Varese Sarabande VSD- 5264
[This is an established release it was issued in 1990]
The Fury was an oddly dark, occasionally over-the-edge film that was
self-indulgent even by the standards of its often self-indulgent director,
Brian dePalma, who spent much of his early career making homages to Alfred
Hitchcock. One of the films many excellent parts was the score by John
Williams, who has described it as his own homage, of sorts, to Bernard Herrmann.
This is particularly true of its main theme, a relentless, 7-note motif that,
introduced on clarinet, pushes and pulls the viewer into the murky goings-on
of this story about a young girls psychokinetic abilities and the corrupt
powers who try to groom her for their own purposes. But while Herrmanns
muse is clearly evident in this theme, the rest of the score is all Williams.
The Fury was made in 1978, and thus was among Williams first scores
after his Star Wars success. (The London Symphony was again his orchestra
of choice.) Not surprisingly, there are traces of that blockbuster score
here -- this is clearly the work of the master behind Jaws and Star Wars.
Equally to be expected are a number of foreshadowings of such scores as E.T.
and even Jurassic Park. One need only listen to the CDs second track
-- For Gillian -- to hear a wealth of Williams both past and
future. The cue opens with tripping strings followed closely by similarly
played horns playing a sweet, light-hearted melody suggestive of E.T.
Throughout the film, Williams utilizes strings and horn combinations to good
effect in building suspense or simply complementing the clear and present
dangers faced by the likes of Kirk Douglas, Amy Irving and Carrie Snodgress
as they play out dePalmas and author/screenwriter John Farris
convoluted story that includes three truly over-the-top scenes: the first,
in which Douglas tries to engineer Irvings escape from the clutches
of the evil John Cassavetes -- only to have Snodgress wind up killed in a
car accident after which the distraught Douglas shoots a passing jogger in
frustration; the second, in which a carousel loaded with Arab tourists --
there was still an oil crisis in the late 70s, remember -- goes awry,
flinging its human cargo hither and yon; and third, the films closing
scene, in which Irving uses her unique telekinetic gift to explode Cassavetes
head -- literally. (I swear, Im not making any of this up!)
Although he might taken a far different approach in scoring The Fury, Williams
opted to hang right in there with dePalma, matching the punch of the visuals
while at the same time underscoring the characters and their relationships
so that we actually can care about them. (As Kevin Mulhall notes, " Williams
arouses sympathy for the characters and helps increase the dramatic tension."
The cue Search for Robin, for example, opens with a delicate
theme played almost reflectively in the winds before becoming a flowing string
statement that culminates in typical Williams bravado.)
So rich is the material in this score that Williams chose to compose an
additional cue -- the 4 1/2-minute Epilogue, not heard in the
film -- in which he expands on his main theme with an extended string treatment
that stands on its own as a serious piece of music. (To my knowledge, Williams
never conducted it with the Boston Pops, as Id hoped he would when,
in 1980, he took over that post. It would have fit that venue perfectly.)
This Varese Sarabande release offers the original soundtrack recording from
the initial LP, with two noteworthy improvements. One is the inclusion of
the cue Williams originally wrote for the carousel scene, which is quite
different from the one heard in the film. The latter version, offered on
LP as well as this CD, utilizes electronics to mimic the main theme as the
carousel begin to twirl out of control. It also concludes with a heart-pounding,
rhythmic crash of chords that we were to hear again 15 years later as the
victorious T-rex roars its final challenge in Jurassic Park.
The other improvement is Mulhalls informative liner notes. (The original
LP by Arista had none.) Although I think Mulhall overstates his case when
he calls The Fury "arguably Williams best film music recording," I
certainly agree that it deserves far more consideration in the Williams oeuvre
than it has thus far received, despite the fact this CD has been around for
If youre a fan of John Williams, you need this one.