October 7, 1926

The Mountain Eagle

W. and F. angelo-German. Featuring Nita Naldi, Malcolm Keen and
Bernard Goetzke. 7,503 feet. Released May 25, 1927.

Story--Pettigrew, J.P. of a small mountain village, hates John Fulton, a lonely dweller in the mountains, known as Fearogod to the habitants, as much as he loves his son Edward, who was born a cripple as his mother, whom Fulton had also loved, died. Pettigrew sees his son apparently making love to Beatrice Talbot, the village school mistress, and, going to reprove her, he tries to take her in his arms. The son sees this, and leaves the village. Pettigrew determines to have Beatrice thrown out, but Fearogod intervenes, and takes her to his cabin. Pettigrew here sees the chance to arrest Fearogod for abduction and Beatrice as a wanton, but Fearogod forestalls him by coming and demanding that Pettigrew marry them. The pair then fall in love, but Pettigrew has Fearogod arrested and thrown into prison on a charge of murdering his son, who has not returned. Fearogod breaks out of prison after a year, and attempts to fly with his wife and child, but later falls sick, and Fearogod returns to the village for a doctor. There he finds Edward has returned, and his affairs cleared up. Pettigrew is accidentally shot. Rather wandering and not too convincing story, which is redeemed by good, if somewhat slow, direction and excellent acting.

Acting--Bernard Goetzke is very fine indeed as Pettigrew, and one can almost feel the train of his thoughts by his expressions. Malcolm Keen, too, gives a fine performance as John Fulton, while Nita Naldi is quite good, by not very sympathetic, as Beatrice. John Hamilton is fair in the small part of the crippled kid.

Production--Alfred Hitchcock's direction is, as usual, thoroughly imaginative, but in this case he has rather over-stressed the slow tempo, and has had a story which is too full of unconvincing twists. For Instance, there appears to be no reason why Beatrice could not have communicated earlier with Edward, who had written a letter before her husband's arrest. The continuity is jerky, whick is due rather to the lack of story motive than to the director's handling. Characterisation,, on the other hand, is very good, and many individual scenes are very cleverly handled to the extent of the dramatic force

Settings and Photography--Settings suffer from being unplaced geographically, and the English-named characters appear incongrous with their surroundings. The mountain scenery is very good, and the small village interiors and exteriors are also sound. Baron Ventimiglia's photography is excellent.

Box-office Angle--Fair character drama, with the main appeal in acting.

From Hitchcock's Notebooks by Dan Auiler