The 1870s, New Mexico territory: T.C. Jeffords is a cattle baron who built his ranch, the Furies, from scratch. He borrows from banks, pays hired hands with his own script ("T.C.'s"), and carries on low-level warfare with the Mexicans who settled the land but are now considered squatters. He has enemies, including Rip Darrow, a saloon owner who's father T.C. took land from. His headstrong daughter, Vance, has a life-long friend in one of the Mexicans, her heart set on Rip, and dad's promise she'll run the Furies someday. Her hopes are smashed by Rip's revenge, a gold-digger who turns T.C.'s head, and T.C.'s own murderous imperialism. Is Vance to be cursed by fury and hatred? Written by
Say "No" To Cheesy Traditional Westerns By Saying "Yes" To The Furies
One of the best Westerns ever made. Superior to other films of its time because it possesses more realism and authenticity and shuns the silly, false and simplistic moralizing which was almost a requirement for American films of this period. This is a film about real, complex people involved is realistic, complex events. Film-maker Anthony Mann hailed from Great Britain - perhaps this had something to do with the unusual realism. Positives are: 1 - The beautiful cinematography alone is enough reason to rent. The lighting is superb, there is sumptuous use of darkness, and the twilight and night scenes are ravishingly beautiful. 2 - Strong, resourceful female characters instead of the usual phony, helpless, wilting flowers. These women are people in their own right, not merely appendages of some male character. 3 - The characters are an honest mix of good and bad qualities - not artificial cardboard cut-outs simplistically meant to serve as types. 4 - Minorities are portrayed as real people. The Mexicans are portrayed with sensitivity and understanding, instead of the usual condescending caricatures. 5 - Walter Huston, Barbara Stanwyck & Wendell Corey do an excellent job of bringing their characters to life. The other actors are solidly top drawer. 6 - Excellent story-telling at its finest. With repeated viewing, you see more deeply into the complex and surprisingly subtle motivations of the characters. The only negative is that the sensuality of real life was artificially pre-filtered out of the film; but in full fairness to "The Furies," this is true of all American films of this period, due to the de facto censorship which held sway at the time. In sum, a complex, vivid depiction of love, hate, greed, loyalty, betrayal, devotion, affirmation of life and the inexorability of death, as they course through the lives of real, breathing people. Anthony Mann was far ahead of his time in crafting this truthful gem. What a special achievement!
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