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In 1946, ex-Navy engineer Steve Martin comes to a Louisiana town with a dream: to build a safe platform for offshore oil drilling. Having finessed financing from a big oil company, formerly penniless Steve and his partner Johnny are in business...and getting interested in shrimp-boat captain Rigaud's two lovely daughters. But opposition from the fishing community grows fast, led by Stella Rigaud. Other hazards include sabotage, a hurricane...and a treacherous board of directors. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Although filmed in the standard 1.37-1 aspect ratio, Thunder Bay was chosen by Universal-International as its first wide screen feature, accomplishing this by cropping the top and bottom and projecting it at 1.85-1 at Loew's State Theatre in New York City, as well as other sites. Its initial presentation also marked UI's first use of directional stereophonic sound. See more »
Anthony Mann/James Stewart collaboration does not work as well here, in contrast to the successful westerns ("Bend of the River" - 1952, etc.). It's about a conflict between shrimp fisherman and oil drillers, with usual bad guy Dan Duryea playing a good guy role (he's better bad, a brilliant actor), as Stewart's business partner. Somehow blue-eyed WASP beauties Joanne Dru and Marcia Henderson are the daughters of latino Antonio Moreno. For shrimp harvesters, the women are surprisingly glamorous, well-groomed, and unfazed. Dru's character does sulk quite a bit, still dazzlingly beautiful, but not the best role for her, while Henderson is chipper, petite, and fun. Gilbert Roland is hammy and forgettable. Some of the color photography is pretty good, but it's a dull, contrived misfire. (Note to prior reviewer: the film was produced in aspect ratio 1:37 to 1 in 1953, on the cusp of widescreen, and formatted in the Academy Ratio, yet released "wide", by inadequate cropping,).
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