Distant Drums (1951)

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    Plot Summary
    Navy Lieutenant Tufts accompanies scout Quincy Wyatt into the Everglades
    to rout the Seminole Indians who are threatening the early settlers in Florida.
    When the command is forced to run, Wyatt and Seminole Chief Oscala square off in an exciting climax.
    Written by Buxx Banner

    Gary Cooper ... Capt. Quincy Wyatt
    Mari Aldon ... Judy Beckett
    Richard Webb ... Lt. Richard Tufts
    Ray Teal ... Pvt. Mohair
    Arthur Hunnicutt ... Monk
    Robert Barrat ... Gen. Zachary Taylor
    and many more...
    Sheb Wooley ... Pvt. Jessup (uncredited)

    Raoul Walsh

    Writing Credits
    Niven Busch ... (screenplay) (story)
    Martin Rackin ... (screenplay)

    Milton Sperling ... producer

    Max Steiner

    Sidney Hickox ... director of photography (as Sid Hickox)

    WILHELM SCREAM: This film contains the first known instance of "The Wilhelm Scream"
    (a sound effect of a man screaming, since used in over 149 other movies).
    During a scene in which the soldiers are wading through a swamp in the everglades,
    one of them is bitten and dragged underwater by an alligator.
    The scream for that character was recorded later.
    Six short pained screams were recorded in a single take,
    which was slated "man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams.
    " The fifth scream was used for the soldier - but the 4th, 5th, and 6th screams recorded
    in the session were also used earlier in the film when three Indians are shot,
    one after another, during a raid on a fort.
    Although the "signature" or "classic" screams, takes 4 through 6 on the original recording,
    are the most recognizable, all of the screams are referred to as "Wilhelm"
    by those in the sound community.
    Ben Burtt, sound effects designer on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977),
    named it "Wilhelm" after the character that let out the scream
    in The Charge at Feather River (1953). He discovered a file at Warner Bros. for this movie,
    which contained paperwork that was left over from the picture editor
    when the film was completed. One of the papers was a short list of names of actors
    who were scheduled to come in to perform various lines of dialogue
    for miscellaneous roles in the movie.
    After reviewing the names and even listening to their voices,
    one person seemed to be the most likely suspect:
    Sheb Wooley. Sheb played the uncredited role of Private Jessup in "Distant Drums",
    and was one of the few actors assembled for the recording of additional vocal elements for the film.
    It is very likely he was asked on the spot to perform other things for the film,
    including the screams for a man being bitten by an alligator.
    15 of 16 found this intere

    Audio/visual unsynchronised
    When the famous "Wilhelm scream" is used for the part that a man is attacked by an alligator
    and drawn under water the scream can still be heard while already being under water.

    The uniforms, besides being anachronistic, don't stay the same throughout the movie.
    At the beginning, Captain Wyatt wears trousers with Infantry white stripes
    on them. The "sergeant" (actually Sergeant Major chevrons)
    and corporal's chevrons are Cavalry yellow.
    The Captain appears wearing trousers with Cavalry yellow stripes and,
    shortly afterwards, Artillery red ones.
    The sergeant and the corporal also appear briefly wearing Artillery red chevrons.

    Crew or equipment visible
    Before the soldier shouts the Wilhelm scream the line towing the alligator
    underwater can be seen clearly.

    In the scene when the soldier shouts the Wilhelm scream a decking
    at the entrance to and under the water can be seen.

    Errors in geography
    The historic Castillo de San Marcos is located in the east coast of Florida,
    not the west coast as shown in the movie.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Castillo de San Marcos National Monument - One S. Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida, USA
    St. Augustine, Florida, USA
    Everglades National Park, Florida, USA
    Moffett Cemetery - Moffett Cemetery Road, Milton, Kentucky, USA
    Naples, Florida, USA
    Silver Springs - 5656 E. Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, USA



    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Distant Drums is a 1951 "Florida Western" film directed by
    Raoul Walsh and starring Gary Cooper.

    It is set during the Second Seminole War in the 1840s,
    with Cooper playing an Army captain who destroys a fort
    held by the Spanish gunrunners then retreats into the Everglades while under chase.

    The actual location of the fort in the film was the historic
    Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida, where most of the filming took place.

    The enduring legacy of this movie is the earliest known use of the Wilhelm scream sound effect,
    originally used to vocalize a character being torn to pieces by an alligator

    User Review

    Indian fighting in Florida with a handsome Gary Cooper
    12 June 2016 | by nancyyvonne (Manhattan Beach, Ca)

    I love Gary Cooper, especially during the 1950's. He actually aged better and better. This western is somewhat different than what he usually chose to play. He is a distinct personality that his men and others under his care recognize as "leader". I bought it totally. He is distant, sexy and loving to a small son. He is brave and a heroic personality. Just the kind of movie I love with Gary Cooper. The Florida vistas are wild and beautiful. The whole thing just entertained me and I came back for more. I don't remember this one from T.V. reruns so it was brand new to me.

    I highly recommend to people who love westerns (especially with Gary Cooper).

    Best Wishes
    London- England