Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Pioneering filmmaker D.W. Griffith's days of glory were well behind him when he agreed to direct Drums of Love. Indicative of his diminishing status in Hollywood was the fact that he was now merely a hired hand at United Artists, the company he'd helped to form in 1919. The film was based on the venerable melodrama Francesca da Rimini, "updated" from 14th-century Italy to 19th-century South America. Mary Philbin and Don Alvarado were starred as illicit lovers Emanuella and Leonardo, while Lionel Barrymore glowered his way through the role of Emanuella's misshapen husband. The film was stolen by Tully Marshall as the malevolent jester who reveals Emanuella's infidelities. No longer in full control of his films, Griffith was forced to make several demeaning concessions, the most injurious of which was imposing a happy ending on the story. Despite all that was working against him, however, Griffith was occasionally able to invest his old vim and vigor into the proceedings -- especially during a spectacular action setpiece which, reversing the director's usual formula, took place at the beginning of the picture.
betrayal, disfigurement, extramarital-affair, husband, love, love-triangle