Night of the Eagle (1962)

Starring: Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair and Margaret Johnston
Optimum Classic
RRP: 9.99
Certificate: 12
Available 25 June 2007

Norman Taylor is a very popular and successful professor, but the envy of his colleagues. At the point of being awarded promotion he discovers a number of black magic wards around his house and office, and his wife Tansy confesses she has been practising witchcraft to assist his professional advancement. When he makes her destroy the magical aids she protests that she can not be held responsible for what happens as a result. From this point onward everything starts to go seriously wrong in his life, beginning with his being accused of sexually assaulting one of his students, and culminating in him believing he is losing his mind. When Tansy tries to undo the 'bad luck' by offering herself to save her husband, the race is on for Norman to find her before she is lost. But he soon discovers his real enemy is not who he thinks it is...

Released in 1962 in monochrome, Night of the Eagle is based on the Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife.

In truth, this film has tons more class than Optimum's simultaneous release Circus of Horror. Without the use of any special effects (aside from perhaps the eagle made to look enlarged) it manages to build tension whilst moving at an almost breakneck pace for a movie of this era.

There are twists and turns aplenty, and it is directed so that you think you see more than you actually do.

Peter Wyngarde turns in a stirling performance as Professor Taylor, but Janet Blair's often over-the-top portrayal of Tansy does inspire a cringe or too.

By today's standards this film's not going to set the world alight, but it is a minor British classic and therefore worthy of a single viewing.

Ty Power

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