BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

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Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

The image of Clint Eastood at the front of a congregation of faithful believers has always stuck with me.  That’s how Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, beginning with a very manic George Kennedy arriving to the wilderness church to put a bullet in Eastwood’s skull, begins: with a spray of bullets.  What was once peaceful and idyllic turns deadly really quickly.  That happens throughout this modern-day western.  And we never tire of it either . . . even after all these years of the criminal hijinks of Eastwood, Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis and especially Jeff Bridges as Lightfoot.

"Both funny and vulgar, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is wildly entertaining as these gang of misfits try to repeat their last, great heist"


This was the first film directed by Michael Cimino (five years later, he’d win the Oscar for The Deer Hunter) and it is a testament to his abilities as a director that he got such incredible performances from this cast with his first film.  Everyone is enjoying the movie and what it has to say.  Thankfully, the dark bromance of it all still sparkles thanks to the fantastic efforts of Kino Lorber Studio Classics who offer this 1970’s cult classic on blu-ray with a brand-new 4K sheen.

From running through yellow wheat fields in Idaho from a would-be assassin to hopping in the 1973 Pontiac Trans Am 455 stolen by Bridges and then bedding Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach), Cimino’s screenplay and his direction never misfires.  It’s like the M1 Carbine that Kennedy repeatedly fires at Eastwood in a stolen Buick Riveria, hunting him down because he wrongfully believes he double-crossed him with the goods at their last robbery.  When the bullets stop flying and the four men - Eastwood, Kennedy, Lewis, and Bridges - can safely talk, they discover that repeating the same difficult safe-cracking job might not be all that bad of an idea.  

Both funny and vulgar, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is wildly entertaining as these gang of misfits - now with a shot of young blood thanks to the antics of Lightfoot - try to repeat their last, great heist.  They still don’t completely trust each other and that adds to a lot of hilarious moments as both Kennedy and Lewis routinely test Eastwood and his patience with their jabs about hiding the last stolen loot at a schoolhouse.  Thunderbolt & Lightfoot

Along with the rauch and they in-side jokes, though, are a heap of killer cars featured in the movie, including Kennedy’s primer-gray 1951 Mercury coupe which definitely sees a lot of action - especially in the film’s wild climax.  But it is not all laughter either.  There's hell to pay and someone is going to pay the ultimate price for the life chosen here.

This movie and its crackling dialogue is also about so much more than a good time.  Yes, it is most definitely a slap on the back for a lot of good friends reunited on the silver screen - the chemistry is proof enough of that - but there is a severely dark undercurrent running through this caper (as well as some casualties) that makes its modern-day western leanings solidified and required pairing with 1969’s Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.  

As Springsteen sings, “trade in your wings for some wheels” with this crew.  Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Korber Studio Classics.

4/5 stars

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- November 12, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kino Lorber Studio Classics continues to roll out some hard hitting gems.  Their latest release is the cult classic Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which is presented with a NEW 4K scan which sets fire to the streets with the smell of gasoline and burning rubber.  It is a comic crime caper like few others and will continue to live on and be discovered thanks to the cast and the script.

Video: 

Newly minted from the original 35mm camera negative, Kino Lorber 4K handling of the new remaster is solid.  Night scenes are no longer blurry puddles of goo.  Lines have edges and black levels are STRONG as a bunch of classic cars haul ass on the screen.  Scars on the skin are clear and facial imperfections are sharp.  The transfer looks to have had extensive color corrections and it shows with a blissfully sharper palette.  Details are strong and the night scenes of escape and pleasure have strong edges throughout.  Shadows are defined, too.  

Audio:

The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and has a DTS Master Audio  track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is one commentary from Film Critic Nick Pinkerton which covers the film, its history, and the stars.

Special Features:

Kino Lorber gives fans of this flick an audio commentary from Nick Pinkerton, a film critic, a featurette with Cimino, TV Spots, a Radio Spot, and the film’s Theatrical Trailer.  There isn’t a lot, but it’s the movie that counts.  That, and its 4K handling.

  • For the Love of Characters
  • 60 Second and 30 Second TV Spots
  • Radio Spot
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
Runtime:
115 mins
Director
: Michael Cimino
Writer:
Michael Cimino
Cast:
Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis
Genre
: Comedy | Crime
Tagline:
Thunderbolt... the man with the reputation. Lightfoot... the kid who's about to make one!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hey. You stick with me kid. You're gonna live forever."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 24, 1974
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 12, 2019.
Synopsis:While stealing a car, free-spirited drifter Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) crosses paths with legendary thief Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) in the midst of his own escape. Thunderbolt's old partners in crime, Red (George Kennedy) and Eddie (Geoffrey Lewis), believe he double-crossed them after they robbed a Montana bank vault several years ago. After Thunderbolt successfully pleads his innocence and is let off the hook, Lightfoot rallies them together as a group to rob the very same bank again.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

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