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The Furies Criterion Blu-ray Review

Criterion releases another western!

Based on the novel by Niven Busch and adapted for the screen by Hal Wallis, “The Furies” revolves around the Jeffords family in 1870’s New Mexico. The story primarily focuses on cattle and land baron T.C. and his headstrong daughter Vance who wants to run the family business when her father steps down. The family business is struggling, however, as T.C. has a massive amount of IOUs to people all over. There are also conflicts involving the Herrera family living on the Jeffords land, other businessmen (namely Rip Darrow who Vance also has romantic feelings for), and T.C. finding a new wife which would complicate the family business. 

Criterion has had a severe lack of westerns over the years so I’m happy to see a new one released in the form of 1950’s “The Furies.” This Anthony Mann directed western is decidedly different from the norm especially when compared to Mann’s James Stewart starrers. This is a more heady, edgy, and literary piece about family, romance, consequences, and power. A large majority of the characters here are truly messed up people. Vance is vindictive, possessive, and angry while T.C. is spiteful, power hungry and arrogant. They even go against one another! They both learn the hard way that their actions have consequences, but I’m not going to spoil what all happens. Suffice it to say, I appreciated the almost Shakespearean western in which there really are no heroes. 

“The Furies” features a number of memorable performances here. Barbara Stanwyck is in peak form as Vance while Walter Huston seems to relish his scene chewing character T.C. Wendell Corey is reliable as per usual as Rip Darrow while Gilbert Roland gives a very nuanced and ultimately tragic performance as the honorable Juan.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? The hi-def B&W print is super crisp.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? Snowy but adequate.
Extras:
* Niven Busch’s entire novel “The Furies” (in small book form).
* A booklet featuring credits, an essay by film critic Robin Wood, and an interview with Anthony Mann from “Cahiers du Cinema” magazine
* “The Furies” trailer
* An archival 2008 commentary from film historian Jim Kitses
* A 2008 interview with Nina Mann (actor and daughter of Anthony Mann) who talks about her father and “The Furies.”
* A short 1931 video interview between Dorothy West and Walter Huston.
* “Radical Classicism”- A thoughtful new interview with film critic Imogen Sara Smith about the themes and ideas in “The Furies.”
* Segments from the British series “The Movies” featuring an interview with Anthony Mann.

April 8, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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