Jul 27, 2014

George Bancroft, Thunderbolt


I'm not sure how good a sign it is if the most interesting thing about George Bancroft in Thunderbolt was that he really, really reminded me of Alec Baldwin. I had some great expectations going into this film--it hasn't been the easiest to find (making the anticipation all the more higher once I did), it's crafted by the amazing Josef von Sternberg (the man who directed the very first Best Actor winner), and it's actually got a very compelling concept: a death row inmate conspiring to kill a neighboring inmate who just so happens to be his ex-girlfriend's new lover. However, both Thunderbolt as well as Bancroft would prove to be disappointing. The film can't seem to fill the space with absorbing material and its leading man is more vacant than I'd have liked him to be. How strange that the man who gave such good face in von Sternberg's Underworld would show up in this picture with one default facial expression (which is "I'm displeased!"). Thunderbolt is in actuality not as interesting a character as the synopsis would have you believing. Bancroft himself looks exactly the same through much of the film--whether he's supposed to be disappointed in Ritzy, filled to the brim with anger and hatred towards Bob, or feeling remorse for the frame in which he conspired--to me he looked exactly the same in each instance, and I was never really able to see any sense of nuance to these different emotional touch points. I was bored by him, and it didn't make sense to me how something so energetic in concept could be characterized in such a feeble and flavorless manner. Simply put, it's not bad but it's a disappointment.


  1. He really looks like Baldwin. But sad the performance is not a great surprise.

    What comes next?

    1. I've got another batch of actors coming up :D