Thunderbolt (1929) torrent download

Thunderbolt

1929

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

6.6

Synopsis

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Moran, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl. Thunderbolt hopes to stave off the execution long enough to kill young Moran for romancing his girl. —Jim Beaver

Director

Josef von Sternberg

Cast

George Bancroft
as Thunderbolt Jim Lang
Fay Wray
as Ritzy
Richard Arlen
as Bob Moran
Eugenie Besserer
as Mrs. Moran
James Spottswood
as 'Snapper' O'Shea
Fred Kohler
as 'Bad Al' Friedberg

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by AlsExGal 8 /10

A different kind of gangster film...

... at least for early sound. The title character in particular, Thunderbolt, played by George Bancroft, is a rather complex gangster character for a dawn of sound movie. What do you say about a man who'd go to great lengths to kill a fellow he has never met just on general principle but who loves the stray dog that causes him to finally get pinched and put in the death house to the point that when the death house warden grants him a favor, Thunderbolt asks for that same dog to stay in his cell as a pet? Fay Wray, only 21 at the time, plays Ritzy, Thunderbolt's girl, with a sense of world-weariness that is wise beyond her years. When the film opens she's being hassled by the police to give up Thunderbolt's hiding place in some really classic early sound police interrogation scenes. Ironically, she really wants to be free of Thunderbolt, who swears he'll never let her go, especially if there's another guy involved, and there is - bank teller Bob Morgan played by Richard Arlen.

The first third of the film moves about quite a bit with some great jazz age settings, but the last two-thirds is primarily confined to the death house where Thunderbolt awaits his appointment with the chair. There's lots of atmosphere in this one with the death row quartet that keeps getting broken up as one fellow is executed and then restarted as another inmate enters. The death row warden is an interesting fellow, with eccentricity and nervousness balanced by a humane streak to the point that he seems misplaced - he seems like he'd be happier managing the shoe department in some retail store.

The end has a surprise twist to it that makes Thunderbolt rethink his rather complex plan of revenge just as he makes that last walk to the chair. I'm being intentionally vague here so I don't ruin it for you. Watch it for the surprising sophistication of this early sound piece, for the kind of atmosphere you can always count on in a von Sternberg film, and for that general touch of class that you find in the early Paramount talkies.

Reviewed by OldTree 9 /10

An entertaining and revolutionary sound film

Thunderbolt (George Bancroft) is a notorious criminal, a gang leader, and his girl is Ritzy (Fay Wray). Some day she tells him: „I'm going to quit". He knows that there must be another man and tracks his rival (Bob, a bank employee) down, but finally he gets caught.

That's the point where the film actually begins: in prison (death row). The very nervous warden (Tully Marshall is really great!) welcomes him with the words „Couldn't be more comfortable at the Ritz". He takes him to cell 3. „...and look out for pneumonia. Might give this place a bad name."

There are 10 cells and the men call themselves by the numbers (a similar film is „The Last Mile"- 1932). Some of those occupiers form a singing group; but because „they took our tenor yesterday", one asks: „Hey, Number 3! Do you sing tenor?" Thunderbolt: „Who, me?" (laughs) „I kill tenors."

The sound quality of this very entertaining and revolutionary movie (the actors are often not to see while they speak) is astonishing - considering the fact that it was made in 1929. It's true that the over-accentuated way of speaking (especially Bancroft) is today hard to tolerate, but because the sound film was very young at that time it's excusable.

Reviewed by drednm N/A

George Bancroft and Richard Arlen Shine

For some reason I thought this film was a talkie remake by Josef von Sternberg of his great silent Underworld. Although George Bancroft is again the star here (and won an Oscar nomination for best actor) this is an entirely different storyline.

Bancroft stars a a tough hood in love with Fay Wray. But she's trying to go straight with Richard Arlen, who works in a bank. A man hunt captures Bancroft and convicts him to death row. But even from the cell, Bancroft is able to frame Arlen for a murder during a ban robbery. Arlen is sentenced to death row and ends up across the hall from Bancroft. Will there be fairness? Will there be redemption? As in Underworld, Bancroft is terrific as the obsessed and all-powerful thug. His voice is great as he growls and groans and threatens. Wray looks stunning, and Arlen is good as the innocent man.

For a 1929 talkie, this film has its stagnant moments when the editors didn't know when to cut. But it also features some terrific work by von Sternberg.

The entrance scene into the jazz club is a barrage of trellises and picket fences... quite beautiful... and also boasts a really nice song from Theresa Harris (who usually played a maid). There's also a wondrous scene where Arlen has been hurt and is being tended by his mother (Eugenie Besserer). While's she's applying iodine, he pulls his hands away and the bottle smashes. Both try to clean it up and the scene ends in a giggling tickle fight. Totally unexpected and totally wonderful.

Fred Kohler plays a convict. Tully Marshall is marvelous is a jittery warden.

The ending is probably expected but is beautifully done.

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