DRUM was sheer exploitation entertainment
If you watch DRUM, you can't avoid but come away entertained, especially at the over-the-top way and campy, hillbilly-like dialogue of supposedly educated, rich white plantation owner, Hammond Maxwell, played by actor Warren Oates. It was hilarious. I realize that Warren Oates is most likely not a racist himself and therefore played his racist plantation owner role with comic relish.
Sometimes when an actor has to play a charactor role completely opposite to his own real personality, the results can look anywhere from 'forced', stilted, to campy or quasi-comic, possibly deliberately done that way. It reminded me of the time I watched the late, great actor, Charles Bronson, having to play the role of a bigoted white man whose daughter is fondled by a drunk, Japanese executive man on a subway train. Playing the role of a bigot was so distasteful to Bronson that he didn't come across as a realistic bigot and his face carried that distasteful look all through the movie as if he just ate something awful. Bronson resumes his normal, good acting later in the movie when the Japanese executive turns out to be a dutiful, normal father whose own daughter is kidnapped and multiple-raped by a gang of kidnappers looking for young girls for a prostitution ring. When Bronson sees the Japanese man break down and cry, his own heart melts to see the man as another human, realizing to himself that not all Japanese men were samurai servants of the emperor with balls of steel.
But back to DRUM. Drum did not take as serious a tack as Mandingo attempted. The producers must have deliberately intended built-in campy exploitation whereas with Mandingo there was the serious attempt from the start to produce a serious, ROOTS-like human drama. Warren Oates' Maxwell Drummond character doesn't come across as anything like an intelligent, purposeful plantation businessman. He seems to carry his brains between his legs instead. The sadistic, effete, bisexual French-accent Creole and his effeminite, younger sidekick are laughable characters who hardly garner any sympathy with their brutal deaths at the movie's end.
Ken Norton starred in Mandingo and Drum. Correct me if I'm wrong. I thought Norton was supposed to be a half-black, half-white character in Mandingo. But if his descendant in Drum, also played by Norton, had a white parent, then shouldn't Drum be a quadroon, that is, 1/4th black? If that's the case, Drum should look more white than black.