Saturday, December 18, 2010

Drum (1976)

A quasi-sequel to the trashy hit Mandingo (1975), Drum has a doozy of a plot. New Orleans madam Marianna (Isela Vega) gets pregnant by a slave, so she pretends the resulting child, Drum, is that of her servant/lesbian lover. Twenty years later, muscle-bound Drum (Ken Norton) is a slave in Marianna’s whorehouse, where unsavory customer DeMarigny (John Colicos) forces him to brawl with another slave, Blaise (Yaphet Kotto), because DeMarigny gets off on sweaty black men. When Drum violently rebuffs DeMarigny’s sexual advances, Marianna protects her son from reprisal by selling Drum (and Blaise) to Hammond (Warren Oates), who runs a stud farm for breeding slaves. Hammond’s got headaches with his shrewish fiancĂ©e, Augusta (Fiona Lewis), who wants to reform her crass husband, and his horny daughter, Sophie (Cheryl Smith), who can’t keep her hands off male slaves. When Hammond discovers that Blaise dallied with his daughter, he threatens castration, so Blaise leads a bloody revolt. As the movie speeds toward its violent finale, there are countless nude scenes, brawls, and whippings, plus utterances of the n-word in every conceivable context. The trouble with critiquing a movie like Drum is that even though it’s awful because of its incessant bad taste, it’s entertaining for the same reason. Appraised solely as overwrought melodrama, Drum is a rousing success: Even while cringing at the movie’s political incorrectness, it’s hard to deny the guilty-pleasure value of a flick in which Norton utters the line “No white man could ever love you like I will!” Norton, an ex-boxer who also starred in Mandingo, looks great but can’t act, so others handle the heavy lifting—Oates is gleefully disgusting, Kotto gives the picture’s best performance with his signature intensity, and Colicos is spellbindingly terrible, matching campy mannerisms with a ridiculous French accent. It should come as no surprise that Dino de Laurentiis produced this lowbrow spectacle, which boasts one outrageous moment after another; watch for the bit during the boxing match when Norton pulls a Mike Tyson and chews on Kotto’s ear.


1 comment:

The Rush Blog said...

I don't think that "DRUM" was a movie in bad taste. I think it was simply a bad movie and a blatant rip-off of "MANDINGO".