The Fury

The Fury (1978)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Kirk Douglas, Amy Irving, Andrew Stevens, John Cassavetes
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Still Gallery, Bonus Trailers

I’ve watched many DVDs this year – some great, some good, some not so good – and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s release of Brian DePalma’s ’The Fury’ is, sadly, the worst DVD I’ve seen yet. It’s sad because, although this picture isn’t one of DePalma’s strongest efforts (perplexing since it incorporated so many fine talents), it’s still a nice piece of work that deserves a more conscientious effort than appears to have been put forth on this disc. It’s seems an apathetic attempt and has me in something of a fury, too.

Peter Sanza is a special government agent whose son, Robin, is kidnapped by Peter’s long-time partner and friend, Childress, a man bent on harnessing and exploiting Robin’s unique psychokinetic powers. Peter seeks the assistance of Gillian, a young and equally gifted girl, to help find Robin and rescue him from those who have abducted and brainwashed him. But when Childress learns of Gillian and her psychokinetic talents, he plots to acquire her and eliminate the increasingly uncooperative Robin. It’s up to Peter and Gillian to infiltrate Childress’ operation and locate Robin before the boy unleashes his dangerous powers against Gillian and anyone else who he suspects to be a threat his own existence.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents ’The Fury’ in an anamorphic widescreen presentation, framed at its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Early on in the disc, the image quality displays horrendous graininess in various sequences such that I’ve never seen on DVD before. And while DePalma’s pictures often include some amount of grain – either for intended texture or resulting from use of 16mm photography – this transfer has delivered images so rough they become visually distracting. The transfer can be somewhat excused since I believe the grain is due to the source print (which I verified against my very old Magnetic Video Corporation VHS) though I find it hard to accept that no corrective measures were taken by Fox.

The audio selections are varied, starting with a Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround mix that performs reasonably well though doesn’t engage the rear channels save for some of composer John William’s powerful score. It’s a balanced mix, though, providing decent clarity, an acceptable amount of bass, and clear dialog. There’s also an English 2.0 Surround track and a Mono French track.

Extras include the original theatrical trailer, a scant still gallery of production and promotional images, and those aggravating bonus trailers of other Fox titles. The menu design is rather uninspired, consistent to the rest of the disc’s content.

While I generally approve of Fox’s DVD offerings, this one looks to have been managed by the graveyard shift. Though the film itself didn’t meet the studio’s expectations during its theatrical release, it’s confounding to me why they wouldn’t muster up a bit more enthusiasm to help it succeed in the DVD market. I’m left thinking that just a bit more effort might have made this a much better disc.