The Secret Fury Starring Claudette Colbert Ending Explained
The Secret Fury is a twisty black and white classic from 1950. The psychological thriller has an impressive cast, including Colbert, Robert Ryan, Vivian Vance, and Jane Cowl, and is directed by Mel Ferrer. Incredible performances, especially by Colbert and Ryan, elevate this tricky Hitchcockesque film from clever ruse to high art. It’s a fun film to revisit that is available on Hulu right now for those who love a good mystery. I’m a sucker for a good twist ending, and the ’40s and ’50s had their fair share. Like 1948’s Gaslight and Hitchcock’s significant Vertigo, what you see isn’t the whole story.
The film opens with what should be a young couple’s best day. In the middle of the wedding, she is accused of bigamy by a stranger. Regardless of how much Ellen denies the previous marriage, the stranger has credible proof. Instead of going on their honeymoon, the young couple travels to the small town where she was supposedly married a year before to unravel the truth. The more Ellen tries to discredit the stranger, the more she becomes convinced she is losing her mind or a massive conspiracy meant to keep her and David apart for unknown reasons. Is she gaslit into insanity, or are there bigger mysteries to unravel?
Arriving in town, Ellen and David find her signature on the marriage license, and people who claim to remember her wedding. Not only that, but they believe they have tracked down the man she was reported to have married. Ellen finds herself in a locked room with her alleged first husband. Someone shoots him, and Ellen is arrested for his murder. Little by little Ellena and the viewer begin to believe she is deeply troubled. When she is institutionalized for breaking down during the trial, David continues to investigate and finds pieces of her incredible story are authentic.
She did see a boat called Noosnow; only it was really Monsoon reflected upside down in the water and the shell she remembers finding on the beach. After being attacked by Eric, the man who first started this at the wedding, David gets the proof he needs to save Ellen. He and Gregory go to the hospital and tell Ellen she is safe, but she has a breakdown that puzzles the doctor. She says Ellen wasn’t shocked by the news, but that something else set her off. In the final act, everything is revealed, and boy, it’s a shocker.
What does the Secret Fury mean?
While being evaluated for mental instability, Ellen has a test performed to determine if she is secretly violent. The Electro-Encephalocardiogram should reveal peaks of unrest if Ellen is indeed capable of murder. As the doctor calls them, the mountains of fury aren’t present, leading to the first clue that Ellen isn’t mad. The secret fury would be the rage and aggression that would be present but hidden away on a psychotic mind.
Why did Gregory ruin Ellen’s life?
Surprisingly, Ellen is not losing her mind. She wasn’t married to Mr. Randall, and all of the people who claim they witnessed her marriage are lying. It was all a conspiracy perpetrated by Gregory. He paid everyone to lie, forged the documents, and killed the maid and Randall to keep the lie going. He was angry with Ellen’s family for having him placed in a mental hospital. Gregory spent four years in the institution after Ellen’s father had him committed. Gregory wanted someone to pay for what Ellen’s father did. Unfortunately for Ellen, Gregory’s big plan is to kill her or be killed by ensuring she will go away forever, one way or another.
Was Ellen insane?
There is some evidence that Ellen certainly is forgetful and has had bouts of instability, or so her Aunt says. We have zero proof that she had a breakdown beyond Aunt Clara’s statement, but there is no reason to believe it is all false. Ellen is not insane; she suffers from bouts of anxiety and depression. She did not kill anyone and was never married. There is no amnesia, only a complicated revenge plot.
Who killed Randall in The Secret Fury?
Gregory killed everyone. He strangled the maid and shot Randall. It was never explained how he shot Randall while in a locked room with Ellen. It’s a minor plot hole that is never explained, but somehow he killed Randall while Ellen wasn’t looking. I bet if the doctor tested him, he would have all kinds of mountains of secret fury.
The Secret Fury is like some of the best psychological thrillers. Similar to Rebecca, the viewer is always on their heels. It’s not until the final moments that everything becomes clear. For fans of older films who are looking for a departure from the slick films of today, this one is worth your time.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.