Thunder Rock (1942)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Robert Ardrey's theatrical semi-fantasy Thunder Rock was transformed in 1944 into one of the most successful British films of the year. Michael Redgrave stars as a disillusioned war correspondent, David Charleston, who shuts himself away from society by taking up residence in a Lake Michigan lighthouse. During one particularly stormy evening, Charleston's solitude is invaded by several strangers, all dressed in 19th century costume. It develops that these strangers are the ghosts of immigrants whose ship went down some 100 years earlier. Through their optimistic example, Charleston renews his own spirits and gives the world a second chance. When Thunder Rock threatens to get too ethereal for its own good, it is brought back to earth by the sardonic presence of James Mason, playing a live visitor to the lighthouse who spars both verbally and physically with the self-pitying Charleston. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
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Michael Redgrave
as David Charleston
Barbara Mullen
as Ellen Kirby
James Mason
as Streeter
Lilli Palmer
as Melanie Kurtz
Finlay Currie
as Capt. Joshua
Sybilla Binder
as Anne-Marie
Frederick Cooper
as Ted Briggs
Miles Malleson
as Chairman of Directors
Barry Morse
as Robert
A.E. Matthews
as Mr. Kirby
Olive Sloane
as Woman Director
Bryan Herbert
as Planning
Tony Quinn
as Office Clerks
Jeanne Shepherd
as Mrs. Briggs
James Pirrie
as New Pilot
Alfred Sangster
as Director
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Thunder Rock

All Critics (1)

A gripping wartime propaganda fantasy film that was based on the anti-isolation play of Robert Ardrey.

Full Review… | July 22, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Thunder Rock


Caught this about a 1/2 hour into it, so wasn't entirely sure what was happening. The story progression filled it in pretty well, and it turned out to be pretty decent. Kinda pessimistic at first, as each character is disillusioned by their efforts to improve humanity's lot being met with fear, suspicion and disdain, so give up rather than fight. But I think it's ultimately teaching the viewer that it is that very attitude that should keep us going -- that we shouldn't let others opinions of us deter us in our goals. Michael Redgrave, whom I'm liking more and more, did a good job. The film suffered just a bit with the corny "new lease on life" ending. But otherwise, a film to make you think.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

Thunder Rock (1942) -- [6.5] -- Part ghost story, part wartime propaganda flick, this heady British production is truly an unusual find. Michael Redgrave plays an American lighthouse keeper who has withdrawn from the world. Having lost all faith in humanity, especially in light of the imminent Nazi blitzkrieg, it's up to the deceased crew of a sunken ship to restore the lighthouse keeper's faith. "Thunder Rock" is a very odd film, but very interesting as a time capsule. It practically functions as a telegram from Britain to 1942 America: Don't give up, Help us fight! The second half of the film is flashback heavy, as the lighthouse keeper is led by the ghostly ship captain on a Christmas Carol-esque exploration through the lives of the ship's passengers. He learns why they chose to flee the old world for America, each having given up on a different social struggle. Unfortunately, the movie begins to crumble under the weight of its many messages, which range from feminism to the morality of scientific progress. The execution is stagey at times and the soundtrack feels like stock music, but there's some inventive use of light and shadow and good performances from Redgrave, James Mason, and Finlay Currie.

Scott Schirmer
Scott Schirmer

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