Night Of The Eagle (1962 United Kingdom)

burnwitch_shot4lNight of the Eagle is a creepy and effective little thriller that benefits from a chilling atmosphere, some good scenes of suspense and some great acting and direction; but doesn’t quite make up for a lack of scope and ambition. The film is based on a novel by Fritz Leiber and is directed by Sidney Hayers. The film was obviously made on a low budget, and as such, is very small scale and mostly focuses on just the two characters, which means that the story lacks variation. But it is solid and knows where it is going throughout.

The plot focuses on the idea of witchcraft and the central character is Norman Taylor; an amiable college professor that has not long since been at the school he is teaching at. One day, he discovers several charms around his home and it later emerges that his wife has been practicing witchcraft for years. Despite her pleading that his rivals at the college are also practicing witchcraft against him, he forces his wife to get rid of her charms…and then the hysteria starts. One thing after another goes wrong for Norman after that.

high-def_digest_blu-ray_review_burn_witch_burn_peter_wyngarde_janet_blair_3He is even accused of “violating” one of his students. The holier-than-thou way this is expressed, with sombre facial expressions and the accused closing his eyes in horror etc struck me as funny and over the top. Faces back then were good at showing moral outrage though. The style of the film is one of its strongest elements and the black and white picture helps to create a very foreboding atmosphere that bodes very well with the supernatural themes of the plot. The film waits until the very end to deliver a spectacle (in the form of a menacing eagle) and until then relies mostly on the leads and the plot to deliver the thrills. It works well but its still very talky for modern viewers to endure.

The plot is still interesting and Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair are both excellent in the lead roles. They provide engaging characters for the audience to bond with. I definitely did enjoy the film overall but I have to say that it could have been better if only there were a bit more to it; what it does have is not quite enough to carry the whole film. (Perhaps an extra twenty thousand pounds in the budget might have given us another few set pieces)Regrettably, the story doesn’t even give much information on witchcraft itself. The charms and things that the witch’s use are never explained. Despite the plot, the film does feel very ‘real’ – the witches here are just normal woman rather than cackling broomstick riders with black cats, which is arguably more frightening. Overall, this film is a good one but not as classy or as deeply impacting as Night Of The Demon (1958).




  1. hocuspocus13 says:

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: