Thursday, July 24, 2014

BURN WITCH BURN (1962) movie review

Burn, Witch, Burn (aka Night of the Eagle) (1962) d. Sidney Hayers (UK)

Terrific screen version of Fritz Lieber’s novel Conjure Wife (first seen as the 1944 Lon Chaney vehicle Weird Woman and then remade in 1980 as the little-seen Witches’ Brew), adapted with verve by the dream team of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. Peter Wyngarde stars as a professor who seems to lead a charmed life, only to find out that he does . . . literally. Seems his beautiful bride (Janet Blair) does a little dabbling in the magical arts, and when practical hubby finds out and demands she dispense with her tools of hoodoo, his luck changes and not for the good.

Hayers does an excellent job building tension throughout, although probably could have trimmed a few of the loaded-with-portent shots of the stone eagle outside the university. After years of fans bellyaching, the film finally made its DVD debut in 2011 via MGM’s Limited Edition Collection. Great stuff.

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