Last night on Turner Classic Movies I watched the 1936 drama Fury; a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release directed by German film-maker Fritz Lang. The cast consisted of Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Abel, Bruce Cabot, Edward Ellis, and Walter Brennan. Also in the cast was Terry the Terrior, a movie dog who is best remembered for playing Toto in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
The film focuses on injustice in the American court system as Joe Wilson (Spencer Tracy) is falsley arrested on kidnapping charges and he is imprissoned in a ficticious small town. Like in all little towns word travels fast and by nightfall a mob is made to kill the false kidnapper. Joe's fiance Katherine Grant (Sylvia Sidney) soon learns about this and she races to this little town only to see the jail burning with her true love inside.
When word gets out that an innocent man was killed there is a nationwide upset and the district attorney (Walter Abel) brings the main suspects to court to be tried for murder and twenty-two lives now hang in the balance as a newsreel is brought in for evidence revealing them doing things leading to this death.
Little does anyone know, Joe somehow escaped this fiery death and is miraculosly alive. He seeks refuge in the apartment his two brothers share and listens to the radio to hear the court trial progress. Katherine still believes that Joe is dead but one day while in court she the district attorney announces that someone sent in an anonymous letter with a partially melted ring. That ring was Katherine's she'd given it to Joe and when she see's the letter she recognizes some of the mispelling and realizes that Joe must still be alive.
She soon goes to his apartment and discovers that Joe's been hiding there all this time and she pleads with him to come to court but he refuses to do so. However, in time his conscience gets to him and he makes an apperance in court and sets things straight just as the verdicts are given out.
The acting in this movie was wonderful, as always Spencer Tracy gave a fantastic performance in the male lead but then again Spencer Tracy was very good in dramatic roles. Just the way he behaved after his characters near death escape was astounding; the look on his face, the stiffness he applied to his body and the input of vigor in the dialogue made for an extremley captive watch. Just to watch Spencer Tracy in almost anything is a treat and I read that Tracy was actually nominated for an Academy Award for his endeavors in this movie.
Sylvia Sidney's performance was of equal candor. Her role as the prim schoolteacher was very charming and she acted so ladylike. When it came to the sequence where she arrives to the jail where her fiance is kept and she see's it burning her expression was the stuff Oscar nominations are made of. She stood there with her eyes fixated on this terrible scene and she did and said nothing she just stood there frozen and watched as her fiance was perishing before a sudden faint. Ms. Sidney truly shows her acting abilities in this.
If you ever want to see Fury I recommend you go to www.tcm.com and review they're scheduale or you could even go to YouTube and see if you can find it there in parts.