Thunder on the Hill

Last updated
Thunder on the Hill
Thunder Hill.jpeg
Directed by Douglas Sirk
Written by Oscar Saul
Andrew Solt
Charlotte Hastings (play)
Produced byMichael Kraike
Starring Claudette Colbert
Ann Blyth
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Ted J. Kent
Music by Hans J. Salter
Color process Black and white
Production
company
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • October 17, 1951 (1951-10-17)(United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2.5 million [1]

Thunder on the Hill is a 1951 American film noir crime film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth. The picture was made by Universal-International Pictures and produced by Michael Kraike from a screenplay by Oscar Saul and Andrew Solt, based on the play Bonaventure by Charlotte Hastings. The music score was by Hans J. Salter and the cinematography by William H. Daniels.

Contents

Thunder on the Hill was first announced as an Universal-International Pictures project in August 1947, with plans for Robert Siodmak to direct, Joseph Sistrom to produce and with Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster starring. [2] The production for Thunder on the Hill was postponed to allow Lancaster to film All My Sons , and while Fontaine filmed Letter from an Unknown Woman , her first movie through her own film production company Rampart Productions (co-owned with her husband William Dozier). [3] Thunder on the Hill was postponed again, to the autumn of 1948, this time to allow for the filming of Kiss the Blood Off My Hands , starring both Fontaine and Lancaster, which was to be immediately followed by Rampart Productions' second film, You Gotta Stay Happy (co-starring Fontaine and James Stewart). [4] Due to Fontaine's announced pregnancy during the filming of Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, the filming of Thunder on the Hill was again pushed back, this time to January 1949; by then the entire production team and its stars had been replaced. [5]

Plot

Sister Mary Bonaventure is in charge of the hospital ward of a convent in the county of Norfolk, England. She is troubled by her own sister's suicide, which she confides to her Mother Superior.

A torrential rain closes nearby roads, causing Sergeant Melling of the police to bring condemned murderer Valerie Carns there. She is being taken to prison.

Valerie was convicted of poisoning her brother Jason, a pianist. Jason's physician, Dr. Jeffreys, is head of the hospital where Sister Mary now works. Valerie still proclaims her innocence, but Jeffreys insists that she gave Jason a fatal overdose of his medicine.

A photograph of Jason clearly disturbs Isabel Jeffreys, the doctor's wife. He gives her a sedative. Valerie appeals to Sister Mary to bring her fiancé, Sidney Kingham, to the convent to see her. A servant tells Sister Mary about the sadistic behaviour of Jason Carns and produces a love letter to him, clearly written by Isabel.

Mother Superior is upset by Sister Mary's meddling. She burns the letter. The nun still intends to tell Melling the police sergeant what she knows.

Dr. Jeffreys is the one who gave Jason the fatal dose, and he might be slowly poisoning Isabel as well. He lures Sister Mary to a bell tower, where he attacks her. She rings the bell. Sidney hears it, rushes to her aid and overpowers Jeffreys, who is arrested by Melling.

Sister Mary's faith is restored, believing the rain that delivered Valerie to her to be divine intervention.

Cast

Claudette Colbert (Sister Mary) and Ann Blyth (Valerie Carns) Claudette Colbert-Ann Blyth in Thunder on the Hill trailer.jpg
Claudette Colbert (Sister Mary) and Ann Blyth (Valerie Carns)

Home releases

The film was released on a Region A Blu-ray in North America by Kino Lorber as part of their Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema II box set.

Related Research Articles

Burt Lancaster American actor (1913–1994)

Burton Stephen Lancaster was an American actor and producer. Initially known for playing tough guys with a tender heart, he went on to achieve success with more complex and challenging roles over a 45-year career in film and, later, television. He was a four-time nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and he also won two BAFTA Awards and one Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor. The American Film Institute ranks Lancaster as #19 of the greatest male stars of classic Hollywood cinema.

Claudette Colbert American actress (1903–1996)

Claudette Colbert was an American actress.

<i>Sweet Smell of Success</i> 1957 film by Alexander Mackendrick

Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 American film noir drama film directed by Alexander Mackendrick, starring Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, and Martin Milner, and written by Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman, and Mackendrick from the novelette by Lehman. The shadowy noir cinematography filmed on location in New York City was shot by James Wong Howe. The picture was produced by James Hill of Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions and released by United Artists. The supporting cast features Sam Levene, Barbara Nichols, Joe Frisco, Edith Atwater, David White and Emile Meyer. The musical score was arranged and conducted by Elmer Bernstein and the film also features jazz performances by the Chico Hamilton Quintet. Mary Grant designed the costumes.

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys Welsh judge (1645–1689), aka the Hanging Judge

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys, PC, also known as "the Hanging Judge", was a Welsh judge. He became notable during the reign of King James II, rising to the position of Lord Chancellor. His conduct as a judge was to enforce royal policy, resulting in an historical reputation for severity and bias.

Joan Fontaine British-American actress

Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, known professionally as Joan Fontaine, was a British-American actress who is best known for her starring roles in Hollywood films during the "Golden Age". Fontaine appeared in more than 45 films in a career that spanned five decades. She was the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland. Their rivalry was well-documented in the media at the height of Fontaine's career.

Valerie Harper American actress

Valerie Kathryn Harper was an American actress. She began her career as a dancer on Broadway, making her debut in the musical Take Me Along in 1959. She is best remembered for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) and its spin-off Rhoda (1974–1978). For her work on Mary Tyler Moore, she thrice received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and later received the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Rhoda. From 1986 to 1987, she appeared as Valerie Hogan on the sitcom Valerie. Her film appearances include roles in Freebie and the Bean (1974) and Chapter Two (1979), both of which garnered her Golden Globe Award nominations. She returned to stage work in her later career, appearing in several Broadway productions. In 2010, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Tallulah Bankhead in the play Looped.

Judy Carne English actress

Joyce Audrey Botterill, known professionally as Judy Carne, was an English actress best remembered for the phrase "Sock it to me!" on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

Ann Blyth American actress

Ann Marie Blyth is an American actress and singer. For her performance as Veda in the 1945 Michael Curtiz film Mildred Pierce, Blyth was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

<i>Born to Kill</i> (1947 film) 1947 film noir directed by Robert Wise

Born to Kill is a 1947 American film noir co-starring Lawrence Tierney, Claire Trevor and Walter Slezak, with Esther Howard, Elisha Cook Jr., and Audrey Long in supporting roles. Directed by Robert Wise for RKO Pictures, the feature was the first film noir production by Wise, whose later films in the genre include The Set-Up (1949) and The Captive City (1952).

Valerie Martin American writer

Valerie Martin is an American novelist and short story writer.

<i>The Virgin Suicides</i> (film) 1999 film directed by Sofia Coppola

The Virgin Suicides is a 1999 American drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, AJ Cook and Josh Hartnett. The film also features Scott Glenn, Michael Paré, and Danny DeVito in minor roles, with voice narration by Giovanni Ribisi.

<i>The World of Henry Orient</i> 1964 film by George Roy Hill

The World of Henry Orient is a 1964 American comedy film directed by George Roy Hill and starring Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss, Angela Lansbury, Tippy Walker, Merrie Spaeth, Phyllis Thaxter, Bibi Osterwald and Tom Bosley. It is based on the novel of the same name by Nora Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay with her father, Nunnally Johnson.

<i>Kiss the Blood Off My Hands</i> 1948 film by Norman Foster

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands is a 1948 American film noir thriller directed by Norman Foster. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Gerald Butler, it stars Joan Fontaine, Burt Lancaster and Robert Newton. The film faced minor opposition from fundamentalist groups in the United States and the Commonwealth, with regards to its gory title. In some markets, the film was released under the alternate title The Unafraid or Blood on My Hands.

Mary Boland American actress

Mary Boland was an American stage and film actress.

<i>Three Came Home</i> 1950 film by Jean Negulesco

Three Came Home is a 1950 American post-war film directed by Jean Negulesco, based on the memoirs of the same name by writer Agnes Newton Keith. It depicts Keith's life in North Borneo in the period immediately before the Japanese invasion in 1942, and her subsequent internment and suffering, separated from her husband Harry, and with a young son to care for. Keith was initially interned at Berhala Island near Sandakan, North Borneo but spent most of her captivity at Batu Lintang camp at Kuching, Sarawak. The camp was liberated in September 1945.

<i>Dont Go to Sleep</i> 1982 television film directed by Richard Lang

Don't Go To Sleep is a 1982 American made-for-television horror film that was produced and directed by Richard Lang. The movie features Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper, Ruth Gordon, and Robert Webber, and youngsters Kristin Cumming, Robin Ignico, and Oliver Robins.

<i>For the Love of Mike</i> 1927 film by Frank Capra

For the Love of Mike is a 1927 American silent romantic drama film. Directed by Frank Capra, it starred Claudette Colbert and Ben Lyon. It is now considered to be a lost film.

Agnes Christine Johnston American screenwriter

Agnes Christine Johnston was an American screenwriter who wrote for 84 films between 1915 and 1948.

<i>The Women</i> (1939 film) 1939 film by George Cukor

The Women is a 1939 American comedy-drama film directed by George Cukor. The film is based on Clare Boothe Luce's 1936 play of the same name, and was adapted for the screen by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin, who had to make the film acceptable for the Production Code for it to be released.

Helen Morgan (<i>Playhouse 90</i>) 23rd episode of the second season of Playhouse 90

Helen Morgan was an American television play broadcast on May 16, 1957, as part of the CBS television series, Playhouse 90. It was the 33rd episode of the first season of Playhouse 90.

References