The very term « western » brings along a host of preconceptions, usually including locations that might not initially suggest Florida to some aficionados. While Distant Drums was marketed as a western and even bears some genre conventions, especially some midcentury conventions, it’s a somewhat uniquely sited piece that highly fictionalizes a long gestating conflict in America’s southernmost clime between the Seminole and United States Navy forces in the 1840s. Brightly shot in Technicolor and bearing an opening shot of fanciful looking Native Americans (or Indians, as of course they were referred to in the 1950s) with extremely colorful face paint, Distant Drums might at first glance appear to the very model of a midcentury western. But this is no tale of the Badlands or the Rockies or even the Mississippi —and the Florida (and, ultimately, Everglades) setting may well be its most memorable feature. (…) This film was probably a slight cut above many of the routine programmers that were being churned out during this period, and it remains an interesting curio that offers some exciting locations and a couple of well done set pieces in an overall fairly trite presentation. — Jeffrey Kauffman

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