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DRUMS OF TAHITI (director: William Castle; screenwriters: Douglas Heyes/Robert E. Kent/story by Robert E. Kent; cinematographer: Lester H. White; editor: Jerome Thoms; cast: Dennis O’Keefe (Mike Macklin), Patricia Medina (Wanda Spence), Francis L. Sullivan (Commissioner Pierre Duvois), George Keymas (Angelo), Sylvia Lewis (Mawaii), Cicely Browne (Gay Knight), Raymond Lawrence (Shoreham), Frances Brandt (Queen Pompare); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Katzman; Columbia Pictures; 1954)
A forgettable Sam Katzman produced cheapie adventure tale set in 19th century Tahiti.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A forgettable Sam Katzman produced cheapie adventure tale set in 19th century Tahiti, that lacks a good script and good acting. On its theater release it was in 3-D. William Castle(“The Americano”/”The Tingler”/”Homicidal”) directs in a lackluster manner, while it’s lamely written by Douglas Heyes and Robert E. Kent.

In 1877, Tahiti is a French protectorate. The agingTahitian Queen Pomare (Frances Brandt) secretly unites with the British to give her country assistance in their war efforts. So far the alert police commissioner Pierre Duvois (Francis L. Sullivan) foils all efforts of the British to smuggle in guns. American adventurer and Tahitian saloon keeper Mike Macklin (Dennis O’Keefe) promises Pomare he will bring in the guns from San Francisco. Mike tells the commissioner he’s going to Frisco to bring his bride back to Tahiti. In San Fran Mike proposes to old showbiz pal Gay Knight (Cicely Browne), but she informs him that she recently married. But Gay’s dancing partner Wanda Spence (Patricia Medina) agrees to marry him when she learns Mike’s offer includes $2,000 for her trousseau. After getting the dough, Wanda is stopped from running away and coerced to carrying out her part of the bargain and marry Mike the next day. Meanwhile the British agents load rifles on Mike’s boat. Mike’s first mate Angelo (George Keymas) unloads the valued rifles on the volcanic island of Kiloha, before sailing a few miles into Tahiti.

For greater 3-D effect, the climax has Mike delivering the weapons to the Tahitians while a volcano erupts on Kiloha. Battling through the fire and lava, Mike heroically tries to save the rifles. But they are destroyed. Thereby Pomare calls a halt to the rebellion. The good news is that in the meantime, like who knew, the bickering Mike and Wanda fall in love for real and decide to stay married.

To say this film is silly, is hitting the nail on the head.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”