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Black Fury (1935)

An immigrant coal miner finds himself in the middle of a bitter labor dispute between the workers and the mine owners.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Abem Finkel (screen play), Carl Erickson (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Muni ... Joe Radek
Karen Morley ... Anna Novak
William Gargan ... Slim
Barton MacLane ... McGee
John Qualen ... Mike (as John T. Qualen)
J. Carrol Naish ... Steve (as J. Carroll Naish)
Vince Barnett ... Kubanda
Tully Marshall ... Poole
Henry O'Neill ... Hendricks
Joseph Crehan ... Farrell (as Joe Crehan)
Mae Marsh ... Mrs. Mary Novak
Sara Haden ... Sophie Shemanski (as Sarah Haden)
Willard Robertson ... Mr. J.J. Welsh
Effie Ellsler Effie Ellsler ... Bubitschka
Wade Boteler ... Mulligan
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Storyline

An immigrant coal miner finds himself in the middle of a bitter labor dispute between the workers and the mine owners.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Czarna furia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael A. Musmanno's story, "Jan Volkanik", may have been unpublished when this film was released, but it was published as a novel in 1966 with the title "Black Fury". Harry R. Irving's play, "Bohunk" was unproduced and possibly unpublished. See more »

Goofs

At c. 24 minutes Joe is counting out his money, but he is inconceivably inaccurate. After counting to 68 dollars he places two further bills on the table and counts "73" out loud. A few moments later he counts up to 75 dollars, but, after four more bills have been placed in front of him he announces "76" dollars as his total. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Porky's Party (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Do I Dream Those Dreams?
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on piano in bar during scene where men challenge Radek
See more »

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User Reviews

How Green Was My Screenplay
10 February 2003 | by marcslopeSee all my reviews

Paul Muni, David Thomson once wrote, was the '30s' idea of a great actor: He never looked the same twice. Here he's a hail-fellow-well-met Eastern European immigrant coal miner in a dreary Pennsylvania burg, deceived by union busters and weighed down by a ten-ton accent. Indeed the screenplay seldom rises above a fifth-grade literacy level, the better to illustrate the goodheartedness of these poor but honest laborers. But five minutes of Muni, and you've seen the whole performance -- a Zorba-the-miner "life force" who yells all his lines and sounds unfortunately like Steve Martin's wild-and-crazy-guy character from Saturday Night Live in the '70s.

Warners does come up with a convincingly grimy set and a capable stock-company supporting cast, but the dramaturgy is connect-the-dots. One miner shouts and sways the whole crowd, then another, then another -- what a gullible bunch this must be. The evil cops and management figures are so absurdly evil that nuance is lost. The third act does whip up to an exciting blow-up-the-mine climax, but then it's resolved in headline montages, as if Warners suddenly ran out of money, or film. And Michael Curtiz -- I didn't think this fine director was capable of this -- stages the crowd scenes clumsily, shifting point of view confusingly and slapping the mise-en-scene together hard, with loud music. Certainly the studio is on the side of the angels, arguing for a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and as a '30s sociological curio the movie is not without interest. But Muni's monotonous bluster and an elementary script combine to create a cinematic cave-in.


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