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Heat Lightning (1934)

 -  Drama  -  3 March 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 306 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 10 critic

In the Mohave Desert, Olga runs a gas station, lunch counter, and auto camp with her younger sister Myra. In a 24-hour period, Olga must deal with Myra's desire to go to a town dance with a... See full summary »



(from the original play by), (from the original play by), 2 more credits »
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Title: Heat Lightning (1934)

Heat Lightning (1934) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ...
Preston Foster ...
Glenda Farrell ...
Mrs. Tifton
Frank McHugh ...
Ruth Donnelly ...
Mrs. Ashton-Ashley
Theodore Newton ...
Steve Laird
Willard Robertson ...
Everett Marshall
Harry C. Bradley ...
'Popsy' - a Businessman
James Durkin ...
The Sheriff
Gladys - the Wife
Edgar Kennedy ...
Herbert - the Husband
Muriel Evans ...
Blonde Cutie


In the Mohave Desert, Olga runs a gas station, lunch counter, and auto camp with her younger sister Myra. In a 24-hour period, Olga must deal with Myra's desire to go to a town dance with a cad, the appearance by happenstance of George, an old boyfriend whose conduct is never above suspicion, and the overnight presence of two women recently divorced in Reno, who, with a chauffeur, are carrying valuable jewels. George gets wind of the jewels and plays with Olga's heartstrings to set up a robbery. Myra arranges to sneak off with her beau. It's hot, and the heat lightening is crackling on the horizon. Is Olga's life of peace and hard work in the desert about to change for the worse? Written by <>

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Plot Keywords:

jewels | desert | auto camp | sister | robbery | See more »





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Release Date:

3 March 1934 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency just before it changed its name to the National Legion of Decency in April, 1934. See more »


George: Want another barbequed sandwich?
Jeff: I can hear the warden ask if I have any last words before they turn on the heat and you ask if I want another barbequed sandwich?
See more »


Version of Highway West (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Cast Brings Material Up
30 July 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Heat Lightning (1934)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Sisters Olga (Aline MacMahon) and Myra (Ann Dvorak) run a small gas station in the Arizona desert where they fight about the youngest sisters wants when it comes to a different life. Throughout the day a wide range of people stop by the shop including a couple thugs (Preston Foster, Lyle Talbot) who are wanted for killing a couple men and one of them has a past relationship with Olga. This crime picture from Warner certainly isn't among their best but the nice cast and short 64-minute running time makes it a nice little gem as long as you don't go in expecting too much. The first starts off with quite a bit of innuendo around the older sister Olga and her constantly putting men down. The way she dresses, talks and acts, it really does seem like this could have been shown during TCM's look at gay and lesbian images in early Hollywood. Her behavior is explained as the film goes along but that is certainly one thing that really jumped out. For the most part the characters really aren't all that interesting and the only reason one would pay close attention to them is because the studio cast some very familiar faces and especially to those who enjoy their "B" movies. Both MacMahon and Dvorak are good in their parts of the battling sisters and both Foster and Talbot could play heavies in their sleep. The four have some pretty good scenes together and especially MacMahon and Foster when it comes to talking about their past. The cast also includes Glenda Farrell playing a sexy idiot, Frank McHugh her driver and we even get Ruth Donnelly and Edgar Kennedy in small bits. The screenplay is full of the typical stereotype characters you'd expect in a film like this but the most disappointing thing is that not much happens throughout the running time. The movie is certainly leading up to final showdown but nothing ever really happens and there just aren't enough twists or turns to keep any sort of drama going. The movie does include a terrific looking set as I thought the diner was good enough to offer up some terrific shots and especially those where the camera just looks around the insides and there being windows everywhere. This allows one to get a 360-look around the place. Some pre-Code elements add to the fun but the main draw here are the actors.

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