Drums of Love

Drums of Love (1928) is a silent romance film directed by D. W. Griffith.

Drums of Love
theatrical poster
Directed byD. W. Griffith
Produced byD. W. Griffith
Written byGerrit J. Lloyd
StarringMary Philbin
Lionel Barrymore
Music byCharles Wakefield Cadman
Sol Cohen
CinematographyG. W. Bitzer
Karl Struss
Harry Jackson
Edited byJames Smith
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • January 24, 1928 (1928-01-24)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles


After finding out her father and his estate is in danger, Princess Emanuella saves his life by marrying Duke Cathos de Alvia, a grotesque hunchback. She actually is in love with Leonardo, his attractive younger brother. They already had an affair before the marriage, but continue secretly meeting each other. In the end, Cathos finds out about his wife's unfaithfulness and stabs both his wife and brother to death.[1]



The film was a modernized adaption of a Francesca da Rimini opera. The settings were changed from 14th century Italy to 19th century South America.[2] The film was directed by D. W. Griffith, whose career was in decline.[2] He imposed a happy ending, but this idea was rejected.[2]

The female lead went to Mary Philbin, who was on a loan from another studio, (Universal). Cinematographer Karl Struss was especially impressed with the actress and tested her two weeks for different wigs.[3] Philbin later called working with Griffith like a 'dream come true'.[4]


The film was received as one of D. W. Griffith's weakest.[2] Critics agreed that Griffith did not know how to handle the film's theme and story the way Tod Browning could have.[5] Both the critics and the audience agreed that the poor reception was mainly due to the ending.[6]

See also


  1. "Drums of Love (1928): (Synopsis)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  2. Hall, Mordaunt. "Review Summary". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  3. Slide, A., Silent players. p.307
  4. Beck, C., Scream queens: heroines of the horrors. p.70
  5. Norden, M., The cinema of isolation: a history of physical disability in the movies. p.103
  6. Norden, M., The cinema of isolation: a history of physical disability in the movies. p.104
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