Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cloudburst (1952)

Sometimes, I just randomly select a movie off Netflix instant viewing.  Not too long ago, I picked Cloudburst, starring Robert Preston.  It's a movie I'd never heard of, but Robert Preston is an interesting actor, and this one made me curious enough to watch.  It was a lot darker and more violent than I expected.

The movie follows a man (Preston) as he hunts down the two escaped cons who ran down his pregnant wife in a hit-and-run car accident.  The movie is set post WWII, and I liked how his contacts from the war, as well as his training, come into play.  He is a specialist in cryptography, who now runs a team in England deciphering various coded messages.  It's not entirely a straight-forward revenge tale, as a Scotland Yard detective finds a coded message (dropped by Preston when he catches up to one of the killers), and comes to Preston to have him decode it.  Preston ends up helping track himself down.

My favorite parts of this film were the tie-ins with WWII.  Preston's combat experience, his friends in the Resistance with a wealth of knowledge on tracking and avoiding being detected... even Scotland Yard has two detectives who served with Preston and carry the same combat knowledge.  As Preston basically reverts to a wartime mentality in his hunt for vengeance, his friend has moved on and knows the things Preston asks him to do in the movie -- things that once kept them alive in the war -- are no longer acceptable in a peacetime setting.  I found that fascinating.  I wish it had explored that contrast even more, but it was a fairly short movie with a brisk pace to a satisfying conclusion.  I also enjoyed watching the detective (Colin Tapley) put things together. 

This is not a film I'll probably watch again, but it was quite intriguing.  I also liked watching the team of cryptographers working hard on decoding various messages.  That's definitely not a job I could do!  Would take way too much patience and systematic thinking.


  1. Dano is great with codes -- I can't wait to find him a good book about the WWII code-talkers and so on.

    I thought you really disliked Robert Preston?

    1. It's one of those cases of the first thing I saw him in was The Music Man, which I dislike intensely (and honestly haven't even seen all the way through). But then when I caught him young in a whole bunch of movies, he grew on me. I think, once upon a time, I blogged about how interesting and cool he actually was.

      Codes are fascinating, but would require way too much patience from this impatient person.

    2. Aha! I do now recall you saw "Blood on the Moon" a while ago and dug it.

      He's got this non-macho bravado that intrigues me.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I love those little streaming finds.