Thunder Bay (film)

Last updated
Thunder Bay
Thunderbayposter.jpg
Theatrical film poster by Reynold Brown
Directed by Anthony Mann
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Written byGil Doud
George W. George
Screenplay byGil Doud
John Michael Hayes
Starring James Stewart
Joanne Dru
Gilbert Roland
Dan Duryea
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Production
company
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal-International
Release date
  • May 19, 1953 (1953-05-19)(premiere)
  • May 20, 1953 (1953-05-20)(United States)
[1] [2]
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$2.4 million (US) [3]

Thunder Bay is a 1953 American adventure film distributed by Universal International, produced by Aaron Rosenberg, directed by Anthony Mann, and stars James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, and Dan Duryea. It was shot in Technicolor and was released on May 20, 1953. This film tells the story of two engineers drilling for oil in the Louisiana gulf while dealing with hostility of the local shrimp fishermen fearing for their livelihood and features the first non-western collaboration between Stewart and Mann.

Contents

Plot

Penniless but full of ideas, Steve Martin (James Stewart) and Johnny Gambi (Dan Duryea), engineers who served in the Navy during World War II, walk down a quiet road on the gulf coast of Louisiana. Teche Bossier (Gilbert Roland), owner of the Port Felicity Fish Co., agrees to drive them into the shrimping town Port Felicity for five dollars. Upon reaching their destination, Gambi rents a shrimp boat from Dominique Rigaud (Antonio Moreno), although the fisherman's daughter Stella (Joanne Dru) distrusts them immediately.

Gambi and Steve use the boat to show potential investor Kermit MacDonough (Jay C. Flippen) the location in which they plan to drill for offshore oil. Claiming that he has designed a drilling platform that can withstand any storm, Steve estimates that by investing one million dollars now, they will soon tap an oil reserve worth two billion. His enthusiasm is so infectious that MacDonough agrees to fund the project against the advice of his secretary, Rawlins. However, MacDonough warns Steve that he must discover oil within three months, or his company, due to huge investments made in an offshore oil lease, will put them both out of work.

Several weeks later, Gambi meets and falls for Stella's younger sister Francesca (Marcia Henderson), but according to custom, she has been betrothed since childhood to Philippe Bayard. After singing a love song in the local gathering place Bon Chance, Philippe is upset to see Francesca enter with Gambi. Teche, who good-naturedly calls the oilmen "foreigners," agrees to help Steve and Gambi, but Stella refuses to accept Steve's statement that oil will be good for the town, claiming that she learned about "their kind" during her stay in Chicago. Nevertheless, the outsiders hire a crew and begin their search for oil.

When Teche sees dynamite charges being dropped into the gulf, he begs them to stop, believing that the explosions will kill the shrimp and worsen an already dismal shrimping season. Steve maintains that the charges are safe, but Teche returns to town and incites the fishermen to form an angry mob. He scares the mob away by exploding sticks of dynamite behind them and he placates Stella by warning Gambi to stay away from Francesca. Steve gently advises Francesca to "go back to [her] people."

With one month gone, Steve drives the building crew relentlessly and the platform and rig are completed on-schedule. He immediately orders the drilling crew to get started and the exhausted Gambi is relieved when a hurricane warning gives the men an excuse to take the night off. Gambi and his men enter the Bon Chance with Francesca, and Philippe furiously punches his rival and starts a brawl. The sheriff arrests the oilmen and Francesca angrily denounces all the men.

During the storm, Stella visits Steve at the rig, determined to have Gambi fired so he stops seeing her sister. Steve explains to Stella that if he could pull up a resource that has been in the earth for millions of years, then he will truly have accomplished something. Stella finally abandons her suspicion and kisses Steve, but back in town, Philippe persuades Teche to help him destroy the oil rig. With the hurricane winds rising, Philippe climbs onto the platform and lights a bundle of dynamite, but Steve sees him and the two men fight. Philippe trips and disappears under the waves, and Steve, horrified, assumes that Stella was involved in Philippe's plot.

The rig survives the storm, and in the morning, drilling begins. However, eight days before the deadline, MacDonough visits Steve and sadly delivers the news that the board of his company has voted to stop the drilling operation on the following day, fearing a penalty for non-payment on their lease. MacDonough has already spent all of his own money and the crew is unable to work for no pay. Gambi soon returns from town, announcing that he has just married Francesca. Steve punches Gambi, who in retort loudly chastises Steve for having driven him and the men too hard. Steve tells them all to leave, intending to do the drilling himself, whereupon Gambi hesitates and then persuades the crew to remain. While the men are drilling, they discover that the troublesome shrimp that have been clogging the valves are actually the huge golden shrimp that have so long eluded the local fishermen.

Steve later takes Francesca to the rig, infuriating Dominique, who inflames the fisherman by declaring that the oilmen will steal their daughters and destroy the town. At Stella's request, Teche go to warn Steve about the impending mob on its way to the rig. There, Steve feigns ignorance about the golden shrimp and asks Teche if he can help him get rid of the creatures. He then addresses the furious mob to assure the men on their concerns: Francesca's marriage is a happy one and moreover, oil will bring progress to Port Felicity. Despite these words, the mob decides to destroy the structure, but at that moment, oil explodes through the rig and onto the platform. Later on, the fishermen discover that the golden shrimp bed is huge, and consequently, the conflict between the oilmen and the fishermen is resolved. Teche then convinces Steve that Stella was not involved in Philippe's plot and the lovers finally come together.

Cast

Production

Production for this film started from late September to mid-November 1952. [2] It was filmed in 1.37 to 1 full frame aspect ratio while it was released in 1.85 to 1 anamorphic widescreen. [1]

The film was Universal-International's first with stereophonic sound. [2] It was also originally planned to be photographed in 3-D, but those plans were scrapped sometime during production. [2]

The film was shot in Morgan City, Louisiana with some scenes shot in New Orleans and on an oil-drilling barge in the Gulf of Mexico. [2] While filming the scenes on-location in Louisiana, Dan Duryea slipped and fell from the roof of a tugboat (which appears throughout the film). He suffered a broken rib, contusion, and bruises but was able to continue filming after a day or two of rest. [4]

Release

The film premiered at Loew's State Theatre in New York City on Tuesday, May 19, 1953 demonstrating Universal-International's widescreen process and stereophonic sound. [1] It began its release the following day. [1]

Reception

The film received favourable reviews [5] although some complained that the sound from the film's stereophonic presentation, with its use of three speakers, was loud and distracting. [2]

It opened with a gross of $42,000, the best opening for a Universal film at Loew's State. [5]

Home media

Universal first released this film on VHS on March 1, 1992. [6] Then, on June 12, 2007, it was released on DVD as part of the James Stewart Screen Legend Collection, a 3-disc set featuring four other films ( Next Time We Love , You Gotta Stay Happy , The Glenn Miller Story , and Shenandoah ). [7] This film was re-released on August 30, 2013 as a stand-alone DVD as part of the Universal Vault Series. [8] (The DVD releases of the movie are not in presented in the film's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.)

Related Research Articles

<i>Rear Window</i> 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Rear Window is a 1954 American Technicolor mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder". Originally released by Paramount Pictures, the film stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, and Raymond Burr. It was screened at the 1954 Venice Film Festival.

Edward G. Robinson Romanian American actor

Edward G. Robinson was a Romanian American actor of stage and screen during Hollywood's Golden Age. He appeared in 40 Broadway plays and more than 100 films during a 50-year career and is best remembered for his tough-guy roles as gangsters in such films as Little Caesar and Key Largo.

HRG Group, Inc., formerly Harbinger Group Inc. and Zapata Corporation, is a holding company based in Rochester, New York, having originated from an oil company started by a group including future U.S. president George H. W. Bush. In 2009, it was renamed the Harbinger Group Inc.

Anthony Mann American film director

Anthony Mann was an American actor and film director, best remembered for his work in the film noir and Westerns genres. As a director, he often collaborated with the cinematographer John Alton. He directed films for a variety of production companies, from RKO to MGM, and worked with many major stars of the era. He made several Westerns with James Stewart, such as Winchester '73 (1950), and he was the director of the medieval epic El Cid (1961), working with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. He also directed the big-budget film Cimarron (1960), which starred Glenn Ford and Maria Schell.

<i>Winchester 73</i> 1950 film by Anthony Mann

Winchester '73 is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea and Stephen McNally. Written by Borden Chase and Robert L. Richards, the film is about the journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another and a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive. Rock Hudson portrays an American Indian and Tony Curtis plays a besieged cavalry trooper, both in extremely small roles at the beginnings of their careers. The film received a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Written American Western. This is the first Western film collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart, and was filmed in black and white.

Joanne Dru American film and television actress

Joanne Dru was an American film and television actress, known for such films as Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and All the King's Men.

Dan Duryea American actor

Dan Duryea was an American actor in film, stage, and television. Known for portraying a vast range of character roles as a villain, he nonetheless had a long career in a wide variety of leading and secondary roles.

<i>Boom Town</i> (film) 1940 film by Jack Conway, John Waters

Boom Town is a 1940 American adventure film directed by Jack Conway and starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr. The supporting cast features Frank Morgan, Lionel Atwill, and Chill Wills. A story written by James Edward Grant in Cosmopolitan magazine entitled "A Lady Comes to Burkburnett" provided the inspiration for the film. The film was produced and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The Troubleshooters is a British television series made by the BBC between 1965 and 1972, created by John Elliot. It recounted events in an international oil company – the "Mogul" of the title. The first series was mostly concerned with the internal politics within the Mogul organisation, with episodes revolving around industrial espionage, internal fraud and negligence almost leading to an accident on a North Sea oil rig.

Blowout (well drilling) uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from a well

A blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well or gas well after pressure control systems have failed. Modern wells have blowout preventers intended to prevent such an occurrence. An accidental spark during a blowout can lead to a catastrophic oil or gas fire.

<i>The Flight of the Phoenix</i> (1965 film) 1965 film by Robert Aldrich

The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American drama film starring James Stewart, produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, and based on the 1964 novel The Flight of the Phoenix by Elleston Trevor. The story describes a small group of men struggling to survive their aircraft's emergency landing in the Sahara Desert, and stars Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger and Ernest Borgnine. The ensemble cast includes Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea and George Kennedy as other passengers on the aircraft.

History of the petroleum industry in Canada

The Canadian petroleum industry arose in parallel with that of the United States. Because of Canada's unique geography, geology, resources and patterns of settlement, however, it developed in different ways. The evolution of the petroleum sector has been a key factor in the history of Canada, and helps illustrate how the country became quite distinct from her neighbour to the south.

Gulf of Mexico An Atlantic Ocean basin extending into southern North America

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The US states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida border the Gulf on the north, which are often referred to as the "Third Coast", in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Montara oil spill oil spill

The Montara oil spill was an oil and gas leak and subsequent slick that took place in the Montara oil field in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Western Australia. It is considered one of Australia's worst oil disasters. The slick was released following a blowout from the Montara wellhead platform on 21 August 2009, and continued leaking until 3 November 2009, when the leak was stopped by pumping mud into the well and the wellbore cemented thus "capping" the blowout. The West Atlas rig is owned by the Norwegian-Bermudan Seadrill, and operated by PTTEP Australasia (PTTEPAA), a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) which is in turn a subsidiary of PTT, the Thai state-owned oil and gas company was operating over on adjacent well on the Montara platform. Houston-based Halliburton was involved in cementing the well. The Montara field is located off the Kimberley coast, 250 km (160 mi) north of Truscott airbase, and 690 km (430 mi) west of Darwin. Sixty-nine workers were safely evacuated from the West Atlas jackup drilling rig when the blowout occurred.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill oil spill that began in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico

The BPoil spill is an industrial disaster that began on 20 April 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8% to 31% larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Federal Government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels. After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on 19 September 2010. Reports in early 2012 indicated that the well site was still leaking. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is regarded as one of the largest environmental disasters in American history.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> explosion Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion was the April 20, 2010, explosion and subsequent fire on the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), which was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles (64 km) southeast off the Louisiana coast. The explosion and subsequent fire resulted in the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the deaths of 11 workers; 17 others were injured. The same blowout that caused the explosion also caused an oil well fire and a massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. It was a result of the well blowout that began with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion on April 20, 2010.

This article covers the effect of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the resulting oil spill on global and national economies and the energy industry.

<i>Oil on Ice</i> 2004 film

Oil on Ice is a 2004 documentary film directed by Bo Boudart and Dale Djerassi. It explores the Arctic Refuge drilling controversy in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the impact of oil and gas development on the land, wildlife, and lives of the Gwich'in Athabascan Indians and Inupiat Eskimos.

Ted Mapes American actor (1901-1984)

Ted Mapes was an American character actor, who was also a prolific stuntman and body double. Born on November 25, 1901 in St. Edward, Nebraska, he moved to Los Angeles in his mid-20s, and entered the film industry in 1929, first as a grip, and then as a stuntman and actor. He doubled for many famous actors, including Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper. His film and television career spanned forty years, during which time he appeared in hundreds of films and television shows, either as an actor, stuntman or body double. After his career in front of the camera ended in 1969, Mapes became an advocate for animal safety in films, working as an observer on sets for the American Humane Association.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Wide-Screen 'Bay' of U-I at Loew's State Tonight". Motion Picture Daily . May 19, 1953. p. 2. Retrieved September 22, 2019 via Archive.org.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Thunder Bay at the American Film Institute Catalog
  3. "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953". Variety . January 13, 1954.
  4. Oct. 17, 1952 Article from Nevada State Journal
  5. 1 2 "N.Y. Warm Days Keep 'Em Outdoors, But Widescreen 'Bay' Smash $42,000; 'Bess' Big 138G; 'Song' Fairish 60G". Variety . May 27, 1953. p. 7. Retrieved September 22, 2019 via Archive.org.
  6. https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Bay-VHS-James-Stewart/dp/6300184943
  7. https://www.amazon.com/James-Stewart-Collection-Shenandoah-Thunder/dp/B000NNUWYS
  8. https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Bay-James-Stewart/dp/B00EVIOXTQ