This week we devote the Tuesday Movie to Fury – even though I expected to do “I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang.” You know, there’s really no good verb for that assertion: if you are a fugitive, you’re screwed, and if you were a fugitive, well, the situation sounds rather unresolved. To say nothing of the “I Will Be A Fugitive From a Chain Gang.” It was a gritty movie, utterly depressing, but nothing really leaped out as frame-grab worthy. There was a scene early on in which soldiers on a troop ship are talking about what they’ll do after they’re demobbed, and one of them says he’s going to try to get his old job back. And if I can’t, he says, “I’ll be SOL.” Never heard that in a 30s movie. Why, they swore back then! Imagine.
Fury concerns an innocent man accused of a crime in a small town. The goodfolk of the town form a lynch mob and burn the jail down; he survives, but hides out and lets the state try the mob for murder.
What kind of fury, may I ask?
Oh, that’s the worst kind of mob. We first meet our hero when he’s looking in a store window with his fiancée, mooning over the symbols of their happy future together:
Separate beds! And empty boneless gowns. It's a Depression-era version of the bridge of the Enterprise in the opening scens of "Omega Glory."
The picture at the top of the page and below are the faces of the crowd, glowing with hate-filled fascination, getting their vicarious thrills by burning a symbol of law and order. Well, before TV, what did the small-town yokel have? Feller needs a fire now and agin. Besides, one of the wimmenfolk in the crowd - clutching either baby or laundry, hard to tell - informs her husband that he best not come home tonight lessen he join the mob and drag that kidnapper out.
You want to show your fellow man at his worst, make sure you do it in close-up. DAMNING close-ups. The accused man’s fiancée appears, and this picture suggests that the director – Fritz Lang, of “M” fame – chose the winner of the 1936 Peter Lorre Female Impersonator Contest:.
Her name was Sylvia Sidney; her first movie was "Thru Different Eyes" in 1929, and her last movie was "Mars Attacks" with Tim Burton. That's a career.
Here the prosecuting attorney (not Joe Piscopo) prepares to unleash his most fearsome weapon:
HIS GIGANTIC FINGERS. I swear, this is a prosthetic hand; you can even see the seams by his wrist. .
The only solace our hero has is a ragamuffin dog he picks up on the street, a pooch who accompanies him through his tribulations. The dog has a longer imdb entry than half the people in the movie. Why?
Because that’s Toto, that’s why. But he has another name in this movie, as this letter reveals. That’s right: something over which Dorothy cast her imagination.
Verdict: gritty, grim, short, and a good period piece.
Short entry today; sorry, but it’s a busy one. New Fence, which might as well be a Bleat, anyway. See you tomorrow!