Blu-ray Review: The Fury (1978)

The Fury BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Amy Irving, Rutanya Alda, William Finley, Charles Durning, Andrew Stevens, Daryl Hannah, Dennis Franz

When government agent Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas – Spartacus/Tough Guys) is double-crossed by his friend and colleague Ben Childress (John Cassavetes – Rosemary’s Baby) his son Robin (Andrew Stevens – Day of the Animals) is kidnapped in an effort to harness his psychic abilities for use in weapons research. Now desperately searching for his son, Peter is aided by Gillian (Amy Irving – Carrie), a young woman who also has telepathic and psychic abilities and is able to connect telepathically with Robin, although the sinister Childress will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Sticking with the themes of telekinesis and other psychic skills that characterised his previous film Carrie, The Fury remains one of Brian De Palma’s most underrated films and not one that comes up for discussion very often. Quite why that is is anyone’s guess as The Fury has a lot of strong plus points and is, in many ways, a better film than many of De Palma’s more famous works.

The strongest part of the film is the performance of Kirk Douglas, who was in his early 60s at the time but was in incredible physical shape for the demanding role of Peter. An easy comparison would be to Liam Neeson’s role in Taken, but Douglas is given more to do as he moves from situation to situation using a vast array of different emotions and reminding us why he is considered to be such a legend in the movies.

The rest of the cast are all pretty decent too, with Amy Irving and Carrie Snodgrass as Peter’s girlfriend Hester both doing enough to earn our sympathies and John Cassavetes proving to be a formidable villain. The only weak link is Andrew Stevens as Robin, who does little more than whine and shout like a petulant child, and it’s his big scenes that don’t quite have the weight to them that the film really deserves. There are also a few other future notable names who pop up, including Dennis Franz (Die Hard 2/Psycho 2), Daryl Hannah (Splash) and an uncredited James Belushi (Red Heat) as a beach bum.

Once again Arrow Video have packed the disc full of extras, including interviews with actress Fiona Lewis, cinematographer Richard H. Kline and De Palma associate Sam Irvin (who also has an uncredited cameo in the film), archive interviews with Brian De Palma, Amy Irving and Carrie Snodgrass, a short film tribute to Brian De Palma from Sam Irvin, a reversible sleeve featuring the original and new artwork plus a collector’s booklet featuring new writings on the film and its director. The visual quality of the film is excellent, with the reds, greens and blues looking as bright and sharp as many modern day films, and John Williams’ relatively restrained score sounding good despite not being as overblown as some of his more obvious soundtracks.

Overall, The Fury is a pretty gripping thriller that takes in more genres than just straight-up horror, touching on action, drama and even a bit of comedy to make a film that bears all the hallmarks of its director but is not defined by them. The gore scenes look a little creaky by today’s standards but not to the detriment of the film, and despite the two-hour running time it doesn’t feel like a slog to get through, although some of the dialogue is a little groansome in places. Probably closer in feel to Scanners rather than Carrie (and not just because of the climactic scene), The Fury is certainly worth a look if you’ve never seen it before and, despite its flaws, holds up quite well if you already have.

The Fury

Special Features: Blood on the Lens interview with cinematographer Richard H. Kline, Spinning Tales – Fiona Lewis on starring in The Fury, The Fury – A Location Journal interview with Sam Irvin, original archive interviews from the 1978 promotional tour, Double Negative – a short film tribute to Brian De Palma by Sam Irvin, original theatrical trailer, gallery of behind-the-scenes production images, reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw, collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Dumas as well as a re-print of a contemporary interview with Brian De Palma and a brand new interview with screenwriter John Farris on the writing of the film, illustrated with original stills and posters.

UK Release Date: 28 October 2013

Arrow Films – Website

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One thought on “Blu-ray Review: The Fury (1978)

  1. Pingback: Blu-ray Review: Phantom of the Paradise (1974) | Ancient Slumber

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