Thunderbolt (1929)

[Note: The following review is of a non-Guide for the Film Fanatic title; click here to read more.]

“There’s a dame behind every guy in this joint.”

Thunderbolt Poster

Synopsis:
A wanted gangster named “Thunderbolt” (George Bancroft) refuses to let go of his long-time moll (Fay Wray), even though she’s in love with a hard-working banker (Richard Arlen) who wants to marry her. Bancroft eventually gets sent to jail, and is soon joined by Arlen, who has been framed for murder — but will Bancroft confess to playing a part in Arlen’s unjust imprisonment before he’s put to death?

Genres:

  • Fay Wray Films
  • Framed
  • Gangsters
  • Josef von Sternberg Films
  • Obsessive Love
  • Prisoners

Review:
Made between The Docks of New York (1928) and The Blue Angel (1930), this Josef von Sternberg flick — starring Oscar-nominated George Bancroft — isn’t listed in Peary’s GFTFF, but is mentioned in his Alternate Oscars, which is why I’m quickly reviewing it here. Unfortunately, it deserves its status as a “Missing Title”: there’s little here to keep one’s attention or interest, other than occasional evidence of von Sternberg’s visual talent. As noted in Time Out’s review, the director’s “first talkie suffers from painfully slow pacing, poor performances, and gobbets of excruciating sentimentality.”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine cinematography
    Thunderbolt Nightclub
    Thunderbolt Cinematography

Must See?
No; skip this one unless you’re a diehard von Sternberg completist.

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