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The Drum

AKA: Drums

Country: UK

Genre: Adventure, Drama



During the time of the Raj, Capt. Carruthers fears a full-scale rebellion on the Northwest frontier of British India (the modern-day border of Pakistan and Afghanistan). In order to forestall this, the British governor signs a peace treaty with the friendly and peace-loving Tokat leader, King Mohammed Khan. The King's son, Prince Azim (Sabu), and their people, welcome the British warmly, and the young Azim forms a friendship with British drummer boy Bill Holder (Desmond Tester). But the King's wicked brother, Ghul, rejects the treaty and assassinates Mohammed. Ghul then pretends that he wants to honour the treaty with the British, but in reality he plots to kill Captain Carruthers and his men in an ambush, as a prelude to leading a rebellion. Learning of this plot, and unable to convince the British governor of the danger, Sabu decides to risk his own life to warn his friends.


  • AKA "Drums" in the US
  • Based on the 1937 novel of the same name by English author A. E. W. Mason (1865-1948)
  • Directed by the Hungarian-born Zoltan Korda and produced by London Films (the production company founded by Zoltan's older brother Alexander Korda), this was the second of three movies that London Films made in the 1930s about the British Empire, preceded by "Sanders of the River" (1935), and succeeded by "The Four Feathers" (1939). These three films are sometimes referred to as the Empire trilogy, though they were not conceived as such.
  • The Scottish regiment featured in this film is a battalion of the Gordon Highlanders. This is true to life, as the Gordon Highlanders were very active on the North-West frontier during the time of the British Raj. Portions of this film were in fact shot on the North-West frontier (in a part of former British India which is now in Pakistan), though some of the mountain scenes were shot in North Wales.
Picture for The Drum


  • Sabu
    (Prince Azim)
  • Desmond Tester
    (Bill Holder)
  • Roger Livesey
    (Captain Carruthers)
  • Raymond Massey
    (Prince Ghul)
  • Amid Taftazani
    (Mohammed Khan)
  • Valerie Hobson
    (Mrs. Carruthers)
  • Francis L. Sullivan
    (The Governor)

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Page Last Modified: 26th November 2020
Page Added: 7th January 2019

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