The Furies appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Very few issues materialized in this satisfying transfer.
For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. I noticed slight softness in a few shots, as some elements appeared slightly ill-defined. Those instances were exceptions, though, as the majority of the flick was pretty tight and nicely delineated.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering marred the presentation. Edge haloes failed to appear, and the film came with a nice layer of grain.
Source flaws were totally absent. This became a clean image.
Contrast succeeded, blacks were dark and firm, and shadows seemed fairly good. At times some low-light shots could be a little dense – usually due to “day for night” shots - but they were good in general. I felt pleased with this appealing image.
We got a perfectly adequate LPCM monaural soundtrack for The Furies. Like most films of the era, speech sounded somewhat metallic, but the lines always remained easily intelligible, and they lacked notable edginess.
Effects were also thin and without much range, but they seemed fairly concise and didn’t suffer from significant distortion. The score fit in with the rest of the audio, as the music felt reasonably lively. This turned into a more than acceptable mix for a 71-year-old movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the Blu-ray from 2008? The lossless audio felt a little more stable and warm, while visuals appeared cleaner, smoother and better defined. This was a nice upgrade.
When we move to the disc’s supplements, we start with an audio commentary from film historian Jim Kitses. He provides a running, screen-specific track that looks at cast, characters and performances, the adaptation of the source novel, director Anthony Mann’s work and career, themes, tone and interpretation.
The latter topics strongly dominate this commentary. Oh, Kitses throws in the occasional filmmaking nugget and gives us a little information about cast and crew, but the vast majority of the chat looks at a view of the movie with a psychological bent.
I suppose this may appeal to some listeners, but in my case, I didn’t much care for it. I enjoy a good examination of a flick’s themes and subtext, but I don’t think Kitses offers a particularly insightful take.
He often refers to “phallic” symbols and grows tedious pretty quickly. It’s not a bad track, but I’d prefer one that better balances filmmaking issues with interpretation.
Three interview clips follow. The first runs 17 minutes, 13 seconds and provides a 1967 interview with director Anthony Mann. He discusses his early career, influences, and some elements of his various movies.
Though a fairly general piece, Mann includes a reasonable number of insights into his work. This becomes an informative discussion.
Intimate Interviews: Walter Huston goes for eight minutes, 57 seconds. The short comes from a series of big-screen interviews that appeared in the 1930s.
That means it has nothing to do with Furies, of course, but it’s a cool historical artifact. Don’t expect much real info, as it’s obviously a staged featurette more than it is an actual interview, but I still like it – especially when Huston hits on the interviewer!
Next a 17-minute, 29-second Nina Mann Interview appears. The director’s daughter chats about the director’s life as well as some aspects of The Furies. At times this degenerates into general praise for Anthony Mann’s career and the film, but Nina Mann offers a decent number of insights.
In addition to the film’s Theatrical Trailer, we find a new feature: Radical Classicism, a circa 2020 chat with critic Imogen Sara Smith. In this 29-minute, 23-second program, she discusses aspects of the film as well as interpretation and allusions to other works. Smith offers a nice view of the flick.
Two non-disc materials appear here. Of course, we get the standard booklet found in virtually all Criterion releases.
This one includes an essay from film professor Robin Wood as well as a 1957 interview with Anthony Mann. This is one of the better Criterion booklets.
Even better, we find a copy of the original novel by author Niven Busch. This isn’t an abridged version, so it provides the entire 1948 text. That makes it a very nice addition to the package.
Not many Westerns feature female protagonists, so that emphasis makes The Furies something different. The flick doesn’t just rely on this gimmick to create interest, as it gives us a solidly crafted and well-acted film that consistently satisfies. The Blu-ray provides very good picture along with acceptable audio and a nice selection of extras that includes the complete novel on which the movie was based. This is a fine film and a solid Blu-ray.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of THE FURIES