Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

thunder3

This is a movie that wastes no time whatsoever in getting off the starting block. It immediately begins with Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) dressed as a church minister delivering a sermon. Suddenly a strange man walks into the church and begins to open fire on Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt runs for his life when he is almost knocked over by Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges), who has just stolen a car off a lot. Thunderbolt hitches a ride and the two slowly become friends. However two men from Thunderbolt’s past want to find him, believing he stole from them. Red Leary (George Kennedy) and Eddie Goody (Geoffrey Lewis) have a score to settle with Thunderbolt.

thunder4

When the two men catch up to Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, they learn of the truth to the heist that Thunderbolt carried out many years prior. Together the four men decide to carry out a new heist on a security deposit vault, though the animosity that Red feels for Lightfoot threatens to throw the whole plan into disarray. The plan is very elaborate, but to get the money needed the men must find jobs to finance it. This for me is where I felt the film kind of slowed down. It was a monotonous section, that almost felt like what a real job would feel like…boring. However it doesn’t last long.

thunder5

The plan even involves Lightfoot in drag, forcing Jeff Bridges to show a little leg, which to be fair to the guy doesn’t look half bad. To say any more would spoil what I felt was a great final third. The chemistry between the two leads is great, and you can tell they enjoyed themselves whilst filming. The support from George Kennedy as the volatile Red Leary is brilliant. He really does let rip with his short temper and is a menacing presence. Geoffrey Lewis is also funny as the slightly simple Eddie Goody, just looking to impress Red.

thunder2

The film is directed by Michael Cimino, and was his first feature before he directed ‘The Deer Hunter’ four years later. Cimino was a director that never really delivered after ‘The Deer Hunter’, with ‘Year of the Dragon’ and ‘The Sicilian’ being disappointments. He does well in his first directorial role here however, also serving as the writer too with what isn’t too bad a script. I would recommend this, as it’s definitely worth a watch. This copy of the film was graciously provided by the kind folks at http://www.secondsightfilms.co.uk. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is released on 23rd June and is available now for pre-order.

4/5

JM

thunder1

 

 

The Gauntlet (1977)

gaunt6

Ben Shockley (Clint Eastwood) is given the apparently mundane task of escorting a prostitute by the name of Gus Mally (Sondra Locke) from Las Vegas to Phoenix so that she can testify in a mob trial. However standing in their way are a horde of mob enforcers, bikers and dirty cops who don’t want them to make it.

gaunt2

If Mally testifies then a lot of dirty cops stand to be sent down. Shockley thinks it’s odd that he be tasked with escorting Mally. Only later realising it’s because his superiors don’t think he’s that good a cop, and he’s not on the mob payroll either. Shockley first senses something’s  up when he sees a horse, or what he thinks is a horse on a betting shop board called ‘Mally No Show’, who’s odds are increasing every hour. It’s then up to Shockley to protect Mally, even though they may end up killing each other before anyone else does. With no help from his own people, the odds are stacked against Shockley and Mally. But little do his superiors know, betting against Shockley from doing his job is asking for trouble.

gaunt5

The action is incredible. There are some fantastic chase scenes and the climax is breathtaking stuff. Clint Eastwood used to cast Sondra Locke in a lot of his movies as they were husband and wife at the time. However I did notice an alarming pattern. In the majority of the films that Eastwood cast Locke, her character is sexually assaulted. Very disturbing. Kind of makes you think of what sort of toxic relationship they had in reality.

L'EPREUVE DE FORCE

There are some witty lines in the script and Eastwood is basically channelling Harry Callahan in his role as Ben Shockley. I do recommend this. I’m a sucker for gritty 70’s action anyway and this doesn’t disappoint. If you have never seen it then seriously give it a go.

4/5

JM

gaunt1