When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to frame the mob for his murder.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
District Attorney
...
Kirby Dawson
Edward Ellis ...
Sheriff
...
'Bugs' Meyers
...
Charlie
George Walcott ...
Tom
Arthur Stone ...
Durkin
Morgan Wallace ...
Fred Garrett
George Chandler ...
Milton Jackson
Roger Gray ...
Stranger
...
Vickery
Howard C. Hickman ...
Governor (as Howard Hickman)
Jonathan Hale ...
Defense Attorney
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Storyline

Based on the story "Mob Rule" by Norman Krasna. Joe Wilson and Katherine Grant are in love, but he doesn't have enough money for them to get married. So Katherine moves across the country to make money. But things go disastrously wrong for Joe when he stops in a small town and is mistaken for a wanted murderer. Through the course of the movie, Fritz Lang shows us how a decent and once civilized man can become a ruthless and bitter man. Written by Andre'a M. Thompson <athompso@ziggy.st.hmc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

TWO LOVERS...VICTIMS OF MOB VIOLENCE! (original 1936 window card poster)


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 May 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mob Rule  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Fritz Lang's first film in Hollywood and he wasn't accustomed to labor laws that require meal breaks. Shortly after filming began Lang took a quick lunch between set-ups and resumed filming. Some of the crew members wondering about their lunch break asked Spencer Tracy, who in turn pointed out to Lang that it was "1:30 pm and the crew had yet to take their break". Lang replied that it was his set and "that I will call lunch when I think it should be called". Tracy, knowing that it would take at least 90 minutes to set his make-up, subsequently took his hand across his face and smeared the make-up hopelessly, yelled "Lunch!" and promptly walked off the set with the crew. See more »

Goofs

During a montage that shows the passing of several days, Sylvia Sidney is wearing the same dress the entire time. See more »

Quotes

Katherine Grant: [to Joe] If those people die, Joe Wilson dies too; you know that, don't you? Wherever you go, whatever you do.
See more »


Soundtracks

Popeye the Sheriff Man
(uncredited)
One line sung by one of the mob to the tune of "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" (1933)
Words and Music by Samuel Lerner
See more »

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User Reviews

Fritz Lang's first American classic
27 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If Fritz Lang had died or been killed by the Nazis (whom he detested and opposed)in 1933 or 1934, it is stunning to realize that his position as a great film director would have been assured. He would have already had METROPOLIS, SPIES, DR. MABUSE, and M down to establish his credentials as a master of cinematic art. But he left Germany to escape the real villains who were coming to power. And he ended up, after briefly staying in France, coming to the U.S. Most of his later films would be made in the U.S. FURY is his first American masterpiece - a study of mob violence, and the destructive forces it unleases in even the most decent people. Here, it is Spencer Tracy, the erstwhile victim of a lynch mob, who becomes demonic in retaliation for his own mistreatment at their hands. It would be a theme Lang would return to again and again in later films - Edward G. Robinson turning on Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea in SCARLET STREET is a good example.

Like many great crime films it is based on an actual incident that occurred in San Jose, California in 1933. Brooke Harte, the son of a wealthy department store owner, was kidnapped by two rather stupid men, Harold Thurmond and Jack Holmes, for a ransom, and drowned when they collected the money. Brooke had been a very popular young man, and when the men were caught a mob attacked the jail, and killed them (hanging at least Thurmond when he was still alive - Holmes was beaten to death in the jail). The incident gained notoriety around the globe (the Nazis had the nerve to use it to suggest Americans were violent degenerates - and frequently republished photos of the dead men as propaganda in World War II). It was hard to hide the story - the mobs were filmed attacking the jail, and (as mentioned above) the swinging bodies of the two kidnappers were photographed. Most people in America were appalled by the incident, but it had defenders. Governor James Rolph (former Mayor of San Francisco) defended the lynch mob beyond any reasonable point (Rolph was running for re-election, and in ill health - he would die before the reelection was held).

A fine account of the crime, SWIFT JUSTICE by Harry Farrell, only touches lightly on the Lang movie. The similarities with the newsreel trucks and even a Rolph-clone (Clarence Kolb, in a small but sinister role as a powerful man trying to convince the Sheriff - Edward Ellis - to leave the jail underprotected from the mob)are there. But Lang allows Tracy to survive, unlike Thurmond and Holmes. Also, in reality the newsreel footage was not clear enough (like that in the film) to be used against the defendants in their trial. In fact, nobody was ever indicted for the lynch murders of Thurmond and Holmes.


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