Oh, wait… That’s Hal
Our story is about retired Air Force Lt. Col. Matt Brennan (Humphrey Bogart)!
“How do ya want it, Willis? The EASY WAY, or the HARD WAY?”
“I don’t want any more TESTS! …Understand, Brennan? No more TESTS!”
There’s also Eleanor Parker as “Joan Holloway” (No, not the bombshell redhead from TV’s MAD MEN pictured below!), better known as “Jo” – attached to the Air Force, and the girl Brennan leaves behind in
He backs this by convincing Willis to publicize a flight from
|Yeah, it's the SAME PLANE as above! No Thunder. No Lightning.|
Supplementing the visual effects are some rather familiar SOUND EFFECTS to fans of Warner’s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons!
Throughout this film you can hear “jetting” sounds that would soon be used for the Road Runner (The first entry in that series, “Fast and Furry-ous” would also debut in 1949), the unforgettable “bomber power dive” taken by Bugs Bunny and a wily Gremlin in the cartoon “Falling Hare” (1943), accelerations and decelerations later repurposed for flying saucers in such Bugs Bunny and Marvin Martian outings as “Hasty Hare” (1952) – and, most noticeable of all, the “accelerated spinning” sound later made famous by the Tasmanian Devil! Look (actually, listen) for that at about 01:28:40.
|...Do me hear Bogie's plane?|
On that topic, Looney Tunes’ film editor Treg Brown clearly raided Warner Bros. movies for many of the sound effects heard in the cartoons… cannons firing, gunshots, gates crashing down, arrows flying, etc. The more old Warner films I watch, from this perspective, the more I notice that.
It's Warner Archives: That means virtually nothing in the way of Extra Features. No commentary track, subtitles, logical chapter skips -- or even MENUS specifically designed for this movie. No background or "Making Of" featurette. No “Warner Night at the Movies” that I’ve loved so much in other packages! And, there is a needlessly limited choice of devices on which to play it (no computers), vs. standard DVD.
Chapter Skips: Though mentioned above, “Chapter Skips” gets a special mention in our CONS section for “Chain Lightning” because the situation has actually REGRESSED from prior WAC releases. The earliest WAC DVDs came with fixed 10-minute interval Chapter Skips – regardless of where that put viewers logically within the film. A later wave of WAC releases seemed to correct this situation, offering Chapter Skips that worked more logically with the film – as in the Bogart film “The Two Mrs. Carrolls” (1947).
But, Warner Archives now returns us to the “10-minute intervals”, with both “Chain Lightning” and in the simultaneous release of Bogart’s 1945 “Conflict”, and that is an unfortunate step backward for WAC – and a CON for this review.
But, all is not lost...
Oddly, the Pat O'Brien / Bogart film "The Great O'Malley" (subsequently released August 28, 2012) corrects and restores the more scene-logical chapter skips. Go fig!
|The Old Blue Menu!|
|The NEWER, "WB Theatre" Menu!|
|Let's hear it for "The Great O'Malley"!|
But, all is not lost, once again...
"The Great O'Malley" also offers an illustrated menu SPECIFIC to the film - a FIRST for Warner Archives. So, Warner Archives advances schizophrenically again.
It's Warner Archives: That means we get a film that would probably not garner sufficient support for a general release. Given a choice between “Chain Lightning”, as a Warner Archive Collection release, or no release at all, I’ll gladly take a WAC version.
[JOE’S NOTE: Damn! Why did *I* have to choose COMIC BOOKS as a hobby!]
[JOE’S NOTE: Now, let’s not get carried away, folks! Sure, I LIKE the guy, but…]
[JOE’S NOTE: Yep, I definitely picked the WRONG HOBBY!]
[JOE’S NOTE: Again, let’s not get carried away!]
Also, among the cast is ‘50s Sci-Fi film player Morris Ankrum (“Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”, “The Giant Claw”, “Kronos”, “Rocketship X-M”, and more), who was also a semi-regular as a courtroom judge on PERRY MASON, as a Willis Aircraft engineer – and Irwin Allen TV Sci-Fi frequent guest star John Crawford (“Dr. Chronos” on LOST IN SPACE, etc.), uncredited as a “radio operator”. Look for Crawford at 01:09:50.
Taking into account the (by now) expected shortcomings of a Warner Archive product, as opposed to a “standard” Warner Home Video release, “Chain Lightning” still comes across as a very worthwhile package.
The very CADENCE of key character names and places in both film and comic book indicates something more than coincidental. Speak them aloud, and see for yourself…
|Did someone say STRETCH?|