Thunder in the East

1952

Drama / War

4
IMDb Rating 6.3/10 10 432 432

Director

Top cast

Jill St. John as English Girl
Deborah Kerr as Joan Willoughby
John Abbott as Nitra Puta
Corinne Calvet as Lizette Simon
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
900.62 MB
1280*934
English 2.0
NR
us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
Seeds 12
1.63 GB
1480*1080
English 2.0
NR
us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
Seeds 17

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by secondtake 7 / 10

Rather good, well acted drama made in well-worn ways

Thunder in the East (1952)

If you like old Golden Age Hollywood movies you've seen a bunch of this kind of film by now. An American is overseas in an exotic place where people of various nationalities are finding various ways of surviving, some legit and some underground. The cross of cultures, and the rising of a new situation that threatens them all, is the basis of high drama and lots of new material. Think "The Letter" with Bette Davis, or much closer to the point, "Casablanca" with Humphrey Bogart.

In that mold we have Alan Ladd as a gun runner, an American with no loyalties except money. The place is Ghandahar, a province in northern India, a country recently independent but with lot of Brits hanging on to their old ways (and made fun of a little). We presume this to be a Hindu controlled area, because there is a Muslim insurgency in the mountains. It's set in the 1947 and what politically is about to happen (and the audience in 1952 knows this) is the big breakup of the new India into two countries, with Muslim Pakistan born in the north.

So Ladd drops into this tiny province with a plane full of armaments. He aims to sell them to the Hindu leader, played by Charles Boyer. But Boyer is a pacifist deep down and he refuses. By then it's too late to leave, and the insurgents are about to arrive, and worst and best of all, Ladd meets a woman, played by Deborah Kerr, who happens to be blind.

This is both great stuff and also in danger of feeling contrived. For one thing, Ladd is no Bogart, and sometimes I think he thinks he is (he plays the hardboiled type who doesn't take advice from anyone). But the movie is no "Casablanca," either. It is however very good, with the romance and the military takeover jolting over rough territory. Kerr is a bright light here, a British woman born there and in love with the place, and with a better sense that the region is not theirs. Even so, she doesn't want to leave. And guess who has a plane?

Well even that goes wrong (badly), and tensions build. The existence of the guns is an ongoing problem. Night comes. Their situation looks dire. And then, in a crazy Warner Bros. style ending that is worth every minute leading up to it, we have this amazing, ambiguous, catastrophic rising to action. It might not be reasonable, but then again, in a situation like this, it might be exactly what you'd expect. Or that there would be no choice. Either way, the camera shots in the final scene are terrific and surprising stuff.

The director here is Charles Vidor, one of the long lived mainstays who made a lot of really good films but maybe no stellar ones (the best is probably the noir set in South America, "Gilda"). Vidor seems to be drawing from well used and still workable clichés to make the story vivid cinematically. It's actually a good ride. I happen to see that TCM viewers give it a very high composite score. I think this would be a terrible entry into older movies, but if you are already a fan, it's much better than you might expect. I give it a go.

Oh, I realized after re-reading all this that the mythical Ghandahar is an homage to the pacifist Indian leader, Ghandi...a nice addition.

Reviewed by rmax304823 6 / 10

Seven Came Back, Maybe More.

Let's see. It's 1947 in India, and 1951 in Hollywood. Different time zones. The British troops have left India, and Gandahar state is under the leadership of a not entirely unbelievable Indian maharaja named Charles Boyer. Gandahar is surrounded by brigands who are about to attack. Alan Ladd, a brash entrepreneur, lands an airplane full of guns at Gandahar and offers to sell them to Boyer, but Boyer is a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, who eschewed violence in all its forms. Boyer's principles are to be admired but he turns out to be wrong about the guns.

So what is the message behind the rhetoric? Americans, the Commies are a threat to our democracy and nobody should be SOFT ON COMMUNISM. Sometimes war is the only answer.

What we see is a crowded stage-bound Gandahar. Ladd bumps into the blind Deborah Kerr, or the other way round, and they dance in an Indian night club where the sitar sounds exactly like a guitar, to a melody blending romance and mystery that sounds exactly as if it were written for this movie by Hugo Friedhofer.

Ladd is more animated than usual, though the role of money-grabbing rogue changing to a selfless hero is pretty much a cliché. Deborah Kerr is more interesting. She's very attractive and has a slight quaver in her voice that suggests uncertainty, politesse, and femininity. She's prim, a little wall eyes, and quite appealing. Boyer is actually passable as an Indian leader, except that his French accent turns "Bombay" into "Pompeii." There is, unfortunately, one of those colorful and mischievous native boys who latches on to Ladd and provides the dispensable cuteness.

It has its longueurs but the tension in the plot increases as the threat from bandits is realized. For some reason, the movie ends in the middle of a shoot out and although both Boyer and Ladd advance with smiles, guns blazing, the end is problematic. Nice shots of a Lockheed Vega and a Grumman TBF.

Reviewed by blanche-2 7 / 10

some clichés, some miscasting, some politics, but it's still pretty good

I liked "Thunder in the East," a 1952 release for this film, made in 1949.

This film looks to have been made on a smallish budget and takes place in the first years of India's freedom from Britain. A man named Steve Gibbs (Alan Ladd) flies in a plane filled with armaments in the Ghandahar province in order to sell them. However, the Prime Minister, Singh (Charles Boyer) wants to achieve a peaceful resolution with the leader of the guerrillas, Khan.

The British living in India are delusional, not realizing that the guerrillas are about to attack. The ones who do get out end up dead en route. Gibbs meets Joan Willoughby (Deborah Kerr) and her parson father (Cecil Kellaway) and manages to meet the maharajah, who defers to the Prime Minister and then leaves the country for the winter.

Gibbs offers his plane, but he gouges the people wanting to leave, which angers Joan, who was falling for him. Now she turns against him and no one will give into what they call blackmail. They gather at the palace, waiting for the guerrillas to attack, and hope that the Prime Minister will let them use the guns he has.

There are a couple of problems with this film. One is the casting of Charles Boyer and his French accent and heavy makeup. I have to say, he was wonderful. He was an underrated actor, but miscast.

The script has a few clichés, particularly the hard core businessman falling for a sweet, altruistic woman. Nevertheless, it certainly held my interest.

I read some complaints about the ending, which for me was the best part of the film. Very dramatic and very exciting. As far as the Prime Minister's beliefs, he was a human being and acted on an injustice viscerally. His idealism went out the window, and that's okay. That's what happens sometimes.

Alan Ladd did a good job in a Bogart-type role. I never considered him much of an actor, but that monotone type of line reading works fine in this type of part, as it did in his film noirs. Deborah Kerr was lovely as a good woman who prides herself on her independence and fearful of losing it.

The film was probably trying to make the point that Gandhi was an idiot, and that following his principles wasn't a good idea. Not sure I'd conclude that in all cases. Maybe in this one.

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