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Thunder in the East
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from votes
Release: 5 December 1952 (West Germany) /

Thunder in the East

Genre: Drama, War
Director: Jo Swerling,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: During India's first years of independence from Britain, Steve Gibbs lands his armaments loaded plane in Ghandahar province hoping to get rich. Pacifist Prime Minister Singh hopes to reach an agreement with guerilla leader Khan, the maharajah is a fool, and the British residents are living in the past. Steve's love interest is Joan Willoughby, the blind daughter of a parson. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Critic Reviews


I liked "Thunder in the East," a 1952 release for this film, made in 1949.

This film looks to have been made on a smallish budget and takes place in the first years of India's freedom from Britain. A man named Steve Gibbs (Alan Ladd) flies in a plane filled with armaments in the Ghandahar province in order to sell them. However, the Prime Minister, Singh (Charles Boyer) wants to achieve a peaceful resolution with the leader of the guerrillas, Khan.

The British living in India are delusional, not realizing that the guerrillas are about to attack. The ones who do get out end up dead en route. Gibbs meets Joan Willoughby (Deborah Kerr) and her parson father (Cecil Kellaway) and manages to meet the maharajah, who defers to the Prime Minister and then leaves the country for the winter.

Gibbs offers his plane, but he gouges the people wanting to leave, which angers Joan, who was falling for him. Now she turns against him and no one will give into what they call blackmail. They gather at the palace, waiting for the guerrillas to attack, and hope that the Prime Minister will let them use the guns he has.

There are a couple of problems with this film. One is the casting of Charles Boyer and his French accent and heavy makeup. I have to say, he was wonderful. He was an underrated actor, but miscast.

The script has a few clichés, particularly the hard core businessman falling for a sweet, altruistic woman. Nevertheless, it certainly held my interest.

I read some complaints about the ending, which for me was the best part of the film. Very dramatic and very exciting. As far as the Prime Minister's beliefs, he was a human being and acted on an injustice viscerally. His idealism went out the window, and that's okay. That's what happens sometimes.

Alan Ladd did a good job in a Bogart-type role. I never considered him much of an actor, but that monotone type of line reading works fine in this type of part, as it did in his film noirs. Deborah Kerr was lovely as a good woman who prides herself on her independence and fearful of losing it.

The film was probably trying to make the point that Gandhi was an idiot, and that following his principles wasn't a good idea. Not sure I'd conclude that in all cases. Maybe in this one.

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