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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 »
In 1946, the drifters Steve Martin (James Stewart) and his partner and friend Johnny Gambi (Dan Duryea) travel to Port Felicity in Lousianna completely broken to meet the investor Kermit MacDonald (Jay C. Flippen). Steve dreams on building an offshore drilling barge to explore oil in the Gulf of Mexico and MacDonald, who is an entrepreneur and also a dreamer, decides to finance them but gives a short schedule to find oil.
They initially hire the fishing vessel of skipper Dominique Rigaud (Antonio Moreno) since the fishermen are having difficulties to catch shrimps. Steve and Johnny try to befriend the locals but when they use dynamite to locate oil, the population turns against them. Meanwhile Johnny dates the younger daughter of Dominique, Francesca (Marcia Henderson), while her older sister Stella Rigaud (Joanne Dru) feels attraction for Steve, but she rejects him since she is a wounded woman with a past. Steve, Johnny and their crew need to face the hostility and sabotage from the locals and also a hurricane while searching for the valuable oil.
"Thunder Bay" is an entertaining romantic adventure that takes place in the period of the beginning of exploration of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and shows the friction between the local fishermen and the oilmen. The plot is corny, with a feel-good conclusion but James Stewart is always an attraction. Further, for those that work in the oil business, it is great to see the early period of offshore exploration of oil. My vote is seven.
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