Movie Mirrors Index

Heat Lightning

(1934 b 63')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from the play by Leon Abrams and George Abbott, two sisters run a service station in the desert visited by an old flame running from his latest crime.

In a hot desert Olga (Aline MacMahon) fixes a car for a couple. Her younger sister Myra (Ann Dvorak) wants to go to a dance, calls Steve, and agrees to sneak out. Olga discourages her, but Myra says that Olga doesn't know about love and cries. Olga tells Everett she is keeping Myra away from Steve for her own good. George (Preston Foster) and Jeff (Lyle Talbot) come in for lunch. Jeff is nervous, but George says he is experienced. Police are looking for two men who robbed a bank and killed two cashiers. George did the shooting. George and Olga know each other. Olga says her sister doesn't know about the cabaret. The sheriff stops, asks some questions, and leaves. Frank (Frank McHugh) drives in with Mrs. Tifton (Glenda Farrell) and Mrs. Ashton-Ashley (Ruth Donnelly) from Reno. He says the car won't make it, and they decide to stay the night. Seeing their jewelry, George wants to rob them. Olga tells George that she is different now. Olga lets a family of Mexicans sleep outside.

George tells Jeff of the ladies' jewels. Olga asks George to go. She admits she was in love with him, but she thinks he is rotten. George says that he doesn't want Olga back. Olga makes herself look nice. Mrs. Tifton takes a bath behind the shed and screams when Jeff walks by her. Mrs. Ashton-Ashley asks Olga to put their jewels in her safe. George notices and says he's leaving. George kisses Olga, and Myra sneaks off to Steve's car.

Later Steve brings Myra home, and she sees George come out of Olga's room. George tells Jeff to open the safe. Myra quarrels with Olga and says they're both to blame. Olga sees George threatening Jeff with a gun. She gets a gun and shoots George. George says, "Don't let anyone put one over on you," and dies. Olga tells Jeff to go. She tells the others, who heard the gunfire, that she shot at a big rat. Everett returns and sees the dead body. Olga asks him to tell the sheriff. A car drives up, and Olga fills it up with water, gas, and oil. They say it must be quiet around there, and Olga agrees.

Olga was burned by bad men like George and is afraid her sister will suffer the same. Two ladies gained wealth from their divorces. Thus this film presents a rather pessimistic view of relationships, as only the large Mexican family seems happy.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index