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Thunder Rock

Thunder Rock title card

Year - 1942
Studio - Charter Film Productions
Stars - Michael Redgrave, Barbara Mullen, James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Finlay Currie
Director - Roy Boulting
Writing Credits - Robert Ardrey (play), Jeffrey Dell (screenplay)
Music - Hans May


David Charleston (Michael Redgrave) left England to work as a lighthouse keeper on Thunder Rock in a desolate area of Lake Michigan. His company is baffled why he never cashes his paychecks and has no interest in having a vacation replacement. He is visited by a company inspector and his seaplane pilot, Streeter (James Mason), an old friend. He explains to Streeter that he has given up on humanity after his warnings, books and speeches about the rise of fascism and the danger posed by Nazi Germany fell on deaf ears. His only companions now are characters he has created in his mind, victims of a actual shipwreck off the island, nearly 100 years ago. He believes that they, immigrants from Europe, possessed superior moral character to the people of today.

Thunder Rock poster

The "ghosts" include the ship's captain, Joshua Stuart (Finlay Currie), a Viennese physician, Dr. Stefan Kurtz (Frederick Valk), his daughter Melanie (Lillie Palmer), a woman, Ellen Kirby (Barbara Mullen), dissatisfied with the role and treatment of women in the mid-19th Century, and others. Dr. Kurtz had been reviled by the medical establishment and the public for using anesthesia in surgery. Ellen Kirby was imprisoned for fighting for womens' rights. Captain Stuart argues that David is no different from those people, saying that each of them gave up on trying to overcome their struggles in Europe, and ran away to America in hopes of finding a better life.

David Charleston begins to understand that his destiny lies in standing up and fighting for his beliefs and principles, instead of retreating to a solitary, cynical, fantasy-driven life.

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