Furies, The (1950)

Furies, The (1950)

“When you know what you want, why waste time?”

Synopsis:
A widowed rancher (Walter Huston) alienates his fiery daughter (Barbara Stanwyck) by marrying a socialite (Judith Anderson) — but Vance (Stanwyck) doesn’t intend to give up her right to “The Furies” ranch so easily, and enlists the help of her lifelong friend (Gilbert Roland) and a local gambler (Wendell Corey) to help her fight back.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anthony Mann Films
  • Barbara Stanwyck Films
  • Beulah Bondi Films
  • Father and Child
  • Judith Anderson Films
  • Revenge
  • Strong Females
  • Walter Huston Films
  • Wendell Corey Films
  • Westerns

Review:
Released the same year as The Devil’s Doorway (1950) and Winchester ’73 (1950), The Furies — based on a novel by Niven Busch — is further evidence of director Anthony Mann’s unique skill with westerns. This psychologically dense tale of familial love and rivalry has an Electra-esque spin:

with Stanwyck clearly coveting a role as her father’s lead partner — to the point of turning violent and vicious once that’s threatened.

In his final role before dying of a heart attack, Huston is a larger-than-life, enigmatic figure, someone whose raw exuberance for ranching is contagious:

… and Stanwyck gives a powerful performance as a woman with intense emotions whose passion for her home (inextricably tied to her her father) ultimately surpasses all other goals in her life.

Three middle-aged actresses — Judith Anderson…

Beulah Bondi (as the wife of an influential banker)…

and Blanche Yurka (as Roland’s mother):

are given memorable supporting roles as well. Meanwhile, the gothic cinematography by Victor Milner is appropriately moody:

providing many haunting shots and moments. This one is well worth a look.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Barbara Stanwyck as Vance
  • Walter Huston as T.C.
  • Fine supporting performances
  • Victor Milner’s cinematography


Must See?
Yes, as an enjoyable classic.

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One thought on “Furies, The (1950)

  1. A once-must, as a unique western & mainly for Mann’s direction and Stanwyck’s performance. As per my 12/4/19 post in ‘The ’40s-’50s in Film’ (fb):

    “You won’t see me again until the day I take your world away from you!”

    ‘The Furies’ (1950): In the same year that he made ‘Winchester ’73’ – his first of several dynamic collaborations with James Stewart, director Anthony Mann teamed with Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Huston (in his last film) for this psychologically unusual western. With the leads sparring affectionately as father and daughter, the film owes some of its storyline to Greek tragedy; it also contains more than a dash of the film noir pics that Mann made in the ’40s. Personally, I think it starts off on narrative ground that’s a bit shaky – but that could be because it seems a bit tentative about where it’s headed. However, it’s the kind of film that becomes more interesting as it progresses – particularly with a bit of a bombshell midway, and, from there on, it has a number of surprises lying in wait. Turns out that just about everyone here is a hustler of one sort or another; the plot moves along like a guessing game of who is going to be loyal (or disloyal) to whom. Mann’s direction is strong – even if it didn’t catapult this film into being among his most well-known. The supporting cast is an unlikely mix that works well: among them, Judith Anderson (as a golddigger!), Wendell Corey (as a mystery of a weasel), Gilbert Roland (as a sadly neglected love interest) and Beulah Bondi (very effective in a small, plot-twist role).

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