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Thunder in the Sun
Adventure , Drama, Favorite

1959 | 4:3 | COLOR | Quality: Excellent

Jeff Chandler

Susan Hayward



Jeff Chandler is Lon Bennett - a drunken and womanizing frontier scout who has been hired by a group of Basque immigrants from the French Pyrennees to escort their wagon train to California, where they plan to start a vineyard. Among the Basques is the lovely Gabrielle Dauphin (Susan Hayward), who catches Bennett's eye but is already married to another member of the group. This, of course, does not stop Bennett from relentlessly persuing Gabirelle, which leads to a complicated love triangle developing. But as the wagon train moves westward, the dangers mount - including dehydration, fires, unrest within the group and an oncoming attack from a great number of Native Americans!

Oh boy, hold on to your hat for this one! First, this is a really fun, entertaining, and fast-moving picture that is packed with memorable scenes, interesting supporting characters, and some truly excellent action sequences. There is one scene where it is clear Susan Hayward's stunt double is actually on fire. Discussion must also be had about the behavior or Jeff Chandler's character here - the guy is a complete sleazeball and behaves in a manner which today would either have him thrown in jail for sexual assault or get him elected President - I'm not sure which. When we first meet him, we see he's living in a brothel that he's thoroughly trashed during a drunken rage - he's already had his way with all the ladies and he's worn out his welcome with the owner. From there we move to his first meeting with Susan Hayward, where despite her making it quite clear she is married and uninterested, he is relentless in his advances - which include brazenly gawking at her while she bathes, gets dressed, or simply forcing himself on her whenever he pleases despite her repeated protests. The words "No" and "I'm married" mean nothing to Chandler here, and it's even worse when one of his fits of lust leads directly to the death of Hayward's husband - OH WELL THAT OBSTACLE IS OUT OF THE WAY I GUESS! In the end, it seems like Hayward is simply exhausted from fighting him off through the whole movie and just gives in - what a great message for all the young men watching! The film is also often knocked for its inaccurate portrayal of the Basque culture - but if you can put these flaws aside, you will find a truly entertaining and unusual gem underneath! Strictly by pure entertainment value, Thunder in the Sun is a first rate production filled with many memorable scenes and characters!

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