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Drums in the Deep South


A small Confederate unit is ordered to prevent the passage of Federal trains for as long as possible. The IMDB entry is here. (The video is interlaced in the MPEG2 file. If viewing with VLC, deinterlace with menu-path Video/Deinterlace/Blend.)

Drums in the Deep South is an American Civil War war film production design and directed by William Cameron Menzies who was production designer of David O. Selznick's Gone With the Wind (film) (1939) and also designed the cave sequences in Selznick's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938 film) (1938). Based on a story by Civil War author Hollister Noble, the film was produced by an independent company King Brothers Productions, filmed in SuperCineColor and released by RKO Pictures in September 1951. B. Reeves Eason directed the second unit.


Best friends Clay Clayburn and Will Denning graduate from United States Military Academy and visit their friend and fellow graduate Braxton at his Georgia plantation in 1861. Clay had once loved Braxton's wife Kathy and still does. When war is declared they soon find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War.
By 1864, Clay now an Field Artillery Major in the Confederacy is renowned for accepting but surviving suicide missions. He is given another. To delay General Sherman's March to the Sea, a local guide can lead a party of men and their disassembled cannon inside caves that lead to the top of Devil's Mountain where a artillery battery of guns can destroy the railroad and the Union troop and supply trains that travel it, buying time for the Confederacy. Devil's Mountain is coincidentally near Braxton (who is now fighting elsewhere for the Confederacy) and Kathy's old plantation where Kathy remains with her uncle. Kathy agrees to monitor the activities of the Northern invaders and signal Clay's outpost from her window through a mirror by day and a lantern by night. Through her activities, Clay's men are notified of the arrival two supply trains and destroy both of them.
Arriving at the plantation is Will, who is now a Major in the Union Field Artillery. When the two men meet each other in combat, neither knows it as each is in an artillery position hundreds of yards from the other. However, the love of Clay's life, Kathy Summers, does know and tries desperately to save her two good friends from killing each other.
The Union Field Artillery cannot achieve the elevation or range with their cannon to clear the Confederate guns at the top of the mountain. Inside the mountain, the Union Infantry cannot find the path to the top and are delayed by Confederate snipers.
As the railroad line has been blocked by two destroyed trains, Union headquarters send a giant Naval Dahlgren gun manned by sailors and mounted on a flat car that has the capability to wipe out the Confederates. Kathy is able to supply Clay's guns with wire from her piano that is used to reinforce the barrel of one of Clay's guns that with a double charge and maximum elevation is able to destroy the Naval Gun and further block the railroad line.
Will has Union Army Engineers Mining (military) the inside of the mountain with explosives that will literally blow the top of the mountain. Kathy wishes to act as a mediator to get Clay and his men to surrender that the Union army is keen on as it will save time. However, Clay calculates that the explosion will send the cliff down over the railway line further blocking the Union's supplies.


  • James Craig (actor) as Maj. Clay Clayburn
  • Barbara Payton as Kathy Summers
  • Guy Madison as Maj. Will Denning
  • Barton MacLane as Sgt. Mac McCardle
  • Robert Osterloh as Sgt. Harper
  • Tom Fadden as Purdy
  • Robert Easton (actor) as Jerry
  • Louis Jean Heydt as Col. House
  • Craig Stevens (actor) as Col. Braxton Summers
  • Taylor Holmes as Albert Monroe
  • Lewis Martin (actor) as Gen. Johnston
  • Peter Brocco as Union corporal
  • Dan White (actor) as Corp. Jennings

=Unbilled players=

  • Robert Clarke: Union officer
  • Kenne Duncan: Union Officer
  • Roy Gordon: Lt. Col. Fitzgerald
  • James Griffith: Union officer who reports to Maj. Denning
  • Myron Healey: Union lieutenant
  • Todd Karns: Union captain
  • Norman Leavitt: Confederate soldier
  • Frank Marlowe: Confederate soldier
  • Tom Monroe (actor): Confederate soldier
  • Billy Nelson (actor): Union sergeant
  • Steve Pendleton: Capt. Travis
  • Denver Pyle: Union soldier who breaks the window
  • Mickey Simpson: Jim Burns, Confederate soldier
  • Ray Walker (actor): Union officer
  • Guy Wilkerson: Confederate sentry


  • Dixie (song) (by Daniel Decatur Emmett)
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic (by William Steffe)
  • Barbara Allen (song) (traditional)
  • Down by the Riverside
  • The Old Gray Mare
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Category:1951 films
Category:American films
Category:War drama films
Category:English-language films
Category:American Civil War films
Category:RKO Pictures films
Category:Cinecolor films

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