Drums Along the Mohawk, Other comments on this film quite well echo my sentiments: John Ford once again exhibits his mastery of the medium, with a minimum of the sentimentality to which he sometimes succumbed; a very young and handsome Henry Fonda wonderfully embodies an ordinary man virtually forced to perform feats of extraordinary heroism; Claudette Colbert, although she seems out of her usually sophisticated element, really cannot be faulted, especially when one considers the Hollywoodized glamor of her makeup and costuming; and Edna May Oliver, heading Ford’s customarily astutely chosen supporting cast, almost steals the picture.
But, to my eyes, it is the unusually beautiful Technicolor cinematography by Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan (the latter being the credited cinematographer on the first feature-length film in three-strip Technicolor, 1935’s “Becky Sharp”) who deserve the most accolades. Their work simply glows and has that special crispness characteristic of certain early Technicolor films (many of which bore the Twentieth Century Fox label, as it happens.) No doubt, working on outdoor locations with the cumbersome equipment and lighting requirements involved in the use of the Technicolor process at that time, not to mention the lengendarily dictatorial control of the Technicolor Corporation’s czarina, Madame (Natalie) Kalmus, and her frequent associate, Henri Jaffa, Messrs. Glennon and Rennahan managed to accomplish one of 1939’s finest achievements in color cinematography. With Alfred Newman’s fine musical score and all of the other first-class production values lavished on this stirring tale, “Drums Along the Mohawk” deserves a place among the best recreations of those remarkable personal stories that were part of this newly emerging nation.