Thunderbolt

  • Film
  • Drama
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Very much an inferior gangster picture designed to trade on the success of his earlier Underworld. Sternberg's first talkie suffers from painfully slow pacing, poor performances, and gobbets of excruciating sentimentality. It starts efficiently enough with Bancroft's eponymous hoodlum making plans to murder honest Arlen, old flame of his fur-loving mistress Wray, but after both men end up facing each other on Death Row (Arlen framed, of course, by Bancroft's mob), it grinds to a virtual standstill: endless threats, broken only by uneasy moments of misplaced comedy and much maudlin ado with a mutt (the chink in Bancrofts armour, natch). A museum piece, then, for Sternberg completists only.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Screenwriter: Herman J Mankewicz, Jules Furthman, Charles Furthman
Cast: Richard Arlen
Eugenie Besserer
Tully Marshall
Fay Wray
George Bancroft
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