Night Of The Eagle

Blu-Ray Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Read Keith Hennessey Brown's film review of Night Of The Eagle
Night Of The Eagle

Night Of The Eagle (1962), repackaged as Burn, Witch, Burn for the American market, was the second big screen adaptation of Fritz Leiber's debut novel Conjure Wife. It is reissued on Blu-ray by Studio Canal.

The film has been cleaned up. This is the high quality work that is typical of Studio Canal. It can be seen in the rendition of the rugged Cornish coastline and tumultuous seas that feature in part of the film.

Copy picture

There are a number of special features on the disc. The audio commentary by the late Richard Matheson is unfortunately sparse. If you watch the film with it turned on you are in essence watching a silent film. Some of what he says is interesting, but these insights are few and far between. Anna Bogutskaya does a 25 minute segment putting some aspects of the film into a female context.

One thing the Blu-ray could do with is a piece that puts Night Of The Eagle into context with its source material Conjure Wife. The 1943 novel is thought by many to be quite important, influencing, directly and culturally, many later works. It has been adapted multiple times. For instance, the allegory between witchcraft and alcoholism in Leiber's post-Prohibition tale deserves examination. Inebriation has a long association with witchcraft, from witches' brew* to Tam O'Shanter.

Peter Wyngarde, who played the male lead, Norman Taylor, is animated and engaging in an old interview. There's the usual collection of trailers and stills from the film. One gem is the alternate opening for the US version, Burn, Witch, Burn. In an act of high camp, the narrator cast a protective spell over the audience lest they be cursed by the dark forces within the motion picture.

The Blu-ray's menu system is clear, easily navigable and bug free.

*Witches' Brew is also the title of a Conjure Wife adaptation.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2024
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Night Of The Eagle packshot
A college psychology lecturer discovers that his wife is a practising witch.
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Read more Night Of The Eagle disc reviews:

Keith Hennessey Brown: DVD

Product Code: B0D3655DV7

Region: 0

Extras: Burn Witch, Burn: Anna Bogutskaya on Night Of The Eagle; archive Interview with Peter Wyngarde; US theatrical trailer; UK theatrical trailer; US alternate opening credits; audio commentary with screenwriter Richard Matheson; behind the scenes stills gallery. Brand new 4K restoration.

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