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Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Arrow Video release of Brian De Palma's The Fury on Blu-Ray includes a booklet which has a new interview with John Farris, who wrote the Fury screenplay from his own novel. This great interview was conducted via e-mail by Chris Dumas, who also wrote a new essay for the booklet titled, "Who's Afraid Of John Cassavetes?" Farris tells Dumas that he came up with the idea to blow up Childress at the end of The Fury. When Dumas asks whether he and De Palma had discussed the ending of Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, Farris replies, "At the time we did The Fury, I hadn't seen it; I caught up to it years later. Brian never mentioned the movie to me."

While telling Dumas about changes from his novel, Farris mentions a song-and-dance couple: "As Brian worked on The Fury from his particular point of view, he requested changes, additional scenes, and eliminated other scenes, including those involving the old song-and-dance couple. I liked those characters but Brian was right: by that point in the movie they just got in the way. Another, later scene between Robin and his psychiatrist/lover in her bath was filmed but just didn't work."

When asked by Dumas whether the scenes involving the song-and-dance couple were ever filmed, Farris tells him, "Donald O'Connor and, I believe, Gloria De Haven were signed to play the song-and-dance couple and construction was underway on their apartment set when they were cut from the script, a few days before we began shooting in Chicago." Dumas further asks whether any test footage might have been shot, and Farris answers, "Test footage on O'Connor and Gray? I don't think anyone tested for The Fury. Brian knew who he wanted and what they could do."

Farris indicated above that he wasn't quite sure about who the female half of the song-and-dance couple was. According to Dumas, Farris had originally stated that the female was Dolores Gray, but just before the booklet went to press, Farris told him he was mistaken, and that it was actually De Haven. However, according to a 2005 article at Classic Images, it was Vivian Blaine. The Classic Images article also suggests that the scene with the couple may have been shot and then left on the cutting room floor.

"The Fury starring Kirk Douglas and made at Fox cast Donald O'Connor and Vivian as a song and dance movie team, similar to Marge and Gower Champion," writes Classic Images' Colin Briggs. "With a very gory horror plot, it was based on the best selling novel of the same name. When the film was previewed it was way too long and as their parts were expendable (they both meet an extremely gory end) their scenes were excised. Vivian's comments: 'My fans were disappointed but have them know, the pay was tops.'” (Thanks to Bill Fentum for sending in this article a while back!)

Farris also reveals a couple of cut/altered scenes, saying that the bus ride in the final act was originally written as a ferryboat ride across Lake Michigan (it was cut due to "budget and logistic considerations," according to Farris). "as for locations," Farris tells Dumas, "Brian wanted to do the beach scene in the Chicago Museum of Art. No Chance. As you know, the scene with Dunwoodie shadowing the girls and tuning into Gillian psychically he later adapted to great effect for Dressed To Kill. Dunwoodie's assassination and a nice overhead shot of his sprawled body with beachgoers walking around it were cut in editing." (Note: this sounds very much like the way the death scene of the former Castro confidante killed by Tony Montana in the refugee camp near the beginning of Scarface was staged and shot. The character's physical features suggest that this dying figure could have been played by Finley himself.)

There's a lot more great stuff in this interview. I'll do a second post about it tomorrow.

Posted by Geoff at 1:24 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 5:18 PM CST
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