The Mountain Eagle
|The Mountain Eagle|
Original Movie Lobby card
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
John F. Hamilton
|Cinematography||Gaetano di Ventimiglia|
|Distributed by||Gainsborough Pictures (UK)
Artlee Independent Film (US)
|Running time||57 minutes|
The film is set in Kentucky. J. P. Pettigrew's (Bernhard Goetzke) wife died giving birth to his son Edward (John F. Hamilton) who was born a cripple. Pettigrew hates John ("Fear o' God") Fulton (Malcolm Keen) who also loved Pettigrew's wife. Pettigrew sees his now grown son making love to schoolteacher Beatrice (Nita Naldi) and seeks her out. During a discussion of her relationship to his son he attempts to take her in his arms but Beatrice rejects his advances. Pettigrew's son Edward sees this and flees the village.
Pettigrew is incensed at both Beatrice's rejection and the loss of his son. He attempts to have Beatrice arrested as a wanton harlot. John forestalls Pettigrew's plan by marrying Beatrice and taking her to his cabin where they fall in love. Beatrice becomes pregnant. Pettigrew seeks revenge by having John thrown in prison for murdering his (missing) son.
A year later John breaks out of prison and attempts to flee with Beatrice and their child but Beatrice falls ill and John must return to the village for a doctor. There he finds Edward has reappeared. His affairs are now cleared up and he is legally free from the charge of murder. Pettigrew is subsequently accidentally shot and no longer a threat to John and his family.
- Nita Naldi – Beatrice
- Malcolm Keen – John 'Fear o' God' Fulton
- John F. Hamilton – Edward Pettigrew
- Bernhard Goetzke – J.P. Pettigrew
- Ferdinand Martini – (undetermined role)
This is the only feature film directed by Hitchcock that is considered a lost film, which means that no prints of the film are known to exist. In 2012, a set of 24 still photographs were found in an archive of one of Hitchcock's close friends. Although these images gave clues to the film and its story, they were taken on the set rather than stills from the film itself.
Hitchcock himself considered it a mundane melodrama best forgotten, though fans naturally remain curious. In François Truffaut's book Hitchcock/Truffaut (ISBN 2-07-073574-5) Alfred Hitchcock himself described the film as "awful" and said he was "not sorry there are no known prints". Film historian J. Lary Kuhns, however, states in the book Hitchcock's Notebooks (ISBN 0-380-79945-6) by Dan Auiler that one contemporary writer called The Mountain Eagle far superior to The Lodger.
Although it was Hitchcock's second completed film, due to the runaway success of The Lodger in February 1927, it was released three months after it.
Several surviving stills are reproduced in François Truffaut's book. More stills have recently been found to exist, many of which are reproduced in Dan Auiler's book. A lobby card (illustrated above right) for the film was found at a flea market in Rowley, Massachusetts. It was found in a box of broken frames and was being used as backing for the picture of another dog. The dog's significance in the film remains a mystery. It may have been used to assist Edward in fleeing the village or to help film's hero, John Fulton, during his escape from prison or return to the village seeking a doctor.
Although the film was reportedly released in the United States as Fear o' God, the title on the surviving U.S. lobby card seems to contradict this. Film historian J. Larry Kuhns claims the film was never released under that title.
See also 
- Maev Kennedy (5 July 2010"BFI launches hunt for missing Hitchcock movie". guardian.co.uk.).
- Malvern, Jack (10 November 2012). "'Lost film' stills found". The Times (London). p. 13.
- Australian Hitchcock website
- Nicole Veash (25 April 1997"World hunt for lost Hitchcock thriller". The Independent. "it had two different titles: the British-German version, The Mountain Eagle, and the US version, Fear o' God").
- The Mountain Eagle at the Internet Movie Database
- The Mountain Eagle at AllRovi
- Kate Connolly "Austrian village holds out hope for lost Hitchcock film", The Guardian, 28 December 2012