when seeing an Indian for the first time, but towards the end, she is a woman of action, fearing not even death, in protecting her community. This transition is beautifully underlined by her costumes. as she to begin with comes complete with bonnet and huge dresses, then changes into rural farmer clothes and finally she wears a revolutionary army coat.

Alongside this stands the parallelism of duty (military) and faith (church). It is by the words of the church unity is formed, which is underlined time and time again, from the speeches of the minister to the notion, that only a Christian Indian is a good Indian. At the end, however, the church is replaced by the American flag, in a very moving sequence, where the American flag is placed upon the church tower, juxtaposed by images of men, women, black, white and Indian, all in awe of their flag, accompanied by the end tunes of “Star Spangled Banner” (Home of the free, land of the brave).

The problem with “Drums Along the Mohawk” is however, that it shifts focus on and off. Where the overall text deals with how American arose by victory over the Tories, the story never leaves Mohawk Valley, so when the men are off to war, we stay with the women, especially Lana. Thus it becomes a story about Gil and Lana, which uses the war as a dramatic sub theme.

But despite being a minor Ford with an uneven structure, this is still a beautiful film. It is full of Fordish humor and humanism and deserves attention.

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: November 3, 1939

Reviews                                                                    More Reviews                                                          DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection)
Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox

Region 1  - NTSC

Optimum Releasing
Region 2 - PAL
Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Also available in The Essential John Ford Collection (The Frontier Marshall / My Darling Clementine / Drums Along the Mohawk / How Green Was My Valley / The Grapes of Wrath / Becoming John Ford)

                  

or The complete Ford at Fox Collection (DETAILS HERE)

Runtime 1:43:56 1:43:52 1:39:47 (4% PAL speedup) 1:44:02.027
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.12 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 36,851,459,639 bytes

Feature Size: 30,584,776,704 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Fox at Ford

 

Bitrate:

Fox (original NTSC)

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (mono), DUBs: Spanish (mono), French (mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (mono), DUBs: Spanish (mono), French (mono)

English (Dolby Digital mono) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1081 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1081 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -11dB
Subtitles English, Spanish, and none English, Spanish, and none None English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Film Historians Julie Kirgo & Nick Redman
• Theatrical trailer
• Still galleries
• Advertising
• Lobby cards
• Studio portraits
• Behind the scenes
• Production stills


DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Restoration Comparison

DVD Release Date: May 25th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

 

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: August 23, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

Disc Size: 36,851,459,639 bytes

Feature Size: 30,584,776,704 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman

• Becoming John Ford (2007), a feature-length documentary directed by Nick Redman about the long-term relationship between Ford (voiced by director Walter Hill) and Twentieth Century Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck (voiced by director Ron Shelton).(1:33:19)

• Original theatrical trailer (2:17)
• Extensive Julie Kirgo liner notes

Limited to 3,000 copies!

Blu-ray Release Date: August, 201
3
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Twilight Time Blu-ray - September 14': What a rich, beautiful image - tighter colors, layered contrast and some sneaking depth. It looks amazing. The 1080P image with a max'ed out bitrate is brighter, shows superior detail, more realistic skin tones and looks marvelous (no saturation visible on the SDs). It's a lossless mono track. Alfred Newman (Foreign Correspondent, The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Blood and Sand, A Letter to Three Wives, Panic in the Streets etc.) did the score and it plays well against the action scenes. There are optional English subtitles (see sample). Like all Twilight Time Blu-rays to date - this is region FREE and limited to 3,000 copies.

Great supplements starting with an audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman discussing Ford and this production. We also get Becoming John Ford (2007), a feature-length documentary directed by Nick Redman about the long-term relationship between Ford (voiced by director Walter Hill) and Twentieth Century Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck (voiced by director Ron Shelton). There is also an original theatrical trailer and the package contains extensive Julie Kirgo liner notes.

Both Ford and western genre fans shouldn't delay in owning this masterpiece. Twilight Time have produced another fabulous Blu-ray release. We give it a very high recommendation!

 

***

 

 

ADDITION - Ford at Fox Edition - November 07': I was initially suspicious of this single-layered transfer. It is obviously different than the previous two in terms of colors but I actually think it is an improvement. It appears equally as sharp with superiority in skin tones (the older two always appeared somewhat reddish) and the softer palette makes the older releases look as if they have been manipulated to some degree with boosted blacks. The disc is actually labeled 'Drums-REDUX'.

 

The big bonus of this edition is in the supplements. We have an excellent commentary by film historians Julie Kirgo & Nick Redman (perfect voice for commentary), the theatrical trailer and some stills galleries (advertising, lobby cards, studio portraits, behind the scenes and production stills).

It should be commented that we can't endorse buying the single disc when for a little over double you can get the entire Essential Collection. Correspondingly we don't want to recommend that over the entire Ford at Fox collection - which is a must-own. the only way to go here.

I enjoyed Drums Along the Mohawk more now than ever before. What a wonderful Ford film and the commentary really intensified my appreciation. Julie Kirgo gives some excellent historical context and Redman knows his stuff.     

 

***

About the Original Fox and the Optimum: Same deal as "Forty Guns" and "Warlock" as in this comparison. The Optimum is slightly sharper although differences are pretty negligible.  The Fox has well-appointed optional subtitles and the Optimum has none. The Fox has a trailer for the film and a restoration comparison, where the Optimum has nothing. The Fox offers a Stereo option where the Optimum is only monaural. I don't see any significant cropping issues and as both are very reasonably priced.

 

Gary W Tooze

This is a DVD5. The film itself only takes up 3.8GB. But despite this and minor compression problems, it looks beautiful. Flesh tones are natural and colors are solid.

The presentation has some problems. In a few scenes, the Technicolor stripes are out of alignment, which causes the image to become dull. Further, while some scenes are crisp and very sharp in detail, a few others lack definition.

The mono sound is free from any noises and shows no signs of age.

Being a low budget release, the DVD has no additional features nor subtitles.

 - Henrik Sylow


DVD Menus

 

20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC

 



(20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

NO SUBTITLES ON OPTIMUM DISC


 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 


Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution 20th Century Fox (The Ford at Fox Collection)
Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox

Region 1  - NTSC

Optimum Releasing
Region 2 - PAL
Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 


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Extras: Blu-ray





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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