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Thunder on the Hill

1951 1h 24m Mystery & Thriller List
83% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 65% Audience Score 100+ Ratings
An English nun (Claudette Colbert) tries, during a flood, to clear a young woman (Ann Blyth) convicted of murder. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

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Don Druker Chicago Reader A pouring rainstorm keeps the drama properly claustrophobic, and Sirk handles the conventions of the mystery with characteristic finesse. Mar 24, 2007 Full Review New York Times The whole thing is solemn and perfunctory, when all is said and done, and it leaves one wondering upon what sort of evidence that poor girl was originally condemned. Rated: 2.5/5 Mar 24, 2007 Full Review Francois Truffaut Cahiers du Cinéma If Douglas Sirk doesn’t have the genius of Rossellini and Hitchcock, the sincerity and intelligence of his directing make him worthy of it. May 6, 2022 Full Review Nicholas Bell [A] gem... Here, Sirk reunites with Claudette Colbert, who previously starred in his noir Sleep, My Lovely. Rated: 3/5 Jul 30, 2020 Full Review TV Guide Minor, but nonetheless fascinating, work of Sirk. Rated: 3/4 Jun 20, 2007 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Intense melodrama about a nun solving a murder. Rated: A- Mar 22, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (4) audience reviews
Steve D Quite interesting with some strong characters. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 04/05/24 Full Review Matthew D Claudette Colbert's kind nun tries to help Ann Blyth's evil girl. Director Douglas Sirk's film noir crime mystery Thunder on the Hill (1951) is fascinating. It's ominous and atmospheric with shadows cast everywhere. It's interesting to me that Douglas Sirk was directing film noir pictures before his legendary run of romantic melodramas in the 1950s. He always had a striking visual aesthetic and sympathy for his heroines. The fog over the floodwaters that's surrounded by dead trees is such a cool image, only lit by moonlight. Thunder on the Hill has tons of midnight meetings and eerie bogs. Bernard Herzbrun and Nathan H. Juran's shadowy film noir aesthetics make their art direction striking. The constant thunder and silky camera movements of cinematographer William H. Daniels are dazzling. Writers Oscar Saul and Andrew Solt adapt Charlotte Hastings' dark story of murder and mistakes. I found Thunder on the Hill fully engaging and full of interesting female performances from Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth, especially. It's funny to have the lead detective on a case be a curious nun. Claudette Colbert is very kind and compelling as the heroine Sister Mary, who fancies herself a detective at finding the truth. I found Colbert intriguing and likable with a smart intelligence and patient personality. Ann Blyth is glamorous as the femme fatale Valerie Carns. Her gentle piano playing is dreamy like her dark eyes and forlorn manner. Ann Blyth is totally captivating in Thunder on the Hill. Her dramatic acting is very realistic and touching for 1951 standards. She's clearly upset at being called a murderess, but has a vulnerable side that's very cute and endearing. Robert Douglas is oddly nervous as Dr. Jeffreys. He snoops around and makes me suspicious. Anne Crawford is strange and compelling as the mysterious woman Isabel Jeffreys. Gladys Cooper is solid as the tough Mother Superior. Michael Pate is good as the brutish fool Willie, who can be gentle and helpful. Connie Gilchrist is funny as the ever complaining nun Sister Josephine. Phyllis Stanley is very mean as Nurse Phillips. Editor Ted J. Kent has slick cuts that keep Thunder on the Hill 84 minutes. His stylish cutting lets scenes flow easily. Set decorators John P. Austin and Russell A. Gausman makes a nun's convent and stuff it with furniture for all the large cast of extras. Composer Hans J. Salter's tremendous film score is symphonic thunder to be boisterous and eerie like Thunder on the Hill's dark tone. Costume designer Bill Thomas gives Ann Blyth cute suits and the other ladies nun's garments. Bud Westmore is pretty on Blyth's lovely face and everyone else looks haggard. Joan St. Oegger's stunning haircut for Ann Blyth is quite becoming and every other cast member has awful grisly cuts to make them look rougher. In short, Thunder on the Hill is an intriguing film noir picture full of shadows and secrets. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/02/23 Full Review Audience Member campy but its fun. worth it Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Poor unjustly accused Annie is headed to the gallows but waylaid by a flood bringing into the sphere of saintly Sister Claudette who senses something is awry. Loaded with high quality performers this is a bit preposterous but Sirk's steady hand in the director chair and the sincere work of the cast keep it from seeming outlandish. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Thunder on the Hill

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Movie Info

Synopsis An English nun (Claudette Colbert) tries, during a flood, to clear a young woman (Ann Blyth) convicted of murder.
Douglas Sirk
Michael Kraike
Production Co
Universal/Universal Int
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
1h 24m