Night of the Eagle (1962)

UK,
87m, 7827 feet/2386 metres
35mm film, black and white, 1.85:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Sidney Hayers. Production began on 25 September 1961.

Plot Summary

Norman Taylor is a psychology professor whose wife Tansy has become involved with . Another faculty wife, Flora, driven by jealousy, has taken up with a satanic sect and is directing dark forces against Taylor, most memorably in a sequence involving the statue of an eagle brought to life. But will Taylor's natural skepticism blind him to the truth and endanger his life?

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Sidney Hayers
© Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Limited MCMLXII [1962]
Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Limited [logo]. Independent Artists [logo]. A Julian Wintle, Leslie Parkyn production. Made by Independent Artists
Produced by: Albert Fennell
Screenplay by: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and George Baxt
Based on a story [Conjure Wife] by: Fritz Leiber
Director of Photography: Reginald Wyer
Film Editor: Ralph Sheldon
Music Composed by: William Alwyn
Sound Recordist: Eric Bayman, Len Shilton
Dress Designer: Sophie Devine
Make Up: Basil Newall
Hair Stylist: Iris Tilley
Art Director: Jack Shampan

Cast
Peter Wyngarde (Professor Norman Taylor)
Janet Blair (Tansy Taylor)
Margaret Johnston (Professor Flora Carr)
Anthony Nicholls (Harvey Sawtelle)
Colin Gordon (Professor Lindsay Carr)
Kathleen Byron (Evelyn Sawtelle)
Reginald Beckwith (Harold Gunnison)
Jessica Dunning (Hilda Gunnison)
Norman Bird (doctor)
Judith Stott (Margaret Abbott)
Bill Mitchell (Bill Jennings)
George Roubicek [laundry man] *
Frank Singuineau [truck driver] *
Gary Woolf [driver's mate] *
Paul Frees [narrator – US version only] *

Alternative Titles

Burn, Witch, Burn
Conjure Wife
– shooting title

See also
Weird Woman (1944)
' Brew (1980)

Press

1962
Kine Weekly no.2841 (15 March 1962) p.16
The mumbo-jumbo is tolerably well acted and the settings are suitably varied but flabby direction prevents it from making sense, let alone curdling the blood. Few will know what it's all about and less will care. […] The picture is on solid ground when it claims that a person's mind can play ugly tricks on him or her, but takes a wild flight into fantasy by suggesting that it's possible to delude professional psychiatrists with . Peter Wynegarde [sic] definitely has his moments as the worried and confused Norman but Janet Blair and Margaret Johnston have all their work cut out as Tansy and Flora. The rest are adequate. The film contradicts itself much of the time, and the eagle's phantom flight and the penultimate fire sequences are not sufficiently realistic fully to compensate to the hazy pseudo preliminaries. Briefly, “Night of the Eagle” is shot down by inept treatment – from a review by Josh Billings

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.29 no.341 (June 1962) p.83
Fritz Leiber, one of the most ingenious of science-fiction authors is credited with the basis of this occult thriller; the fact that three screenwriters have worked on its expansion possibly explains why the film is not all one had hoped it might be. The producers have had little success making the subject-matter believable, for all that much of the action is underplayed, and it is impossible to accept the situation of two presumably intelligent women succumbing to the lure of black magic. But director Sidney Hayer's stage management is fresh and exciting for the most part, skilful in its reliance on suggestion, naggingly effective as a study of psychic attack. Peter Wyngarde succeeds in conveying the young professor's confusion and doubt, while Margaret Johnston enjoys herself along broader lines as the wild-eyed, madly frustrated Flora. – from an uncredited review

2004
Sight & Sound vol.14 no.2 (February 2004) p.67
[A] persuasive account of cold rationality undone by superstition. Hayers heightens the tension with an arsenal of expressionist flourishes. – from a DVD review (Home movies: reviews) by ML [Matthew Leyland]

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.27 no.10 (June 1996) pp.52, 61 – illustrated article (Nostalgia by David Del Valle)
  • The Daily Cinema no.8587 (19 March 1962) p.4 – review
  • Empire no.216 (June 2007) p.142 – illustrated DVD review (At Home/Video Dungeon: Night of the Eagle by Kim Newman)
  • Fangoria no.161 (April 1997) pp.12-17 – illustrated interview with Sidney Hayers (Dread and circuses by Tom Weaver)
  • Kine Weekly no.2841 (15 March 1962) p.16 – review (by Josh Billings)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.29 no.341 (June 1962) p.p82-83 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.7 (July 2000) pp.61-62 – video review (Video reviews: retail by Geoffrey Macnab)
  • Sight & Sound vol.14 no.2 (February 2004) p.67 – DVD review (Home movies: reviews by ML [Matthew Leyland])
  • Supernatural no.1 (January 1969) p.30 – note (Round the cinema's zoo of horrors with Supernaturalist)
  • Variety 1 November 1961 p.21 – credits (Hollywood production pulse)

Books

  • American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography by Rob Craig pp.82-83
  • American International Pictures: A Filmography by Robert L. Ottoson pp.77, 79 – credits, synopsis, review
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.144-145
  • Classic Horror Films and the Literature That Inspired Them by Ron Backer pp.259-262
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.5, 113-14, 114, 303
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.350
  • Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures by Mark Thomas McGee p.304
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.51
  • Hoffman's Guide to Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.261 – credits, review
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.155 – illustrated credits, review
  • Kinematograph and Television Year Book 1963 p.121 – credits (Films trade shown 1961-1962)
  • by Walt Lee p.51 – credits
  • Richard Matheson on Screen: A History of the Filmed Works by Matthew R. Bradley pp.94-101
  • Rock ‘n' Roll Monsters: The American International Story by Bruce G. Hallenbeck pp.218-219; 290
  • Shock Xpress no.2 p.96 – review
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn p.88
  • Top 100 Horror Movies by Gary Gerani pp.70-71 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.166-167
  • X-Cert: The British Independent Horror Film: 1951-1970 by John Hamilton pp.101-107; 226-227

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2022 p.22 – illustrated listing