Film Review: Thunder Rock (1942)

thunderrock

Part ghost story, part wartime propaganda flick, this heady British production is truly an unusual find. Michael Redgrave plays an American lighthouse keeper who has withdrawn from the world. Facing the imminent Nazi blitzkrieg, he’s lost all faith in humanity, so it’s up to the deceased crew of a sunken ship to help him restore his faith.

Thunder Rock is a very odd film, but interesting as a time capsule. It practically functions as a telegram from Britain to 1942 America: Don’t give up, Help us fight! The second half of the film is flashback heavy, as the lighthouse keeper is led by the ghostly ship captain on a Christmas Carol-esque exploration through the lives of the ship’s passengers. He learns why they chose to flee the old world for America, each having given up on a different social struggle.

Unfortunately, the movie begins to crumble under the weight of its many messages, which range from feminism to the morality of scientific progress. The execution is stagey at times and the soundtrack feels like stock music, but there’s some inventive use of light and shadow and good performances from Redgrave, James Mason, and Finlay Currie.

Rating: 2.75/5 ★★¾☆☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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