A Bolt of Lightning (film #2 on Side A of Disc 1 of Historic Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Charlton Heston stars in this “Studio One” Revolutionary War drama. It tells the story of Boston attorney James Otis, who tried to have writs of assistance, which were documents that allowed hired goons to break into people’s houses and perform destructive searches on a whim, declared illegal in the colonies. The bid is unsuccessful because the judge is in the governor’s pocket. Not only that, but the governor sends his hired goons to beat up Otis, who ends up with a serious head injury. This was supposed to have made him crazy, but it really only seems to slow down Heston’s overbearing performance a little bit. Anyway, the people get fed up and go to war, Otis helps them out a bit, they win, and Otis dies of the title bolt of lightning. This is not too bad for live drama done on primitive sets, but I’m guessing the better “Studio One” episodes are yet to come. More fun are the Betty Furness commercials about Westinghouse appliances––the turkey roaster she demonstrates is the exact same kind of roaster I remember my mother using to cook the thanksgiving turkeys of my childhood.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

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