The Fury – tape 566

Before the main feature, this tape has a late night ITN news bulletin from Zeinab Badawi, leading with the financial problems of the company which was running the Sport Aid ‘Race for Life’ event.

Then, we get The Fury, Brian De Palma’s followup to Carrie, about which I remember very little, apart from an unfortunate event that happens at the end.

The first caption doesn’t bode well.

Mid East 1977

That’s either a weaselly way to avoid offending anyone or a tacit acknowledgement that they din’t think their audience would know a particular country is actually in the middle east.

Kirk Douglas and his son Robin are leaving the sun-kissed beaches of Mid East to live in the US. You can tell they’re a close family, as they’re not afraid to wrestle just after a swimming race. Kirk Douglas still looks OK in speedos, and doesn’t he know it. His son is going to a special school run by John Cassavetes, especially for other people like him. But we don’t yet know what that means.

But there’s no time for maudlin farewells, as the beach comes under fire from gunmen, a sudden shock that would have been even better if the stuntman playing the waiter who is first to get shot hadn’t overfilled Kirk Douglas’s glass, possibly because the bullet squibs were supposed to go off while he was pouring, but he fills it too quickly, then has to stop, just before the squibs go.

Clearly, Douglas is an action man, as he’s happy to grab a machine gun from the body of a dead gunman, and go shooting up the bad guys himself. But then he makes the fatal mistake of getting in to one of the gunmen’s boats and going out to sea, where another of the gunmen shoots the boat and it blows up.

His son Robin is naturally distraught, and Cassavetes bundles him out of the way, but then goes to congratulate the gunmen on their fine work, and consult with one of them who was filming everything with a movie camera. Luckily, Kirk Douglas isn’t dead, and sees this treachery. He’s not happy. Here’s Kirk Douglas looking not happy.

Kirk Douglas is not happy

Cut to Chicago 1978, and yet another beach. We’re introduced to Amy Irving and her friendas they walk by the beach in their bikinis, revising for a test. They attract the attention of a creepy looking guy, William Finley off of De Palma’s The Phantom of the Paradise who immediately telephones Kirk Douglas and tells him that he thinks Irving can help him find his son. But he’s under surveillance, and soon some shady looking men in suits descend on Douglas at his hotel, and he has to escape – in his shorts, yet again. This man still thinks he’s in Spartacus.

Meanwhile, Irving is at school watching a demonstration of ‘biofeedback’ – using brainwaves to power a toy train set. Then, because it’s a school, she’s bullied a bit by the other girls, until she uses her powers to read another girl’s mind, and makes her nose bleed.

So she goes to the Paragon institute, a seemingly idyllic school which tests telepathic and telekinetic powers, run by Charles Durning. Also there is Hester (Carrie Snodgress) who is also a friend of Kirk Douglas, and giving him information in secret.

Irving accidentally touches Durning, and gets a psychic image of what happened to Robin – she sees him falling out of a window, trying to get away from Durning.

Later she other visions of the son – he’s still alive somewhere else, and undergoing experiments under the supervision of Fiona Lewis and John Cassavetes.

Fiona Lewis and John Cassavetes

Lewis is sleeping with Robin as a way of controlling his powers, but he’s more than a little jealous when he sees her talking to other men on a trip to a funfair, and vents his anger by using his telekinetic powers to make a chairoplane run too fast, and catapult a couple of arabs through a window . So they’ve turned him into a racist Uri Geller.

Meanwhile, Douglas’ friend Hester engineers an escape for Irving, one of De Palma’s signature slow-motion set-pieces as Irving, dressed in a nightgown, is running away from the institute, pursued by several goons, accompanied by some lovely John Williams music.

Robin appears to be turning into an arsehole, judging by the way he behaves to Lewis. This might be justified, given how she is manipulating him, but he’s definitely playing the entitled prig card.

He finally goes totally Carrie, starts floating in mid-air, then spins Lewis around until she’s spurting blood all over the place.

Douglas arrives, but Robin is still rather angry, and he flies at Douglas, throwing them both out of a window until Douglas is hanging on with one hand, and holding Robin with his other. But he can’t hold on, and Robin drops to his death.

So where was his magical flying power then?

Douglas is so distraught he throws himself off the roof, which leaves Amy Irving with the evil Cassavetes. He tells her she’s safe with him. “I’ll be a good father.”

Then she blows him up.

John Cassavetes Exploding

They really like this effect. It looks like they had about ten cameras running – there are thirteen cuts in the explosion, most of which are from different angles, so they were making damn sure they got all the coverage, and having got all that coverage, making damn sure they used it all.

Incidentally, the exploding Cassavetes was done by Rick Baker, one of his earlier pieces of work, and very impressive.

After this, recording continues with an episode of Three’s Company, the US sitcom based on Man About The House. It stars John Ritter, aka Hooperman.

This is followed by Fifty Years On, a compilation of old newsreels. This one is particularly interesting as it covers the time immediately preceding the outbreak of World War 2, and covers Chamberlain’s attempts at brokering peace, hailed at the time as masterful statesmanship. It’s really interesting to see how it was presented at the time, rather than through the lens of history.

Following this, the tape ends during the ITN morning news.

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4 comments

    1. Heck, Kirk is completely naked in Saturn 3! Obviously adhering to the “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” rule even at that stage in his career.

      1. I’d forgotten about Saturn 3. It’s in my collection so I’ll be enjoying that at a later date, obviously. I remember finding his relationship with Farrah Fawcett a little creepy.

      2. Unfortunately for viewers in the 1980s, a lot of Farrah Fawcett’s nudity got cut from the movie. And some people wonder why ITC never conquered cinema.

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