• Eagle’s Wing (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: March 19th, 2019.
    Director: Anthony Harvey
    Cast: Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, Harvey Keitel, Stéphane Audran, Caroline Langrishe
    Year: 1979
    Purchase From Amazon

    Eagle’s Wing – Movie Review:

    Anthony Harvey, best known for directing The Lion In Winter (one of my mother’s favorite movies!), was the man behind 1979’s Eagle’s Wing, a western set New Mexico. Here we meet a trapper from the big city named Pike (Martin Sheen) who is out in the wilds plying his trade with his far more experienced friend Henry (Harvey Keitel). While they’re doing their thing, specifically trying to by some pelts, White Bull (Sam Waterston), the leader of a local tribe of Native Americans, defeats the rivals they are dealing with in battle but doesn’t score the horse named Eagle’s Wing that he had hoped to acquire.

    And who should happen to come across this prized horse? Pike, of course. Thrown into the mix beautiful a European widow (Stéphane Audran) and a young woman named Judith (Caroline Langrishe) who winds up with White Bull through circumstances she herself is not responsible for. With Pike left alone in the harsh environment, he sets his mind on revenge and winds up in a battle with White Bull, both hoping to obtain Eagle’s Wing and take out the other.

    The story here is fairly light and the pacing on the slower side of things, but the visuals are very, very strong and the acting is quite good across the board, making this movie a pretty enjoyable watch despite some flaws. When violence occurs in the film, which is infrequent, it is used effectively because the characters are built up well here. The setting works very nicely for the story being told, and the film’s production values are often quite impressive. The costuming is done well and looks to be quite accurate and both the cinematography from Billy Williams and the score from Marc Wilkinson do a great job of helping to bring the story to life.

    Martin Sheen, who had made Apocalypse Now a few years before (where he famously suffered a heart attack and, at one point, got wasted and tried to beat up Francis Ford Coppola), makes a good lead here. The part suits his acting style, letting him be mellow in much of the film but also to ramp up the intensity as required when the script calls for it. He and Harvey Keitel have good chemistry in the scenes that they share together and they make a good pair. Sam Waterston might not be anyone’s first pick to play an Indian warrior but even if he doesn’t exactly look the part, he handles the material well enough to make it work. The lovely Stéphane Audran, of Luis BuñuelThe Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie and a host of Claude Chabrol films, does good work here as well as does Caroline Langrishe.

    But again, it is a very slow film. Intentionally so, it would seem, but slow nevertheless. Western fans that know this going in and appreciate the visuals and the performances could wind up quite taken with the picture.

    Eagle’s Wing – Blu-ray Review:

    Scorpion Releasing brings Eagle’s Wing to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed in the film’s original 2.35.1 aspect ratio, with the feature using up just under 21GBs of space. The image is nice and clean but there’s definitely some mild to moderate digital noise reduction going on here, as skin looks a bit too smooth and there isn’t much in the way of noticeable grain where there probably should be. Otherwise, the image is good. Colors are nicely reproduced and while detail is on the soft side, it does surpass what DVD could provide even if it leaves room for improvement.

    The only audio option for the feature is an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. It’s properly balanced and plenty clear, no real problems here at all. The dialogue is easy to follow and the score and effects all sound just fine. Optional subtitles are offered up in English only.

    The main extra on the disc is a new interview with Caroline Langrishe that runs just a hair shy of the twenty-minute mark. In this featurette she speaks about landing the gig, working with Waterson on the love scene that they share together in the film, the importance of this film on her then fledgling career, what it was like on set and some of the quirks involved in working with Anthony Harvey and more.

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for Barbarosa, Love Letters and Conduct Unbecoming as well as menus and chapter selection options.

    Eagle’s Wing – The Final Word:

    Eagle’s Wing isn’t a particularly strong film as far as its narrative goes, but the cast is really good and it’s beautifully shot, enough so that it isn’t too hard to get lost in the visuals and forgive some of the more obvious missteps that the picture makes. Scorpion’s Blu-ray release looks okay but sounds quite good, and the interview with Langrishe is solid. Recommended to fans of oddball westerns.

    Click on the images below for full-sized Eagle’s Wing screen caps!