Seven Thunders (film)

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Seven Thunders
Seven Thunders FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Hugo Fregonese
Produced by Daniel M. Angel
John Brabourne
Written by Rupert Croft-Cooke (novel)
John Baines
Starring Stephen Boyd
James Robertson Justice
Kathleen Harrison
Tony Wright
Music by Antony Hopkins
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by John Shirley
Angel Productions
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors
Allied Artists Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 4 September 1957 (1957-09-04)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Seven Thunders (US title: The Beasts of Marseilles) is a 1957 black and white British film regarding Marseille in the Second World War. It was directed by Hugo Fregonese and starring Stephen Boyd, James Robertson Justice, Kathleen Harrison, Tony Wright and Anna Gaylor. [1] It is about two British escaped prisoners of war. [2]


It was shot at Pinewood Studios and on location in Marseille. The film's sets were designed by the art director Arthur Lawson.


In 1943, Dave (Stephen Boyd), an officer, and Jim (Tony Wright), escape from separate prison camps and are paired together by the underground. They are taken to Marseille by a fishing boat captain to wait for the right opportunity to try for Britain. While they wait, local woman Lise (Anna Gaylor) falls in love with Dave. He is attracted to her, but is engaged.

As a sub-plot, Emile Blanchard (Eugene Deckers) refers those desperate to leave France to his associate Dr. Martout (James Robertson Justice), unaware Martout is a serial killer who grows rich from his crimes (this character parallels the real life French poisoner Marcel Petiot). Jewish undertaker Schlip and ex-Vichy official Bourdin (George Coulouris) become his latest victims during the film.

Given an ultimatum by his displeased superiors to do something about the French Resistance, the German military commander of the city decides to evacuate and demolish the crime-infested Old Quarter, where Dave and Jim are hiding, with only two hours warning. Dave wants to wait for the fishing captain, but Jim chooses to try Dr. Martout. When the captain does show up, Dave goes to fetch Jim, barely saving him from becoming Martout's 100th victim. Martout escapes in his car, but in his haste, crashes and is killed. With buildings blowing up right and left, the pair make their way, with Lise's help, to the boat and freedom. Aboard the boat, Dave and Lise embrace.


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  1. "Seven Thunders (1957)". BFI.
  2. "The Beasts of Marseilles (1957) - Hugo Fregonese | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie.