Thunder on the Hill

Thunder on the Hill is a 1951 American film noir crime film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth with Robert Douglas, Gladys Cooper, Michael Pate, John Abbott and Norma Varden. The picture was made by Universal Pictures and produced by Michael Kraike from a screenplay by Oscar Saul and Andrew Solt, based on the play Bonaventure by Charlotte Hastings. The music score was by Hans J. Salter and the cinematography by William H. Daniels.

Thunder on the Hill
Directed byDouglas Sirk
Produced byMichael Kraike
Written byOscar Saul
Andrew Solt
Charlotte Hastings (play)
StarringClaudette Colbert
Ann Blyth
Music byHans J. Salter
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited byTed J. Kent
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 17, 1951 (1951-10-17) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2.5 million[1]


Sister Mary Bonaventure is in charge of the hospital ward of a convent in the county of Norfolk, England. She is troubled by her own sister's suicide, which she confides to her Mother Superior.

A torrential rain closes nearby roads, causing Sergeant Melling of the police to bring condemned murderer Valerie Carns there. She is being taken to prison.

Valerie was convicted of poisoning her brother Jason, a pianist. Jason's physician, Dr. Jeffreys, is head of the hospital where Sister Mary now works. Valerie still proclaims her innocence, but Jeffreys insists that she gave Jason a fatal overdose of his medicine.

A photograph of Jason clearly disturbs Isabel Jeffreys, the doctor's wife. He gives her a sedative. Valerie appeals to Sister Mary to bring her fiance, Sidney Kingham, to the convent to see her. A servant tells Sister Mary about the sadistic behavior of Jason Carns and produces a love letter to him, clearly written by Isabel.

Mother Superior is upset by Sister Mary's meddling. She burns the letter. The nun still intends to tell Melling the police sergeant what she knows.

Dr. Jeffreys is the one who gave Jason the fatal dose, and he might be slowly poisoning Isabel as well. He lures Sister Mary to a bell tower, where he attacks her. She rings the bell. Sidney hears it, rushes to her aid and overpowers Jeffreys, who is arrested by Melling.

Sister Mary's faith is restored, believing the rain that delivered Valerie to her to be divine intervention.



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