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Captain Thunder

Captain Thunder(1930)

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Captain Thunder (1930)

In 1931, big studios like Warner Brothers were still figuring out the sound game. While they'd developed the Vitaphone sound system (using 33 1/3 RPM records played simultaneously with picture-only prints) they didn't realize that it was no longer possible to assemble international casts to play interchangeable nationalities, because the actor's accents would betray the illusion. Thus begat Captain Thunder (1931), where Hungarian Victor Varconi, Canadian Fay Wray, and Dutch Charles Judels struggle as Mexicans with mixed results. The cat-and-mouse game between the bandit (Varconi), the lawman (Judels) and the pretty senorita (Wray) contains no surprises, a fact that did not endear an already insulted Mexico (a nation that had briefly banned the import of American movies because of recurring, insulting "bandito" stereotypes), but this is at least a chance for modern audiences to see Wray in her natural brunette hair color, instead of the bottle blonde made famous by King Kong (1933).

By Violet LeVoit

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