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Jitterbugs Owe Inspiration To
“Drums” Researchers Turn Up This and Other Facts
A modern day Jitterbug may consider himself miles removed from an aboriginal tom-tommer, but they’re really brothers under the skin.
This is in accordance with the findings of a group of motion picture research experts who were tracking down information for Alexander Korda’s technicolor production, “Drums,” and turned up a swing band drummer who confessed that the tom-tom was the source of his inspiration.
They also turned up a lot of other interesting information about drums, particularly the drum in India, which is the scene of the A. E. W. Mason story on which the Korda film, in which Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hob
son are currenly featured at the Sn ee Theatre.
DRUM IS IMPORTANT
In India, it must be understood, the drum is more than a musical instrument. It occupies an important place in Indian myth and legend.
The most ancient of these drums is the mrdanga, the two heads of which are made of parchment and tuned by braces. A mixture of flower and water is frequently applied to the head to increase the volume, and the drum is played with the fingers.
The small hand drum three to six inches long used by snake charmers and mendicants is called budbudka. It is shaped like an hour glass, with a cord at the center, to which is attached a leather ball. The ball strikes the head at each end as the instrument is shaken.
USED AS A SIGNAL
Although the origin of the drum is hidden in pre-historic indefiniteness, its obvious forms are the membrane drum, the tambourine and the kettle drum, with the cymbals closely allied. Drums were known in Vedic, India, and the earliest records of China, Egypt and Assyria abound in allusions to them.
Among primitive peoples the drum is still used as a medium for transmitting signals, news and other types of messages. Some of them can be heard for a distance of six miles, and one small instrument, not two feet high, has been known to send its sound for 10 miles. “Drums,” as a matter of fact, utilizes this still-practiced method in the most dramatic scenes of the picture.
Drums are still used in India to exorcise spirits supposed to be causing disease; to produce rain, to arouse mass emotion or religious fervor, and also to prophesy future events. Objects are placed on the drumheads, and the oscillation of these objects when the drum is beaten is believed to indicate what is to happen.
Wouldn’t “Play Dead’’
Getting the native actors he engaged for battle scenes to “play dead” proved Director Zoltan Korda’s toughest assignment, while shooting scenes for “Drums” in India.
Machine guns rat-tat-tatted and bullets flew, but the “soldiers” stood up valiantly through it all,
Inquiring into their refusal to fall, Korda discovered that they feared that, once “dead,” their acting careers—and, more important, their salaries—would be at an end. So they chose to remain perpendicular.
“Drums” is Alexander Korda’s technicolor production, currently featuring Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson at the..._....... Theatre,
| A TREACHEROUS VISITOR
RAYMOND MASSEY, as the villainous Prince Ghul, is seen with Roger
Livesey and Valerie Hobson in a tense moment from “Drums,” Alexander
Korda’s thrilling technicolor production, currently featured at the
ete Theatre. Sabu, the little East Indian star of ‘““Elephant Boy.” heads the cast.
4B—Two Col. Scene (Mat .80; Cut .50)
Roger Livesey Just Had to Act
Spent Whole Life in Atmosphere of Theatre
It isn’t at all surprising to find Roger Livesey an actor.
Two generations of his family were actors before him. Talk of the theatre surrounded him as far back as he can remember. And even the maids in the Livesey household left to become actresses.
Timing his first appearance with a fine dramatic sense, Roger was born while his parents were on tour in South Wales.
He made his debut on the English stage as a lad of 11, and even in those days he and his brother Barry haunted the film studios, where they got an occasional opportunity to play a stray cinema waif—a far cry from the role of the sturdy Captain Carruthers he is currently portraying on the Screen obrtheg, 7. i=. = Theatre in Alexander Korda’s technicolor production, “Drums.”
In 1926, Roger broke off a promising West End dramatic career to go off on a three year tour of the West Indies and South Africa.
He did it, he explains, to get away from the “gumps,” a “gump being the sort of thick-headed young man with large biceps and no brains. He was constantly playing such roles.
“During the first two years on tour, I played 52 different parts,” he recalls. “A tough job, but exactly what I needed.”
Safely out of the “gump” rut, Livesey returned to London after his African junket and appeared in leading roles in a number of plays before joining the famous Old Vic Theatre, where he shared a dressing room with Charles Laughton. Soon after Laughton deserted the theatre for the screen, Livesey followed him to Korda’s Denham Studios and made his talkie debut as the Beggar Saul in “Rembrandt.” He has since appeared in “Fire Over England” and the current “Drums,” an adaptation of the A. E. W. Mason novel in which Sabu, Raymond Massey and Valerie Hobson are also featured. All three films were released through United Artists.
8A—One Col. Star Head (Mat .15; Cut .25)
Sabu’s Biggest Thrill
Sabu’s biggest thrill since he left the Indian jungle for Alexander Korda’s Denham film studios, came while he was on location in Wales with the “Drums” company.
Bert Carr, assistant director of the Alexander Korda technicolor film, which is currently featured at CNG Foe 8: Theatre, took the boy some miles away from the camp for his first swim in the sea.
The experience proved so thrilling that Sabu refused to go home and swam until long after dark.
“Drums,” in which Sabu _ is featured with Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson, is released through United Artists.
8,000 pounds of meat, 6,500 pounds of bread, three tons of butter, eight tons of vegetables, 10,406 eggs and 920 gallons of milk were consumed by the army of native Indians used in battle scenes of Alex| ander Korda’s “Drums.”
Alexander Korda’s “Drums”
A Thrilling Action Drama
Magnificent Color Marks Tale of
Adventure in India
Stirring adventure on India’s Northwest frontier is being served this week to patrons of the............ Theatre, where Alexander Korda’s thrilling technicolor production “Drums’’ is holding forth with Sabu, the small Indian sensation of “Elephant Boy” fame, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson in featured roles.
One of the most exciting films in the memory of this reviewer,
Sabu, the handsome East Indian lad who first won cinema fame in Alexander Korda’s “Elephant Boy” and is currently appearing at the See. oe ae Theatre in the same producer’s technicolor film, “Drums,” switched allegiance from pachyderms to things mechanical as soon as he left the jungle and came to Korda’s Denham studios.
His first ambition was to become an electrician and operate one of the studio arc lamps; then he decided to become a cameraman; then a chauffeur; and finally an aviator.
Airplanes have become a craze with this boy of the jungle and he has learned to recognize every type and make. Once, after a game of tennis, his friends asked if he had had a good game.
“Oh, yes,” he replied promptly. “T was beaten, but two airplanes passed overhead during the game.”
“Drums” features Sabu with Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson. The film is released through United Artists.
Some weird and primitive firearms are seen in “Drums,” Alexander Korda’s new technicolor film, in which Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson are currently featured atthe Theatre.
The weapons are used by the East Indian tribesmen who appear in the film and were made in the studios in the same primitive way they are made in secret native forges in the hills of India.
These guns, customarily handed down from father to son, are amazingly durable and are used when modern contraband rifles cannot be obtained.
“Drums” is United Artists.
* * *
Although most of us think of polo as a modern sport, men were actually chasing a ball from the saddle as early as 600 B. C.
This is one of the odd facts uncovered by Alexander Korda’s research experts, working on his technicolor production “Drums,” in which Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson are currently featured at the... Theatre.
Generally regarded as a sport invented on the British Isles, polo was actually introduced to the English when their army took up posts in India, the film reveals.
“Drums” is released through United Artists. x * *
The motion picture unit which invaded the treacherous Khyber Pass to film natural color scenes for Alexander Korda’s “Drums,” the current attraction at the... -__Theatre, was the first to penetrate this remote corner of India.
As a matter of fact, the expedition was the most dangerous ever undertaken by a motion picture company for other than scientific purposes.
“Drums” features Sabu, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, Desmond Tester and Valerie Hobson. The film is released through United Artists.
“Drums” is also one of the most magnificent, with its thrilling scenes actually photographed in India’s treacherous Khyber Pass.
Sabu is even more charming than in “Elephant Boy” as the little Indian prince of A. E. W. Mason’s
| story, whose bravery and loyalty
save a whole regiment from slaughter at the hands of a power-mad Indian potentate.
Captain Carruthers, a fearless British officer, (Roger Livesey), is sent to India to quell the uprisings being fomented by the fanatical Prince Ghul (Raymond Massey), who dreams of snatching the throne of his brother, the Khan of Tokot, uniting the various hill tribes and eventually driving the British out of his ever-broadening domain.
Arrived in Tokot, Carruthers and his lovely bride (Valerie Hobson), meet little Prince Azim and a warm friendship results. Azim also becomes friends with a drummer boy in the regiment, (Desmond Tester), and between them the boys work out a private danger signal, which later is to prove of vital importance to the plot.
The fiendish Prince Ghul murders his brother the Khan, but little Azim escapes.
Scorning Carruthers’ warning that he and his men must stop sniping at British troops, Prince Ghul works out a diabolical scheme for wiping out all the members of the British residency and most of the regiment at one fell stroke.
He invites Carruthers and 50 of his men to dinner at his palace on the final evening of a five-day ceremonial feast, as the climax of which he means to turn machine suns on his assembled guests.
How Prince Azim, aided by the drummer boy, is able to save his friends and bring reinforcements to their aid at the height of the furious fighting, makes for one of the most thrilling denouements in screen history.
“Drums” is rich in humor and swift-paced action and drama, and a beautiful touch of romance is provided by the love and loyalty of Carruthers’ bride.
Zoltan Korda, the distinguished director who made “Elephant Boy” and “Sanders of the River,” also wielded the megaphone on “Drums.”
The film, which offers what are undoubtedly the most breath-taking technicolor effects ever shown on the screen, is the perfect entertainment for every class of picturegoer.
The delightful Sabu will win hordes of new fans as the fearless little Prince, resplendent in his royal garb, astride his handsome milk-white stallion; the always
| dependable Raymond Massey has
never given a finer performance than as the power-mad Prince Ghul; Roger Livesey and Valerie Hobson are both splendid as Captain and Mrs. Carruthers, and redheaded Desmond Tester proves a talented and engaging youngster and provides a great deal of the film’s humor in the role of the Scottish drummer boy.
“Drums” was adapted to the screen by Lajos Biro, and the remarkable natural color effects, made on the actual ground in India, were achieved by Osmond Borradaile.
You can’t beat “Drums” for entertainment. Put it at the top of your “must-be-seen”’ list!