Thunder (film)

Thunder is a 1929 American silent melodrama film starring Lon Chaney and directed by William Nigh. The film has no audible dialogue but featured a synchronized musical score and sound effects.[2] Thunder was Chaney's penultimate film appearance and his last silent film.[3]

Directed byWilliam Nigh
Produced byHunt Stromberg
Written byAnn Price (scenario)
Joseph W. Farnham (intertitles)
Screenplay byByron Morgan
Story byByron Morgan
StarringLon Chaney
Phyllis Haver
James Murray
Tom Keene
Frances Morris
Wally Albright
CinematographyHenry Sharp
Edited byBen Lewis
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • July 8, 1929 (1929-07-08)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles
Box office$1,018,000[1]

The majority of Thunder is now considered lost, with only a half a reel of the entire footage known to survive.[4]


Lon Chaney plays Grumpy Anderson, a railroad engineer with an obsession for running his train on time. His slavishness to promptness causes several tragedies which alienate him from his family. By the story's end, the engineer restores their faith in him and validates his obsession by forcing his train through a flood to bring badly needed Red Cross supplies to the victims.


Production notes

The film was shot on location in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Pulaski, Wisconsin, Green Valley, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois.[5] It was there that Chaney caught a cold during the snow scenes which then developed into walking pneumonia. Production was shut down for a time but was eventually completed.[6] Chaney's illness combined with his throat cancer led to his death two months after the release of his last film, and only talkie, 1930's The Unholy Three.[7]


Thunder was released to theaters on July 8, 1929 and eventually grossed a total of $1,018,000.[1] It was Lon Chaney's fifth highest-grossing film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[8]

See also


  1. Blake, Michael Francis (1995). A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 331. ISBN 1-879-51121-5.
  2. Blake, Michael F. (2001). The Films of Lon Chaney. Madison Books. p. 187. ISBN 1-568-33237-8.
  3. Blake, Michael F. (1997). A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures. Vestal Press. p. 262. ISBN 1-461-73076-7.
  4. Thunder at database
  5. Blake 1997 p.263
  6. Basinger, Jeanine (2000). Silent Stars. Wesleyan University Press. p. 262. ISBN 0-819-56451-6.
  7. Dixon, Wheeler Winston (2010). A History of Horror. Rutgers University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-813-55039-4.
  8. Blake 1997 p.267
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