The Furies on Blu-ray

It’s just come to my attention that Criterion in the US are upgrading Anthony Mann’s The Furies (1950) to Blu-ray, it’s due out in April.

This is an impressive if imperfect work, the western, film noir and melodrama converging in Anthony Mann’s movie, adapted from the Niven Busch novel. I wrote about the film here almost nine years ago (now that’s a sobering thought!) and it’s good to hear it’s getting reissued in high definition. Unfortunately, I’m locked in to Region B for Blu-ray but I’d like to think it might come on the market in Europe, maybe via Eureka if not Criterion’s UK division.

76 thoughts on “The Furies on Blu-ray

  1. That’s good news about the Blu, Colin, although I also have region problems with discs from the USA. I bought the Criterion DVD edition a few years back and it included a copy of the Niven Busch novel on which the film was based. To me, THE FURIES is one of the very finest Westerns, brilliantly directed, shot and acted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s by no means a given, even though it really ought to be. Criterion have put out a number of decidedly iffy “upgrades” in recent years, as have some other outfits too, where original DVDs have actually looked more pleasing due to color regrades and the like. With Criterion, some B&W titles have had strange looking contrast and less than satisfactory encodes, for example. It’s generally advisable to wait until a few reviews appear.

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  2. A film with a great cast, with Mann directing, and I have never seen the film. No need to call for a firing squad!!!!! It is only a few down the pile of the need to watch dvds so that shortcoming will soon be fixed.

    Gord

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    • If you have access to a copy, then do check it out, Gord. I have a feeling it’s not been as widely seen as a lot of Mann’s other westerns, possibly due to its not being the easiest to find for a long time.

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  3. And to make matters worse….. The first time I watched “THE FURIES” I didn’t care for it all that much and so didn’t seek it out for years. In the last couple of years though I got it and gave it a rewatch, with the result that I found far more to like this time around. The ‘noir’ atmosphere driven by the lensing of Victor Milner and (apparently) Lee Garmes played a big part.
    Overall I was pleased to be able to rediscover a work by a favourite director.

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    • Always nice when that happens with a movie, isn’t it? I’ve had that experience with a number of films noir in particular, where plotting can feel a bit too dense the first time, or perhaps the mood too oppressive.

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  4. I’ve never seen THE FURIES although I do collect key Anthony Mann films in high def including classic Noirs like RAW DEAL and T-MEN which were given stunning restorations by Classicflix. The truly excellent HE WALKED BY NIGHT where Mann directed the sensational storm drain sections also looks
    wonderful in high def.
    There’s certainly no shortage of scenery chewers in THE FURIES and had Wendell Corey been replaced by say, Robert Mitchum I would have tracked it down with more anticipation. I’m a huge fan of Joseph H Lewis but simply cannot get along with THE HALLIDAY BRAND a mis-cast movie if ever there was one. I am none to fond of Joseph Cotten in Westerns with the exception of the striking UNTAMED FRONTIER.
    Oddly enough THE FURIES is showing on UK TV next week. Going by previous comments I will wait for the DVD Beaver and Cinesavant reviews of THE FURIES before splashing the cash. The extras on THE FURIES disc sound most interesting.
    From a personal point of view I would have much rather DEVIL’S DOORWAY been given the high def treatment. Two key Mann Westerns WINCHESTER’73 and THE NAKED SPUR have long been rumored as getting a high def makeover. I certainly hope so.

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  5. Paging Mr Barry Lane……..
    Regarding your comments on the previous thread concerning my Allied Artists UK double bills IT’S MAGIC was in fact a re-issue of ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS with the cinema chain cashing in on Doris Day’s huge UK following at that time. I’m glad you enjoyed my list and I’m impressed that you knew all of the other films that supported Allied Artists Westerns.

    More good news from Network UK-in March they are releasing Val Guest’s THE WEAPON and according to Network’s website in it’s correct ratio 2.35.
    THE WEAPON will be available on DVD and Blu Ray. The Olive Films version of THE WEAPON was in the 1.,85 ratio whereas Superscope films were normally 2.0 0r 2.35. The real joy of THE WEAPON apart from a stellar cast is the wonderful photography of the city of London and a now vanished
    Docklands. For fans of 50’s Brit Flicks with gritty London location work you would be hard pressed to find a better film than THE WEAPON.,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw that news about The Weapon but failed to notice the part about the aspect ratio – I’m going to have to get this.
      In the same batch of announcements is one for Ten Little Indians. I really like that 60s version of the Christie tale and if it’s not quite up to the earlier Rene Clair movie, it’s not all that far away either.

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      • The WEapon is okay, but Ten Little Indians is flat and witless, although far superior to his later remakes. Check it out, see if I am not on to an eternal truth.

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        • To be honest, the only thing I actively disliked about it was Fabian’s performance – but I guess he is supposed to be annoying in the part anyway, and he’s not around all that long.
          That aside, there’s snow, Dennis Price, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Shirley Eaton and Daliah Lavi.

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  6. Gary at DVD Beaver has just reviewed Indicator’s Volume 2
    Columbia Noir Collection-he even goes as far as saying that it
    is even better than Volume 1.
    For the great transfers and wonderful extras these sets are
    well worth the money-I’m still ploughing through Volume 1
    I’ve watched all the films and am catching up on some of the
    extensive extras.
    Like the first volume I don’t have any of these films in my collection
    and 3 of them I’ve never seen before.
    I’m very interested in FRAMED with Glenn Ford and Barry Sullivan.
    Gary gives these sets his highest recommendation and I certainly
    will not argue with that…an absolute must for Noir addicts.
    It would be wonderful to have a set of Columbia Westerns given
    this sort of care and attention.
    FRAMED has a commentary by Imogen Sara Smith a great writer
    our friend Walter turned me on to. I enjoyed her commentary on
    THE SLEEPING CITY a film that crops up at RTHC now and again.
    One of the other films has a commentary by “The Nitrate Diva”
    that’s such an inspired name.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m interested to see Glenn Ford play the “fall guy” for
    a change. Interesting that Australia’s Imprint are also doing
    Noir sets and they have managed to combine Paramount and
    Columbia titles on their sets and interestingly they have also
    released FRAMED (Cinesavant reviewed recently)
    I also note Imprint will at a later date release Robert Florey’s
    FACE BEHIND THE MASK one of the greatest B Movies ever made.
    I don’t know if FACE BEHIND THE MASK is a stand alone release
    or part of a forthcoming Noir set.
    These Imprint titles are hard to track down but are slowly becomming
    easier to get (ebay/Amazon) the free postage option makes all the
    difference.
    To have a film like FACE BEHIND THE MASK in high definition for me
    is beyond wonderful and yes I do know there is a decent online version
    available if that’s your thing.
    Right now Noir addicts have never had it so good!

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    • That second Indicator set does look very nice, arguably a more interesting set of titles than the first volume had too. I’m quite fond of Murder By Contract and especially its distinctive score.

      It is a good time for noir releases in general, but I wish Alias Nick Beal and Calcutta were available somewhere in Europe, and of course Saigon is long overdue.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have the Imprint set which includes FRAMED. It is a fine film and looks and sounds very clean. Ford and Sullivan are strong in their roles and I was very taken with Janis Carter as the femme fatale. I think it’s the best movie in the set, but the other three are definitely worth watching: DETECTIVE STORY, THE GARMENT JUNGLE and ALIAS NICK BEAL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree about Framed, and while the o the three are all of interest, they share levels of pretension that Framed avoids. And Janis Carter is just outstanding.

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  9. FILMS OR THE WEEKEND…
    After taking a few weeks off I’ll dive right back in the pool.
    1- 3-Godfathers 1938 Chester Morris
    2- Z-CARS Episode 1 of the long running UK Police drama. 1962
    3- 1917 The big war film from last year 1920
    4- TREASURE ISLAND 1934 Wallace Beery
    5- CONTACT 1997 Jodie Foster
    6- THE PROFESSIONALS 1966 Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster

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    • I think 1917 was one of only two movies I managed to see in the cinema in 2020. I thought it was quite good although the central conceit of creating the impression of the entire movie consisting of one long, uninterrupted take, while effective at ratcheting up the tension, made it a bit of a tiring experience in the end. Parts of it are beautifully shot of course, one nighttime sequence in particular.

      I think The professionals, though entertaining, might have been better given the cast involved. It’s packed with memorable dialogue.

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      • Gord, of special mention from your list in my most humble opinion is the 1936 filming of “THREE GODFATHERS” with Chester Morris, Lewis Stone and Walter Brennan. It is my favourite version, notwithstanding the beauty of Ford’s classic.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jerry – that 1936 version must be very good, if you rate it above the Ford film. The latter has grown on me strongly over the years and my last viewing, a couple of years ago, was pure delight. I’ll put the earlier version on my “seek and find” list which grows almost every day because of the reviews and comments on RTHC.

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  10. Speaking of availability of Imprint titles, they are available from a chain in Australia called JB HiFi, whose site says they ship internationally. JB often has sales taking 20 and sometimes 30 % off all DVDs and Blus. Am not sure how expensive the international shipping would be.

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      • Hi, Gord – have been having fun with it, dipping in to the site whenever I have a spare half hour or so. Have watched quite a few of THE FOUR JUST MEN episodes, GIDEON’s WAY is excellent (with some good location shooting), DIXON OF DOCK GREEN is good entertainment and a couple of the EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERIES, though studio bound, have been quite good. It’s a terrific site and there’s lots more there I want to explore. Hope you’re going well in the cold weather there – we’re expecting 38 C here today after a balmy 37 yesterday.

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        • 38C LOL – it is minus 15C here with the wind chill taking that to minus 20C. There is a light dusting of snow and ice on the ground.
          There sure is some nice stuff to take in at that site. I love seeing all those UK series that I had never seen or heard of before.
          Gord

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    • It’s been a while now since I imported any stuff from Australia. The time was the exchange rates and shipping made it it a more attractive option. I don’t know how the exchange rates stack up these days but I think shipping has become considerably more expensive.

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  11. Watched THE FURIES on TV this afternoon and despite
    interruptions (not the ideal way to see a movie for the first time)
    the movie for me was a total clunker.I’m glad I’ve avoided it all these
    years.
    THE FURIES features a group of people I could not give a hoot about
    plus a charmless male lead and tons of horrible day for night footage.
    THE FURIES is Mann’s worst Western by far it makes lesser Mann entries
    like THE LAST FRONTIER look like a masterwork in fact THE FURIES
    makes CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA look wonderful.
    Even THE HALLIDAY BRAND is better.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Actually Barry I rather like THE LAST FRONTIER
    it’s just that Mature’s backwoodsman/trapper’s romance with
    Anne Bancroft stretched credibility somewhat-visually the
    film is a treat.
    Too bad Robert Mitchum decided to go fishing after seeing the
    script for CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA again the scenery
    saves the day.
    Colin,as you well know I would but Blu Ray’s of WINCHESTER’73
    THE NAKED SPUR and DEVIL’S DOORWAY in a heartbeat,
    even Mann could not make the clunky script for THE FURIES work.

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      • I admire “The Furies” and I am not alone (Richard Brody, Jeffrey Anderson, Dennis Schwartz, and the French guys at DVDClassik) in thinking it’s a fine film. That doesn’t mean everyone should like it, but it should be noted that it is far from being universally disdained.

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  13. With dark melodrams the viewer must have some empathy
    with the people involved Stanwyck and Huston’s characters so
    cold and Corey so charmless.
    BLOOD ON THE MOON is everything THE FURIES is not.
    Even with the low budget REBEL IN TOWN the anti hero is flawed
    and unlikable but the film is involving and the issues the film raises
    compelling.

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    • It’s question of the likeability (or indeed the lack of it) and how one responds to that, isn’t it? Personally, it doesn’t bother me too much if it’s the flaws of the characters that draw more attention as long as I’m able to believe in them, and of course ideally they should have some other dimension at least touched upon. I find if the writing and performances in a movie are able to engage my attention and the characters therefore behave plausibly within their own universe, then I tend to be OK with that. I suppose I mean that if I sympathize, or empathize, with the passions expressed, then that can add another emotional layer. But I can get by without it too – the distancing may be greater and the empathy lessened but the impact of artistry isn’t necessarily negated.

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      • Colin, you have given an excellent reason for viewing and finding enjoyment in facets of a flawed work of artistic merit. I applaud your superb answer here. It is my thinking right down the line and I wish that I could have explained this in the way you have. I hope I can have permission to use the above statement, as long as I give you credit.

        I’ll just have to agree to disagree with John K, Barry, and others on THE FURIES(filmed 1949, released 1950). I tend to fall in the camp with Frank Gibbons and Jerry Entract. I first viewed the movie, in not the best of conditions, in the early 1970’s. It aired on Memphis, Tennessee WHBQ Channel 13’s morning DIALING FOR DOLLARS MOVIE. Presently, I have the 2008 Criterion Collection DVD. If a movie holds my interest to the end, then it is worthwhile too me personally and THE FURIES is an interesting movie, in my humble opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Off topic
    PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE This one is popping up here this upcoming Monday. While like everyone, I have seen bits and pieces of the film, I never actually watched it from start to finish. Am recording it and hope to take it in by next weekend. Any opinions on the film?
    Gord

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    • Gordon,

      The saying “it’s so bad, it’s good” unfortunately doesn’t apply to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. You may want to watch it as it does have some “historical” value as many do consider it the worst movie ever made. But I agree with Colin — I reserve my judgment for the worst film to those films that had artistic pretensions but actually turned out to be execrable. I won’t even mention my personal “worst” film in the event I might offend someone among the RTHC readership. It’s immensely popular with a huge cult following.

      You might want to watch “Ed Wood” which, in part, dramatizes the making of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Martin Landau won an Oscar playing Bela Lugosi and Vincent D’Onofrio has a cameo as Orson Welles.

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  15. Colin
    LOL So what you are saying there is always some film that is worse? Seen some stinkers in my time, but I must admit I would have a hard time picking the worst one. Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1967) Does come to mind though as a contender for the title.

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    • There has been some appalling dreck produced over the years and I’m unsure which deserve the worst label. Wood’s effort is an incompetent affair but I sometimes feel that it’s a greater sin to make something competently but to display no interest, heart or regard for the work being produced.

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  16. Since this thread is about an Anthony Mann movie, I thought I’d respond to something you wrote in March of 2020 on Margot Shelby’s blog —

    “I’ll happily defend The Fall of the Roman Empire all day for its (for me anyway) compelling combination of genuine spectacle, passionate dissection of the corrosive effects of ambition and its overall grandness as a piece of cinema.”

    I just want to say that I’m in complete agreement with your assessment of this unfairly maligned film (although it has grown in stature over the last 15 years or so). I think it is a superior epic and I propose that it simply went over the heads of critics and film audiences. I think it took a long time for the critics to catch up with lovers of the cinema in understanding what Mann was doing in his films. I don’t think anyone pushes the envelope as much as Mann does in staging action scenes that convey danger, ferocity, or, for that matter, physical pain. This runs through his noir-films, Westerns, and epics. In “The Fall of the Roman Empire” I’m thinking of the spectacular chariot sequence where Stephen Boyd and Christopher Plummer (RIP) thrash it out with one another. I mean, it took real daring for Mann to shoot this sequence and he did it with aplomb and artistry. He had his cameras in perfect position to capture the most dangerous shots yet nothing seems staged. And the film was, as you say, a “passionate dissection of the corrosive effects of ambition”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pleased you brought this up here, Frank, not least on the occasion of the passing of Christopher Plummer.
      I do like that observation on Mann’s pushing at the boundaries and head-on confrontation of the harshest physical challenges, his testing of the mettle of his characters and by extension that of the viewers, and always employing vehicles where an intelligent subtext accompanied the action.

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