Cheated out of his estate by his sadistic uncle, young Benjamin Blake goes to the South Seas to make his fortune so he can return to claim his birthright.Cheated out of his estate by his sadistic uncle, young Benjamin Blake goes to the South Seas to make his fortune so he can return to claim his birthright.Cheated out of his estate by his sadistic uncle, young Benjamin Blake goes to the South Seas to make his fortune so he can return to claim his birthright.
Set in Georgian era England, this is an absorbing film. It's the story of Benjamin Blake (played as a child by Roddy McDowell and later by Tyrone Power) who after being orphaned at an early age, is cheated out of his title and inheritance by Sir Arthur Blake (George Sanders), his sadistic uncle who keeps him as a bonded servant.
Ben escapes and stows away to a remote island in the South Pacific at a time when travel was a lot more difficult than dropping into Harvey World Travel or hitting the Trivago App on your iPhone. Years later he returns to England to put things right.
Along the way he falls in love with two women. The first is Sir Arthur's daughter, Isabel Blake (Francis Farmer). Not much of it is made in the film, but this surely would have to be a non-starter as she was his first cousin. Nevertheless, Francis Farmer was never photographed to better advantage than in "Son of Fury", dazzling is a fair description. This was her last movie before her life fell apart.
The second is Eve, the native girl Ben meets on the island played by Gene Tierney. The camera loved her and those amazing cheekbones that allowed her to play a wide range of ethnicities from Ancient Egypt to Polynesia - nearly always as a princess. It's sad knowing that this was about the time she too was overwhelmed by personal problems.
Tyrone Power made every movie he was in seem important. Not just darkly handsome, you felt there was depth to his characters, and he could wear a Regency top hat and coattails as though he was born to the era.
For anyone who loves movies of the golden age, the fact that the film stars George Sanders is reason enough to see it. Along with his trademark disdain he projects a powerful physical presence. He was a big dude and in the boxing scenes he looks surprisingly fit, and as though he knew some moves. It would be best to smile when calling him a fop.
The whole production is polished with plenty of glass shots and moody sets; the slightly unreal quality gives it a touch of movie magic. The film features brilliant characterisations right down the cast list, and Alfred Newman contributed a vibrant score drenched in salt air and the aroma of the South Seas.
You don't have to be a film buff to enjoy "Son of Fury", but it adds to the enjoyment if you know something of the stars and the filmmakers. They have all gone now, but this film is a lasting testimony to their talents.
- Jan 25, 2016