Son of Fury (1942)

Son of Fury (1942)

“He’s my uncle — and my enemy.”

A young orphan (Roddy McDowall) cared for by his gunsmith grandfather (Harry Davenport) is seized by his unscrupulous uncle (George Sanders) and forced to work as his servant, in hopes that Sanders can maintain control over Benjamin (McDowall) and prevent him from learning the truth about his noble heritage. When Benjamin grows up (Franchot Tone), he falls in love with Sanders’ beautiful daughter (Frances Farmer) but decides to escape on a South Seas-bound ship in hopes of making his own fortune. Along with another stowaway (John Carradine), Tone lands on an island where they quickly uncover a wealth of pearls, and Tone falls in love with a native woman (Gene Tierney). Despite his newfound happiness, however, Tone is determined to stake a claim to his rightful inheritance, and — upon his return to England — enlists the help of a lawyer (Dudley Digges) in doing so.


  • Elsa Lanchester Films
  • Frances Farmer Films
  • Gene Tierney Films
  • George Sanders Films
  • Historical Drama
  • Inheritance
  • John Carradine Films
  • John Cromwell Films
  • Revenge
  • Roddy McDowall Films
  • Royalty and Nobility
  • South Sea Islands
  • Tyrone Power Films

John Cromwell directed this adaptation of Edison Marshall’s bestselling 1941 novel, featuring hunky Tyrone Power at the height of his fame and beautiful Frances Farmer just before her wrongful descent into institutionalization.

Sanders plays a typically sadistic baddie with nothing but ill intent up his sleeve, though Power is resilient and more than up to the task of facing him. This well-shot adventure-revenge tale covers quite a bit of territory (literally) in its 98 minutes of running time, and features numerous notable supporting performances — particularly by Elsa Lanchester as a helpful prostitute tickled pink to be interacting with nobility. While not must-see for all film fanatics, it’s well worth a look by those who enjoy this kind of historical adventure drama.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric cinematography by Arthur C. Miller
  • Elsa Lanchester as Bristol Isabel

Must See?
No, though it’s recommended for one-time viewing. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Son of Fury (1942)

  1. First viewing (4/16/20). Not must-see. As per my post in ‘The ’40s-’50s in Film’ (fb):

    “M’lord? May I beg the indulgence of the court?”

    ‘Son of Fury’ (1942): Subtitled ‘The Story of Benjamin Blake’, one might think the story is true – but this is historical fiction, based on a bestselling novel of the time and set during the reign of King George III. It tells a tale of “the sham of blood”; how a young man of unproven noble birth (Tyrone Power) sets out to undo a fiendish, smooth-tongued uncle (George Sanders – who *else* would you cast?!) who has made it his life’s work to rob his nephew of his birthright. On the surface of it, this isn’t normally the type of drama that would pique my interest; I don’t normally perk up to squabbles over hereditary titles. But I noted that it has a good director: John Cromwell (‘Anna and the King of Siam’, ‘Of Human Bondage’, ‘Caged’, etc.) and I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the cast. Along with Power and Sanders (who are both fun to watch), there’s Gene Tierney (as a native woman Power meets while building a fortune), Roddy McDowall (who plays Power as a boy), John Carradine (as Power’s mate during his travels), Elsa Lanchester (winning as a barmaid at ye olde ‘grog shop’) and – significantly – Harry Davenport (terrific as Power’s grandfather) and Dudley Digges as a crafty man of influence. The biggest surprise in the cast, however, is Frances Farmer as Sanders’ daughter. This would be FF’s last real film before her personal life spiralled out of control (depicted so memorably by Jessica Lange in ‘Frances’). Farmer’s exit was a genuine loss to cinema. She definitely had that ‘certain something’ – and it’s certainly on exhibit here. …The film’s script is not half-bad. even if some of the tropical island scenes are a bit precious: i.e., Power has to teach Tierney how to speak English… eek.

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