6.5/10
115
6 user 3 critic

Thunder Afloat (1939)

Passed | | Romance, Drama, War | 15 September 1939 (USA)
In a New England port town, Pop Thorson and Rocky Blake are rival tugboat owners. Thorson's boat has sunk in the shallow water while docked, and he is certain Blake sabotaged it for winning a lucrative contract of military supplies.

Director:

George B. Seitz

Writers:

Wells Root (screen play), Harvey S. Haislip (screen play) (as Commander Harvey Haislip) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Wallace Beery ... John Thorson
Chester Morris ... 'Rocky' Blake
Virginia Grey ... Susan Thorson
Douglass Dumbrille ... District Commander (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Carl Esmond ... U-Boat Captain
Clem Bevans ... 'Cap' Finch
John Qualen ... Milo
Regis Toomey ... Ives
Henry Victor ... German U-Boat Officer
Addison Richards ... Adm. Ross
Hans Joby Hans Joby ... U-Boat Petty Officer
Henry Hunter Henry Hunter ... Ens. Dyer
Jonathan Hale ... Adm. Girard
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Storyline

In a New England port town, Pop Thorson and Rocky Blake are rival tugboat owners. Thorson's boat has sunk in the shallow water while docked, and he is certain Blake sabotaged it for winning a lucrative contract of military supplies.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JUST LIKE THE HEADLINES! Now it can be told how two-fisted sea-going Yankees fought German U-boats invading American waters in the last war! Beery's back with thrills and laughs in today's timeliest picture! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Drama | War | Action

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several cast members listed as appearing in this film according to studio records were never seen. These were, with their character names: George Guhl (Skipper), Charles Lane (Capt. Sabin), Edward LeSaint (Father Burns), Mitchell Lewis (Johnson) and Phillip Terry (Lt. West). See more »

Goofs

The Congressional Medal of Honor is "presented" by the President on behalf of and in the name of the Congress. See more »

Connections

Featured in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Big Parade of Hits for 1940 (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Lyrics by George Asaf
Whistled by Frank Orth
See more »

User Reviews

Has Its Heart in the Right Place
13 December 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Thunder Afloat (1939)

** (out of 4)

Tugboat captain John Thorson (Wallace Beery) tricks his rival Rocky Blake (Chester Morris) into joining the Navy so that he can get a big deal. However, the captain changes his mind about WW1 after his tugboat is struck by a German U-boat. It's important to note where the U.S. was during 1939 when WWII was a hot topic and this country wasn't certain whether they were going to join or not. It's clear that MGM and the producer's hearts were in the right place with THUNDER AFLOAT but I just found the thing to be way too stupid to be enjoyed. The film starts off like you're watching some sort of bad comedy and what we've basically got is Beery acting like his big bear self while he takes on Germany all by himself. There are some incredibly stupid scenes early on in this picture including one where Beery just punches the German U-boat captain and nothing really happens to him. Yeah right! Can you imagine what would happen to an American who punch a German captain? There are countless scenes where Beery just acts like a moron and I'm sure people ate it up in 1939 but when viewed today it just doesn't work. The entire film is rather flat as we watch Beery end up in the Navy where of course he meets up with his old pal Blake. This leads to Beery and Morris exchanging a bunch of quick lines but none of them work. Morris is one of my favorite forgotten actors but he's really not given too much to do. It tells you something when actors like Beery and Morris can't bring any life to a picture. Virginia Grey is good in her supporting role but she's not given too much to do. THUNDER AFLOAT has its heart in the right place but the mix of politics, comedy and action just never fully work.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thunder Afloat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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