Sunday, March 26, 2023

Tonight's Movie: Flesh and Fury (1952) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Tonight I wrapped up viewing Kino Lorber's Dark Side of Cinema X collection with FLESH AND FURY (1952) starring Tony Curtis.

To my knowledge this Blu-ray release is the first time FLESH AND FURY has been available for home viewing in a Region 1 (U.S.) format.

It's the third title in a boxing-themed set which also includes the previously reviewed films THE SQUARE JUNGLE (1955), also starring Curtis, and WORLD IN MY CORNER (1956), starring Audie Murphy. This is a very solid, enjoyable set which I recommend.

I first saw FLESH AND FURY at the 2016 Noir City Film Festival and wrote then it was "a great watch start to finish." I felt that way viewing it again tonight, seven years later. It's an absorbing film with strong performances.

Tony Curtis stars as Paul Callan a boxer on his way up. There's just one thing that's different about Paul: He's deaf.

Sonya (Jan Sterling) is a flashy, trashy blonde who derides Paul as a "dummy" but latches on to him as a potential meal ticket. As Paul has increasing success in the ring, Sonya's plans are upended when Paul instead falls for Ann (Mona Freeman), a magazine writer.

Ann's father had been deaf, and unlike Sonya she's comfortable with Paul's lack of hearing. She encourages Paul to overcome his embarrassment at using sign language, and she worries about him being in the boxing ring.

Soon Paul will face several important choices, not only about his romantic future but regarding whether or not to have an operation in an attempt to restore some hearing to one of his ears.

That operation strikes me as the only false plot choice in a really interesting, well-made 83-minute film, written by Bernard Gordon from a story by William Alland.

Curtis is superb, believable, sympathetic, and handsome. I've always enjoyed Mona Freeman, and Sterling nails her shallow character, who doesn't think much of Paul, other than as a financial resource.

There's a top supporting cast including Wallace Ford, Louis Jean Heydt, Connie Gilchrist, Harry Guardino, Katherine Locke, and Tom Powers.

The movie was beautifully shot in black and white by Irving Glassberg. Joseph Pevney directed; I've come to appreciate his work, as he consistently made very enjoyable films at Universal Pictures.

Kino Lorber's great-looking Blu-ray is from a new 2K master. Sound quality is also excellent.

Disc extras include a commentary track by Daniel Kremer and three trailers for other films available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

Both the film and this set are recommended.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


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