Thunder on the Hill (1951) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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Thunder on the Hill (1951)
Convicted murderess Valerie Carns (Ann Blyth) is being transported to Norwich to be executed when a flood strands her and her guards at a convent hospital. Nurse Sister Mary (Claudette Colbert) becomes convinced of her innocence and sets out to find the real killer.
Claudette Colbert ... Sister Mary Bonaventure
Ann Blyth ... Valerie Carns
Robert Douglas ... Dr. Edward Jeffreys
Anne Crawford ... Isabel Jeffreys
Philip Friend ... Sidney Kingham
Gladys Cooper ... Mother Superior
Michael Pate ... Willie
John Abbott ... Abel Harmer
Connie Gilchrist ... Sister Josephine
Gavin Muir ... Melling
Phyllis Stanley ... Nurse Phillips
Norma Varden ... Pierce
Valerie Cardew ... Nurse Colby
One needs to enter into the atmosphere of this taut emotional story to really appreciate the fine acting done by all. Have seen "Thunder on the Hill" countless times and it's still riveting. The dialogue unfolds splendidly like a fine dramatic stage play of intrigue and mystery.
Claudette Colbert gives a fine performance as Sister Mary who is haunted by certain memories of her past and yet feels compelled to do what is right according to her conscience even though it conflicts with those in authority especially Mother Superior (Gladys Cooper).
Ann Blyth as Valerie really does make one feel that life is very precious - no one wants to die when there's so much to live for especially when young, very much in love and with plans to marry being dashed by this unjust verdict of guilty which will destroy everything.
Philip Friend as Sidney, Valerie's intended, is distraught with despair but eventually comes round and being convinced of her innocence tries to help in some way, offering Valerie his love and support in their emotionally charged scenes together.
Michael Pate as simple-minded Willie does add texture to the story of intrigue in the beginning - he holds an important letter - his voice and minor dialogue reveal a well-acted character role.
Robert Douglas as the doctor is suave and believable (well-oiled you might say) and he cares for his wife's delicate mental condition to the extent of becoming very possessive and controlling which becomes his downfall eventually.
It's a strong story of deep human conflict that everyone can relate to. One of my favourites.
Nun Claudette Colbert plays detective when the flood-bound convent she helps run plays host to a convicted murderess for the night.
Even Colbert can't save the gaping plot holes, and her continued disobedience to her superior while she goes about detecting is hard to fathom. Ann Blyth still reminds me of Veda Pierce, and is hardly sympathetic in this role, or believable.
It's atmospheric, and the setting is unique. Recommended as a curio if you enjoy the work of the stars, but not one to see over and over.
Based on a undistinguished play, in lesser hands this would have been totally forgettable. Director Douglas Sirk endows it all with a sense of style but still does not manage to salvage the pedestrian stagy dialog.
Claudette Colbert is as always, winning in her role as the nun with a feisty spirit she finds difficult to hold in check and Gladys Cooper lends her renowned haughtiness. While there are some well played smaller parts there's much wooden acting too which bogs the film down measurably.
One can't help wondering if Hitchcock ever saw this, as the climax in the bell tower is a forerunner of the famous scene from "Vertigo", but there the similarity ends.
Since Sirk went on to become an important director, this film is of certain interest, but not one to make any particular effort to hunt down.
A flooding in the country brings together an assortment of characters to Our Lady of Reims Convent and Hospital in rural England. A convicted young woman, Valerie Carns, who is accused of having poisoned her own brother, is brought by the police escort that is taken her to London for execution. As soon as the kind sister Mary Bonaventure, a nun who is a nurse in the hospital, gets to know the accused murderess, she realizes she couldn't have committed the cruel murder.
Sister Mary Bonaventure runs into the Mother Superior's wrath when she goes out of her way to champion the innocence of Ms. Carns. She even goes to bring the boyfriend to the convent so they can spend a few moments before the waters recede, risking her own life. All her efforts in saving the prisoner pay off when the cook of the convent, Sister Josephine, discovers old newspapers she has kept that reveals an important clue that was overlooked by everyone involved in the murder case and subsequent trial.
Douglas Sirk, an English director specializing in these types of melodrama seems to have been a natural for the material the film is based on. Mr. Sirk got good all around performances from this mixed cast that gathered actors from different worlds, such as Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth, who were products of Hollywood school of acting, and veterans Gladys Cooper, Robert Douglas, Philip Friend and the others that came from the English stage.
In spite of the different accents, "Thunder on the Hill" is an engrossing drama, made better by Mr. Sirk's style. Claudette Colbert does a great job with her nun detective with the heart in its right place. A young Ann Blyth is also effective. Robert Douglas as the evil Dr. Jeffreys, does a good job. Gladys Cooper's Mother Superior rings the right tone for this type of person.
A seldom shown film is worth a viewing thanks to Douglas Sirk.