Review: ‘Black Fury’

Pennsy coal-mining background is basically a masculine setting for intra-industry politics [from the story Jan Volkanik by M.A. Musmanno and play Bohunk by Henry R. Irving]. The fomenting anti-unionists who generate ill-will for benefit of ultimate strike-breaking maneuvers is the means for bringing in the strongarm coal mine police, the scabs, etc. They become the abstract composite villain.

Pennsy coal-mining background is basically a masculine setting for intra-industry politics [from the story Jan Volkanik by M.A. Musmanno and play Bohunk by Henry R. Irving]. The fomenting anti-unionists who generate ill-will for benefit of ultimate strike-breaking maneuvers is the means for bringing in the strongarm coal mine police, the scabs, etc. They become the abstract composite villain.

There are times when the footage is slow and Paul Muni’s Polish brogue too thick but in the main the general result is arresting. Muni is the fulcrum of the film but there are other fine performances. J. Carrol Naish is excellent as the strike fomenter. John Qualen’s hunky-pal personation is a sympathetic characterization, parred by Sarah Haden in a slavey role, that of his wife. Barton MacLane’s thankless assignment as the bullying head of the muscle bunch is sufficiently hateful to impress him.

Black Fury

Production

Warner. Director Michael Curtiz; Producer [Robert Lord]; Screenplay Abem Finkel, Carl Erickson; Camera Byron Haskin; Editor Thomas Richards; Music Leo F. Forbstein (dir.); Art Director John Hughes

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Paul Muni Karen Morley William Gargan Barton MacLane John Qualen J. Carrol Naish

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