The Furies (1950)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Western  |   Release Date - Aug 16, 1950 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Fans of so-called "Freudian" westerns will find a lot to enjoy in The Furies, although those who like their westerns more traditional will likely be a mite put off by it. Not that there isn't plenty of action in Furies; it's just that the psychological overtones of the piece take precedence over the shooting and the fighting. Modern audiences will probably find those psychological overtones a tad familiar, and it's true that it does come across as somewhat heavyhanded. Still, it's hard not to get caught up in the relentless nature of the film, which becomes more and more engrossing, even as one occasionally doubts that the obsessions of the characters would really be as deeply ingrained as they are made to be in Charles Schnee's screenplay. Fortunately, director Anthony Mann has no such doubts, nor does his excellent cast. All attack the material with a firm belief in it, and their commitment is more than enough to make up for the lapses in the writing. Barbara Stanwyck throws herself wholeheartedly into the part, and no one could bring as many shades and as much nuance to a single-minded character as this remarkable actress -- unless perhaps it is Walter Huston, who matches her inch for inch in Furies. Wendell Corey can't quite compete with these two, although weighed strictly on his own merits rather than in comparison he comes across as more than adequate. Even better is Judith Anderson, who combines a subtle approach with some appropriate histrionics to very good effect, and in smaller roles, Beulah Bondi and Blanche Yurka. Director Mann goes in for heavy atmosphere, aided by Victor Milner's evocative camerawork, and he knows exactly how to make the most of the theatrical sparks that his cast ignites.