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Night of the Eagle
     

Night of the Eagle

Director: Sidney Hayers, Janet Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston

Cast: Sidney Hayers, Janet Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston

 

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Night of the Eagle was the second film version of Fritz Leiber Jr.'s Conjure Wife (the first was Weird Woman, perhaps the best of Universal's low-budget "Inner Sanctum" series of the 1940s). The film's title was possibly meant to invoke memories of the earlier Night of the Demon (58); both films involve a rational scientist (in the case of

Overview

Night of the Eagle was the second film version of Fritz Leiber Jr.'s Conjure Wife (the first was Weird Woman, perhaps the best of Universal's low-budget "Inner Sanctum" series of the 1940s). The film's title was possibly meant to invoke memories of the earlier Night of the Demon (58); both films involve a rational scientist (in the case of Night of the Eagle, Peter Wyngarde) forced to accept the existence of the supernatural. All evidence points to the conclusion that the scientist's American wife Janet Blair is the reincarnation of a witch, and a practitioner of voodoo. The actual villain is supposed to be a mystery, though the identity was made clear in the Leiber original and in both other film versions of Conjure Wife (there was a 1980 parody version titled Witches Brew). The supernatural aspect of Night of the Eagle is convincingly handled, including a knockout sequence with a wild eagle rampaging through the scientist's tranquil study. Adapted by Twilight Zone stalwarts Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont, the British-made Night of the Eagle was released in the US as Burn, Witch, Burn.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A neglected little gem of a horror/psychological thriller, Night of the Eagle is a real find, especially for fans of the genre. Clearly not a big budget affair, Eagle makes its limited budget an asset, creating chills and tension through hints and nuances rather than special effects. (Indeed, Eagle is probably least effective when it makes the mistake of actually showing the titular bird of prey.) It's a humdinger of a scare flick, one which only rarely makes a misstep, and none of those are fatal by any means. Granted, Janet Blair's performance is a bit on the shrill and hysterical side and doesn't develop as much as one might like, but it works in context. Also, William Alwyn's score could have taken a more indirect approach in a few instances, could have created a greater effect by underplaying. Otherwise, there's nothing to complain about -- certainly not the spot-on direction from Sidney Hayers, which is in control from frame one and which is practically a textbook case in creating suspense and tension. (The inadvertent erasure of the word "not" on the blackboard in a crucial scene is especially well handled.) And the beautiful screenplay from a trio of writers with significant experience in the genre is simply marvelous, an improvement on the Fritz Leiber book in that it leaves wide open the room for doubt as to whether the events are the result of witchcraft or something else. Finally, Peter Wyngarde is all one could ask for as the likeable but egocentric professor whose belief system is given a work-out. Eagle is definitely a film worth searching out.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2011
UPC:
0883904244561
Original Release:
1962
Source:
Mgm Mod
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
16,678

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Janet Blair Tansy Taylor
Peter Wyngarde Norman Taylor
Margaret Johnston Flora Carr
Anthony Nicholls Harvey Sawtelle
Colin Gordon Prof. Lindsay Carr
Kathleen Byron Evelyn Sawtelle
Reginald Beckwith Harold Gunnison
Jessica Dunning Hilda Gunnison
Norman Bird Doctor
Judith Stott Margaret Abbott
Bill Mitchell Fred Jennings

Technical Credits
Sidney Hayers Director
William Alwyn Score Composer
George Baxt Screenwriter
Charles Beaumont Screenwriter
Albert Fennell Producer
Richard Matheson Screenwriter
Jack Shampan Art Director
Ralph Sheldon Editor
Reginald Wyer Cinematographer

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