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The Furies (1950 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Furies
The Furies (1950 original promotional art).jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byAnthony Mann
Produced byHal Wallis
Screenplay byCharles Schnee
Based onThe Furies
by Niven Busch
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyVictor Milner
Edited byArchie Marshek
Hal Wallis Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 21, 1950 (1950-07-21) (Tucson)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.5 million[1]

The Furies is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, and Walter Huston in his final film performance.[2] Based on the 1948 Niven Busch novel of the same name, its plot follows the ruthless daughter of a tyrannical rancher in 1870s New Mexico Territory who struggles with her stake in his estate.

Released in August 1950 by Paramount Pictures, the film was a financial failure, but went on to accrue a reputation as a "Freudian Western," and one of Mann's greatest contributions to the genre.[3]

In 2008, the film was released on DVD in the United States by The Criterion Collection.[4]


Temple Caddy "T. C." Jeffords is an elderly, tyrannical, and arrogant cattle baron who owns a sprawling property in the New Mexico Territory, called The Furies. He harbors special contempt for the Herrera family, who are squatting on the property. T. C.'s beloved daughter, Vance, is as obsessed with wealth and every bit as ruthless as her father, though she has a secret, close bond with Juan Herrera, whom she has known since childhood. However, Vance seeks a suitor who can run the giant ranch with her once her father dies . She falls in love with Rip Darrow, who believes a portion of The Furies' land is rightfully his and holds a grudge against T. C.; meanwhile, Vance is shocked when Rip accepts a $50,000 bribe from T. C. to permanently get out of her life. In town, Rip owns a saloon he calls "The Legal Tender"; he subsequently opens a bank near it.

T. C. is so self-possessed, he pays bills with "T. C." notes rather than actual dollars. One day, he brings a woman home to The Furies: Flo Burnett, who plans to marry T. C. for his money. When Vance confronts Flo, Flo unabashedly admits she is seeking the marriage for financial security, and tells Vance that she and T. C. are soon to be married in San Francisco. Together, Flo and T. C. inform Vance that they have arranged for an outsider to take over the maintenance The Furies, so as to take pressure off of Vance, as well as oust the Herreras from the property. Furthermore, they have planned an extended trip to Europe for Vance. Enraged by this news, Vance hurls a pair of scissors at Flo's face, permanently disfiguring her.

Vance flees on horseback to the Herreras' home on The Furies. T. C. summons a number of his men to run the Herreras off the property. They arrive on horseback armed with guns, but the Herreras fight back by hurling boulders down the hill at them and returning fire. Vance stands by Juan's side as he fires back at her father's associates. The Herreras eventually surrender, and T. C. and his men execute Juan by hanging as Vance looks on. Before she departs, Vance proclaims her hatred for her father, and swears to him that she will ruin his life.

Seeking vengeance, Vance travels throughout the American west, buying up all of the "T. C." notes and dramatically eroding her father's wealth. At risk of losing his property, T. C. unsuccessfully seeks to borrow $50,000 from Flo to save The Furies. Meanwhile, Vance visits Rip, asking for assistance in her plot to ruin her father. Rip observes that Vance is consumed by hatred, but agrees to help her if she gives him a section of The Furies, to which she agrees. The two conspire to deceive T. C. by giving him false hope that a wealthy California investor is going to loan him the funds to save The Furies. When T. C. arrives at the bank to receive his "loan," he is met by Vance and Rip, and offered a crate of $140,000 of his own "T. C." notes, now worthless. Rather than lambasting his daughter, T. C. congratulates her on her cunning, and willingly relinquishes The Furies to her. He declares he will start his life over elsewhere the little means he has. T. C. exits the bank, and burns his box of currency outside. As he walks down the street arm-in-arm with Vance and Rip, he is shot to death by Juan's bereaved mother. Vance and Rip return to The Furies with T. C.'s body, where they plan his burial.



Film scholar Michael Adams, writing for the City University of New York, observes that the film blends archetypes borrowed from Greek tragedies as well as several works by Shakespeare, specifically King Lear and Macbeth.[5] In a 1957 interview, director Anthony Mann stated that he felt the screenplay shared several similarities to the Fyodor Dostoevsky novel The Idiot.[5]



Filming took place primarily on location in Tucson, Arizona, beginning on November 9, 1949.[6] Filming completed on December 23, 1949, though additional footage and retakes were filmed on January 7, 1950.[6] Some interiors were shot at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.


Box office

The Furies premiered in Tucson, Arizona on July 21, 1950 before screening nationally in August 1950.[6] Though it grossed $1,550,000 million at the U.S. box office,[1] the film was considered a financial failure for Paramount.[3]

Home media

The Criterion Collection released the film on DVD on November 21, 2008, esteeming it as a "hidden treasure of American filmmaking."[7]


  1. ^ a b "Top Grosses of 1950". Variety. January 3, 1951. p. 58.
  2. ^ Horton, Andrew (2003). Henry Bumstead and the world of Hollywood art direction. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 37.
  3. ^ a b "Anthony Mann: The 1950s: Westerns". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on July 26, 2020.
  4. ^ "The Furies". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Adams, Michael (2008). "Review of The Furies". City University of New York. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "The Furies (1950)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on July 26, 2020.
  7. ^ The Furies (DVD back cover artwork). The Criterion Collection. 2008.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 October 2020, at 14:40
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