You have until Thursday to see one of the best movies to come out of Europe. It is "Thunder Rock," a ten-year-old importation from England; what makes it so good is its facility in handling fantasy.
"Thunder Rock" centers on a disillusioned newspaperman who has shut himself up as a lighthouse keeper, believing he can no longer be useful to a world headed for war. He has peopled the terrible isolation of his job with the long-dead victims of a shipwreck on the rock; the has taken their names from an old log-book, and given them substance in his mid. He talks and moves and lives with these people; through a series of flashbacks he mentally reconstructs the events which brought them onto the pitching Lake packet. These flashbacks, with their imagined characters interacting with a real one, make for an awkward and difficult movie, but "Thunder Rock" overcomes this difficulty.
Original and perceptive camera work helps to knit together "Thunder Rock's" disorganized incidents; so does some unobtrusive and sensitive music. And the flashbacks themselves are wonderfully paced and staged and acted, showing the careful attention to detail that has turned up in so many subsequent English films. Michael Redgrave, Lilli Palmer, James Mason, and the whole group of minor characters are mutually responsible for the fine quality of the acting. "Thunder Rock" has an unhappy pre-disposition to preach, but it is so well-finished that it gets away with it.
"Phantom of the Opera" is at the Beacon Hill too, and it is hopelessly outclassed. It is an occasionally (if unintentionally) funny movie, and there is a nifty scene in which Claude Rains drops a chandelier on the enthusiastic audience at the Paris Opera. This stops the show.