The Fury (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian De Palma|
|Produced by||Frank Yablans|
|Screenplay by||John Farris|
|Based on||The Fury|
by John Farris
|Music by||John Williams|
|Cinematography||Richard H. Kline|
|Edited by||Paul Hirsch|
Frank Yablans Presentations
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$24 million|
The Fury is a 1978 American supernatural thriller film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, and Andrew Stevens. The screenplay by John Farris was based on his 1976 novel of the same name.
The film was produced by Frank Yablans and released by 20th Century Fox on March 10, 1978. It was both a critical and commercial success, grossing $24 million from a $7.5 million budget. The music, composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, was highly praised by critic Pauline Kael, who called it "as elegant and delicately varied a score as any horror film has ever had".
In Israel, ex-CIA agent Peter Sandza and his psychic son Robin meet Ben Childress, Peter's old agency colleague. Sandza plans to leave his old life and move back to the United States with his son despite Childress' protestations. Subsequently, Childress stages a terrorist attack as a pretext to kidnap Robin for his “protection”. Peter narrowly survives but is unable to protect Robin, maiming Childress in the attempt and escaping while heavily injured.
Months later in Chicago, high school student Gillian Bellaver discovers her psychic powers, including telekinesis and extra-sensory perception, during an in-class demonstration. The uncontrolled manifestations of these powers cause harm to people that physically touch or provoke her. She volunteers to attend the Paragon Institute, a live-in research facility studying psychic powers in adolescents.
Meanwhile, Peter has tracked his son to Chicago. After evading Childress' agents, Peter meets with his girlfriend Hester, a Paragon nurse, who tells him about Gillian. Peter tells Gillian that Paragon's director is in cahoots with PSI, a covert agency led by Childress which kidnaps psychic children to use their powers as weapons in service of the American government. The achievement of the psychics' management and control is through brainwashing and the elimination of their families.
As Gillian's psychic prowess grows, she begins experiencing visions of Robin's abuse at the hands of the Institute, including a failed escape attempt. Gillian eventually forms a telepathic link to Robin. Knowing that she knows too much and that her powers are growing, Childress orders Gillian be transported to PSI headquarters where Robin is being kept. Hester overhears Childress' conversation and informs Peter, who plans a rescue, hoping she can lead him to Robin.
The rescue is successful, but Hester is killed in the process. Using Gillian's powers, she and Peter track Robin down to a remote mansion in the countryside, where he has spent the last several months being groomed and experimented on by Childress and his handler Susan. Though Robin's abilities have grown to unprecedented levels, he gradually becomes more and more unstable from the psychological strain of his superiors' machinations, culminating in a mass murder inside Old Chicago, an indoor amusement park.
As Peter and Gillian infiltrate the mansion, Robin senses her presence. Believing that PSI intends to kill him and replace him with another psychic, he finally snaps, telekinetically torturing and killing Susan. Peter confronts his son, but Robin a now-schizoid attacks him in a fit of rage. Robin is thrown out the window and scratches Peter when he tries to save him from falling. When Robin plunges to the ground, a distraught Peter flings himself after, killing himself.
Robin lingers a bit before finally dying and seems to make some form of psychic contact with Gillian; he transfers his refined powers to her with the implied message to save herself from Childress and avenge his death. The next morning, Childress approaches Gillian and starts using his manipulations to get her to connect with him. She understands his long-term intentions, embraces her psychic abilities and avenges the deaths of Robin and Peter by willing Childress' body to explode.
- Kirk Douglas as Peter Sandza
- John Cassavetes as Ben Childress
- Amy Irving as Gillian Bellaver
- Carrie Snodgress as Hester
- Charles Durning as Dr. Jim McKeever
- Andrew Stevens as Robin Sandza
- Fiona Lewis as Dr. Susan Charles
- Carol Rossen as Dr. Ellen Lindstrom
- Rutanya Alda as Kristen
- Joyce Easton as Katharine Bellaver
- William Finley as Raymond Dunwoodie
- Dennis Franz as Bob Eggleston
- Jane Lambert as Vivian Nuckells
- Sam Laws as Blackfish
- J. Patrick McNamara as Robertson
- Alice Nunn as Mrs. Callahan
- Melody Thomas Scott as La Rue
- Hilary Thompson as Cheryl
- Patrick Billingsley as Lander
- Gordon Jump as Nuckells
- J. P. Bumstead as Greene
- Daryl Hannah as Pam
- Laura Innes as Jody
Parts of this film used the grounds at Old Chicago of Bolingbrook, Illinois, a now-defunct amusement park. The scene at the hotel when Kirk Douglas escapes the agents took place in a room at the now-defunct Plymouth Hotel, the same room and hotel used in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. Other filming locations included the Water Tower Place, Lincoln Park, and Navy Pier. The PSI headquarters was a Georgian-style mansion in Lake Forest. The opening sequence was shot in Caesarea, Israel. The interiors were filmed at Stage 5 of 20th Century Fox studios in Century City.
In an interview with The Talks, De Palma said that he had 8 or 9 high-speed cameras to film Cassavetes exploding in the film's conclusion. "The first time we did it, it didn't work. The body parts didn't go towards the right cameras and this whole set was covered with blood. And it took us almost a week to get back to do take two."
Originally, the “psychic powers” effect was depicted through golden-yellow “glowing eye” effect. During post-production, the effect's color was changed from yellow to blue. The original effect can still be seen in some trailers and promotional material. The “throbbing vein” effect on the actors forehead was originally in the shooting script for Carrie, but was cut due to time and budgetary constraints.
The film features the debut performances of Dennis Franz, Daryl Hannah and Laura Innes. Franz plays a cop driving a car hijacked by Douglas' character. Hannah and Innes play students at a school attended by Irving's character. Jim Belushi appears as an extra. Film director Mark Romanek worked on the film as a production assistant, it was his first job in the film industry.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four and called it "a stylish entertainment, fast-paced, and acted with great energy. I'm not quite sure it makes a lot of sense, but that's the sort of criticism you only make after it's over. During the movie, too much else is happening." Arthur D. Murphy of Variety stated that "the film plays very well to an undemanding escapist audience," but "those who have to write about the film are confronted with a gaping hole in the script: Apart from a few throwaway references to government agencies and psychic phenomena, there is never, anywhere, a coherent exposition of what all the running and jumping is about. The more one analyzes the picture, the less substantive its story becomes. Better not to think too much about this one." Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "'The Fury' is bigger than 'Carrie,' more elaborate, much more expensive and far sillier ... It's also, in fits and starts, the kind of mindless fun that only a horror movie that so seriously pretends to be about the mind can be. Mr. De Palma seems to have been less interested in the overall movie than in pulling off a couple of spectacular set-pieces, which he does." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four and described it as "one of those thrillers where you sit around and wait for the big scenes. And the key word in that sentence is 'wait,' because there is little in 'The Fury' to hold your attention in between its three big scenes of extreme violence. That's because the film develops only one character. Its story also makes little sense, and for a movie ostensibly about psychic powers, 'The Fury' contains precious little magic." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "at any moment 'The Fury' could lapse into the ludicrous, but De Palma's control is so taut and filled with bravura that he makes plausible the most bizarre—and bloody—psychic manifestations, not to mention much physical derring-do. Without indulging in the gratuitous, lingering displays that lead to morbidity, De Palma keeps you at seat's edge. He seems to be able to get away with everything." Judith Martin of The Washington Post called it a "very slick movie" and "a film for people who like to see blood — lots of blood, blood pouring from unpleasantly unlikely places, such as eyeballs — and not for anyone who doesn't." Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote that "De Palma is one of the few directors in the sound era to make a horror film that is so visually compelling that a viewer seems to have entered a mythic night world. Inside that world, transfixed, we can hear the faint, distant sound of De Palma cackling with pleasure." The music, composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, was also highly praised by Kael, who wrote that it "may be as apt and delicately varied a score as any horror movie has ever had."
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989, p. 259
- "The Fury, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- "De Palma's 'The Fury' is dominated by one incredible set-piece after another". PopOptiq. 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
- "Interview with Brian De Palma". The Talks.
- Ebert, Roger. "The Fury". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
- Murphy, Arthur D. (March 15, 1978). "Film Reviews: The Fury". Variety. 20.
- Canby, Vincent (March 15, 1978). "Film: De Palma Mixes Genres in 'Fury'". The New York Times. C19.
- Siskel, Gene (March 20, 1978). "'The Fury' has violence and plenty of nothing else". Chicago Tribune. Section 3, p. 6.
- Thomas, Kevin (March 15, 1978). "Brian De Palma Offers 'Fury'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 16.
- Martin, Judith (March 17, 1978). "If You Like Blood, You'll Love 'The Fury'". The Washington Post. Weekend, p. 14.
- Kael, Pauline (March 20, 1978). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker 122.
- "The Fury (1978)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 27, 2019.