Reviewed by Alwyn Murray
Starring: Jack Warner, John McCallum, Nadia Gray
Directed By: Terence Young
Running Time: 79 minutes
Release Date: 24 February 2014
Norwegian scientist, Dr. Nils Ahlen (John McCallum) who has invented a machine that can convert sound waves into electrical energy has this stolen by his wife Helga (Mary Laura Wood) and assistant Sven Nystrom (Anthony Dawson) and this results in a chase across the frozen wastes of Lapland. The scientist teams up with Police Inspector Peterson (Jack Warner) and they join a party who is transporting reindeer the same route. They face many dangers on the way: blizzards, a pack of hungry wolves and avalanches. A lot of the wolves are killed by some eagles that Laplanders use for killing instead of guns to reduce the risk of an avalanche which would result in their village being destroyed. The scientist catches up with his wife and assistant and escape and once the assistant stars shooting a gun, this results in an avalanche and both are killed but the village is safe. The scientist also finds a new love at the end.
The cast includes Jack Warner (Dixon of Dock Green, The Quatermass Xperiment), John McCallum, Anthony Dawson and Nadia Gray. Horror legend Christopher Lee (Dracula) has a small part as a policeman.
This is a very unconventional black and white thriller filmed in Norway; it started out typically but it wasn’t long before the antagonists were all but forgotten as the protagonists, their Lapp guides and a female school inspector with two children to look after struggled in the frozen wilderness. In many ways it felt more like a western than a thriller as animals provided the only viable transport and they had no modern conveniences to help them. The camera-work in these scenes brilliantly captured the frigid beauty of the place as well as its dangers; the scene where much of the herd stampedes into a snow-filled ravine in particular captured the danger of the area. The eagles that give the film its title were equally impressive as they swoop from their owners’ poles onto a pack of wolves. By the end when they finally catch up with Helga and Nystrom it is almost anti-climactic as they’d almost been forgotten about! The cast did a decent job; it may seem a little wooden to modern eyes but was the expected delivery for the time.
All in all, for a movie of its age, the intriguing narrative style delivers plenty of emotions – high drama, peril, humour, scientific speculation, and times when you may just have to watch between knotted fingers. For a film to still make an impact with an audience on that many levels, it’s definitely one for more than just the buffs!
Available to buy from Amazon here.