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Thunder Bay (1953, James Stewart, Dan Duryea)

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In just five years, Anthony Mann directed James Stewart in no fewer than eight pictures, from The Glenn Miller Story to Bend of the River. Thunder Bay film is a minor work in the duo’s canon but is still an enjoyably muscular movie set in post-war Louisiana.

Steve and Gambi (Stewart and Dan Duryea) are two ex-GIs determined to find oil in the Gulf of Mexico. But their drilling rig riles the local shrimpers, who fear that their livelihood will be at risk from any successful strike. And, to complicate matters, Steve and Gambi fall for Stella and Francesca Rigaud (Joanne Dru and Marcia Henderson), who happen to be the daughters of the most militant boat captain, Dominique Rigaud (Antonio Moreno). As tempers rise between the oilmen and the shrimpers, the boats set out to attack the rig just as the first gusher blows. But just as bloody conflict seems inevitable, a chance discovery proves that it isn’t just black gold that’s in the Gulf but an invaluable golden harvest for the boats.

Stewart’s role as the steadfast member of the pair is matched by Duryea’s wisecracking yet heroic character and the two female leads match them superbly. Largely shot on location, the on-water scenes are dramatically realised and if the script is occasionally a little wordy, the action more than makes up for it.

production details
USA | 103 minutes | 1953

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Director: Anthony Mann
Writers: Gil Doud, John Michael Hayes

cast
Harry Morgan as Rawlings
Joanne Dru as Stella Rigaud
Fortunio Bonanova as Sheriff Antoine Chighizola
James Stewart as Steve Martin
Gilbert Roland as Teche Bossier
Dan Duryea as Johnny Gambi
Jay C. Flippen as Kermit MacDonald
Marcia Henderson as Francesca Rigaud
Robert Monet as Phillipe Bayard
Antonio Moreno as Dominique Rigaud
Mario Siletti as Louis Chighizola


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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