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HEAT LIGHTNING 1934


blackhangman

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I recently viewed this little treasure and really enjoyed it. It's interesting to note that it was made

in 1934 (2 years before PETRIFIED FOREST), but follows pretty much the same story line. Aline McMahon and Ann Dvorak are two sisters who run a gas station and hash house in the middle of the desert. McMahon is happy with her life, but Dvorak is repressed and wants out, but has no way.

Into this scenario enter two men, Preston Foster and Lyle Talbot, who have robbed a bank in Salt Lake and murdered a guard. They're headed East when they stop in. Soon various sundry other characters stop by, including a pair of wealthy women wearing some expensive jewelry.

 

The characters aren't as strong as in PETRIFIED FOREST and Foster isn't as menacing as Bogart, but the film does have some fine pre-code moments. I don't think I've seen this one listed on TCM in the past and it might not be part of the library, but it is well worth seeking out. Other cast members include Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Jane Darwell and Edgar Kennedy. Anyone interested can email me.

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It's been a long time since TCM has shown it. I taped it about 5 years (or so) ago when TCM did a retrospective of pre-code films. I'm glad that it is being shown again, it is a very good film. Probably the last pre-code title that Warner Brothers released before more stringent code enforcement took place.

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I haven't seen that one, but now that you mention it, I would like to.

 

There is a similar plot in "One Crowded Night" from 1940:

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032869/

 

Whoever takes one of the long cross-country trips on old 66 or I-40 or I-10, and if you get off the Interstate and go into small towns in the Southwest and go to the local cafes and diners or the old motels left over from the '30s and '40s, you are likely to see these same types of characters, and it is quite easy to wonder, "How did they get here, and which ones of them want to get out?"

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Back in ?53, my folks and I took the long trip from Mobile, Alabama, to Los Angeles, to visit some relatives. We drove over to Dallas and took Route 66 from Amarillo on West. It was fantastic. Once we got on 66, every 25 to 50 or 100 miles, mostly desert wasteland, there would be a small gas station and a gift shop and cafe, and sometimes a ?museum? that had some old Indian stuff in it and a few rattle snakes. Many of the gas stations West of Albuquerque had signs out front that said ?Last Chance?. Some would say, ?Next Gas 73 Miles? or something like that. It was like driving into the Arctic or Africa or some far-off place. We drove over the same route that the Tom Joad family took in ?The Grapes of Wrath?, including the same bridge they crossed over the Colorado River, and the same desert they crossed West of Needles. We passed the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest in Arizona.

 

I figure that some Hollywood people or maybe some writers made the same kinds of trips a long time ago, and this might be the origin of their ideas for these kinds of plays and movies. There is no way to stop at one of those remote gas stations and cafes and not wonder why those people are there, how did they get there, why do they stay there, and which ones want to move away.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

[100_0511.jpg]

[DSC00808.jpg

I wish that I could figure out how to post just the pictures... I took a ride on 66 in western New Mexico last Feburary... On Curves Ahead - Remember, Sonny - That Rabbit's Foot - Didn't Save - The Bunny - *Burma Shave.*

 

Message was edited by: OldPackard

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OldPackard: Thank you for sharing these beautiful images from your trip around Route 66. . .and through time. I hope you don't mind if I post (or is it repost) your gorgeous photos for you.

 

 

100_0511.jpg

 

DSC00808.jpg

 

DSC00799-1.jpg

 

DSC00807.jpg

 

 

You can post your photos here simply by using this method: Right click on your original image and a box will appear with a number of options. Select the option at the bottom that reads Properties and a second box will appear that includes the URL address. Copy and past the address in the text box and place the following directly before the address with no space:

 

p

 

Place a close bracket directly after the address again leaving no space.

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I saw Heat Lighting (1934) when it aired on TCM a month or more ago, and I really enjoyed this film. I find it intriguing that the early writer mentioned The Petrified Forest (1936) because I likewise found myself thinking that this is an earlier, similiar film but I was not familiar with the name. I found this incredible poster for the film that shows Aline MacMahon taking action.

 

 

 

HeatLightningcard.jpg?width=300&height=600

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Thank You 'gypsy for posting the pictures for me... I did see the film when TCM ran it recently. I whish that I could get a dvd of it. One of those "finds" where you just sit back and enjoy the entire cast's work. As far as Route 66 is concerned, large sections were unpaved untill 1938 and later. If you follow the route through the southwest, you can find the neglected remains of single establishments and small communities all along the sections that remain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't gotten around here much lately, but this film was one of the delights of my viewing the past few months, and one of the best uses of my DVR. Why it's not better known is beyond me (well, lack of star power would be it's biggest sin, I guess). Aline MacMahon was wonderful as was Ann Dvorak who I believe was still a teenager when this film was being made. I like that there's little concealment that they both had sex on the same night with men who didn't care for them, and for the same reason. Preston Foster is an actor I sometimes have trouble with (like in Love Before Breakfast - I thought him insufferably egotistical), but here he knows he can still light Aline's fire and get to (and at) her without overdoing it. Even Lyle Talbot is convincing as a fearful crook. I always like Lyle when he's on the wrong side of the law - something seems missing when he's a straight citizen. The comic relief (Edgar Kennedy, Frank McHugh, Ruth Donnelly, and the wonderful Glenda Farrell) is mixed in very well, and Chris-Pin Martin, too. It's a lot more modest film than The Petrified Forest, but I find that film a little melodramatic with all the Fate and Doom hanging over the principals, even if I like the actors in it a lot.

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  • 1 year later...

> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> I'm watching the film now on tape. It's great!

 

I hope your tape came out. Mine quit after 6 minutes and I was puzzled, until I backtracked and found out it must have happened around 2 a.m. ET when the time changed over.

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> {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > I'm watching the film now on tape. It's great!

>

> I hope your tape came out. Mine quit after 6 minutes and I was puzzled, until I backtracked and found out it must have happened around 2 a.m. ET when the time changed over.

 

That must be it. I was concerned about that too, but in my time zone the movie ended at 1 AM, so I made it by an hour. Apparently your recorder is one of the more modern ones that is designed to reset itself, even when you don?t want it to. Sort of like a speeding Toyota. Welcome to the future, in which the computers actually do take over our lives and rule us.

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