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Fury

I have mixed thoughts on Fritz Lang. While his earlier films are visually stupendous, the characters and stories are, for the most part, pretty lacking - especially in his later films. This film, Fury, marks the German director's first picture made within the U.S. At first, Lang found it incredibly difficult to work in the U.S. as MGM, the company he worked with, often canceled his projects because they were "too dark" or "too provocative". In fact, Lang was getting ready to leave MGM when he found the script for Fury. So, finally finding a script that both he and the studio executives liked, Lang was able to make his first feature-length film in America. It's a shame, then, that the film isn't actually that good...

In Fury, we follow two lovebirds, Katherine and Joe, who are planning to be married ASAP. After an unspecified amount of time, Joe finds himself a job, a car, and the eagerness to use his newfound wealth to marry his fiancee. However, Joe's hopeful plans for the future are dashed after he's arrested on circumstantial evidence that suggests he, along with two other supposed men, kidnapped a young girl for ransom. Despite claims that he's been mistaken for someone else, an angry mob forms and tries to do whatever it can to make Joe face the death sentence.

The concept for the film's interesting and definitely relevant, but it lacks any concrete or memorable characters to support it. Joe, Katherine, and Joe's brothers? Are these lacking characters really our backbone for the film? They're bland cookie-cutters, sadly, and it makes it really hard to care about what's going on in the film. Not only that, but it isn't as if this film were the only one to speak out against mob violence. Even Lang's previous films, such as M, targeted these issues in a manner that was much more satisfying than Fury. For example, I'd much rather re-read To Kill A Mockingbird - a story with the same moral AND great characters - than watch the forgettable Fury again.

MGM's bothersome intrusions can also be seen in this film. Events such as Joe reconciling with Katherine, forgiving the mob (partially), and having a kiss to end the film would have NEVER happened in a Fritz Lang film. The whole thing reeks of MGM's demands for "family-friendly" entertainment that remained on an "upbeat and optimistic" level. I sympathize with Lang here, as MGM used to have a reputation back in the day for censoring other peoples' work. Just look at the Marx brothers' A Night At The Opera - it's so tame when compared to their earlier work.

I'll admit, however, that Lang was able to create some decent visuals for this film. They're fluid and they get the job done, but I wouldn't call them spectacular or anywhere near his earlier work. Still, I thought the sequences involving the burning down of the jailhouse and Joe being haunted by the ghosts of his perpetrators were innovative for a 1930's film.

Fury is a pretty poor film. It sports some good performances and decent visuals, but the rest of the film feels hollow, censored, and lacking in strong themes or characters.




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