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Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT212-BR

THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (1974 / ENCORE EDITION) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  George Kennedy, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Gary Busey, Catherine Bach, Vic Tayback
Directed By:  Michael Cimino
Composed By:  Dee Barton

“A funny, tough-fibered crime comedy with an unobtrusive edge of drama… consistently entertaining and interesting…freshly turned in characterization and plot, amusingly ribald and neatly paced.” – Howard Thompson, The New York Times

“Hilariously vulgar…Debuting director Michael Cimino obtains superior performances from Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis, and especially Jeff Bridges.” – Variety

“A crisp, well-written caper movie sporting some stunning landscapes and a fine core of performances…told in fine detail with richly developed characters.” – TV Guide

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) marked the directing debut of screenwriter Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate), working under the meticulous guidance of star/producer Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a typically laconic loner, a big-time thief in hiding who hooks up with a goofy young drifter (Jeff Bridges, giving an Oscar®-nominated performance). First attempting to escape from a couple of vengeful former partners (George Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis), then joining forces with them to pull off a risky robbery, Eastwood and Bridges give us an ultimately touching portrait of masculine friendship. Superbly photographed in Montana’s Big Sky country by Frank Stanley, and featuring a score by Eastwood regular Dee Barton.

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1974 / Color
114 MINUTES
RATED R

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman / Original Theatrical Trailer

  
Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on May 9, 2016 4:44 PM
A CAPER FILM THAT STILL HOLDS UP

I can remember the first time I saw this movie, back when it was first released and ended up playing at the local drive in. That drive in was the only place to see movies in town so when word reached it was coming I knew I’d be there. I wasn’t disappointed. The owner of the drive in would hold posters for me and the half sheet on this one remains in my collection, a perfect piece of movie poster art that captured the movie well. But while the poster displayed star Clint Eastwood with his foot resting on a big gun it was about more than that.

The movie kicks off with a panoramic shot of a wheat field, a small country church on a Sunday morning off to the side. A car drives up and we cut back and forth from outside of the church and a man about to enter to a preacher (Clint Eastwood) delivering a sermon. The man enters, pulls out a gun and begins shooting. This prompts Eastwood to run out the back and across that field.

At the same time this is happening a young man (Jeff Bridges) walks from train tracks to a used car lot. Talking to the salesman he’s invited to sit in and listen to a sporty new car to see how powerful it is. It is indeed and even more so when he speeds off the lot, stealing the car.

These two stories intertwine when Eastwood runs out of the field into the road and is nearly hit by Bridges and attempts to jump into the car. As Bridges tries to lose him he careens off into the field, hitting the man chasing Eastwood. The pair drive off and a friendship is begun.

As things progress Bridges tells Eastwood his name is Lightfoot and the two travel down the road together, stealing along the way and swapping cars when needed. He lets Eastwood know he could see there was something different about him and he wants to learn from him. When he discovers the men chasing them were involved in a major bank heist years ago he remembers the name of the man who operated a cannon to rob the bank, the Thunderbolt.

The pursuing ex-gang members eventually catch the pair with plans to kill them. When they learn that the loot from the old robbery is gone they back down. It’s then that Lightfoot suggest that they pull off the same heist all over again. Who would ever suspect a group of thieves doing the same heist using the same plan?

It isn’t just the story that makes this movie work although there is more story going on here than in many movies being made today. It isn’t just a heist movie. It’s a movie that talks about friendship, about loyalty, about greed, about achieving a dream and it’s done in such a way as to make what should be considered bad guys out to be a combination of killers and anti-heroes. Many movies released at the time had that ambiguous lawbreaker as the central character in their films. Burt Reynolds made a career out of it.

At the core of this film is the relationship between Eastwood and Bridges. You get the feeling that in Bridges Eastwood’s character sees himself when he was younger. Brash, mouthy and ready to take on the world Bridge’s character is constantly joking with the others earning him the rancor of gang member Red Leary (George Kennedy). A butting of heads is inevitable between these two and you’re just not sure where that will lead. The interaction between all four crooks, including Geoffrey Lewis as Eddie Goody, makes you wonder at times if they can pull of the heist at all.

When this movie was made Eastwood was in the midst of seeing his acting career rise to atmospheric proportions. Having just come off of the first two Dirty Harry movies and leaping into both THE EIGER SANCTION and THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES just after this film, he was a mega-star. Bridges was on the early cusp of stardom having done both THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and THE LAST AMERICAN HERO before this movie. Their combined star power made this movie a success before it hit the screen and the interplay between the two of them here just pushed it over the top.

All of the performances seen here are great. Eastwood’s cool demeanor, Bridges’ cocky youngster, Lewis’ bumbling sidekick to Red and Kennedy’s anger driven criminal meld together to make the story work. While you would never think of these four different people coming together to achieve anything the fact that they did once and got away with it seems amazing. That they could possibly do it again is even more questionable.

The movie was another landmark as well. It was the first film directed by Michael Cimino. Having written the screenplays for both SILENT RUNNING and MAGNUM FORCE this was his first film in that position. Four years later his next film was released to stunning success. It was called THE DEER HUNTER. While that movie raised his level in Hollywood his next film brought it crashing down, the often discussed financial disaster HEAVEN’S GATE. To date he’s only directed 8 movies which is a shame when you watch those that he’s made. Hollywood isn’t a forgiving town though.

Twilight Time is releasing this movie in a limited edition series. As with all Twilight Times films this means there are only a limited number being made so if you want one make sure you get it now. The transfer is amazing with a widescreen presentation that uses the full frame to tell the story. The extras are small in number but it is the movie itself presented this clear that makes this worth picking up. This one is a definite add to the collection for all movie fans and Eastwood fans in particular.

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