Shadow of the Hawk (1976)

Article 3923 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-1-2012
Posting Date: 5-11-2012
Directed by George McCowan and Daryl Duke
Featuring Jan-Michael Vincent, Marilyn Hassett, Chief Dan George
Country: Canada / USA
What it is: Supernatural fantasy

An old Indian medicine man comes to the city to find his grandson with the intent of getting him to be his successor… and to help fight an evil sorceress who means to destroy him.

John Stanley’s guide describes this movie as a supernatural fantasy rather than a horror movie, and I do rather agree with his assessment; despite the horror elements on display, the atmosphere is more like a fantasy. The movie is deliberately paced, and most of the running time is dedicated to the long trip from the city back to the reservation, an ordeal intended to put to rest the skepticism of the grandson and to test his mettle. The special effects don’t always live up to the ambitions of the movie, and the ending was a little disappointing, but overall I quite liked it, and I think Chief Dan George steals the movie, at least partially because he lends authority and simple conviction to the mysticism and magic. There are some nice character moments; I like the scene where the medicine man encounters his grandson’s future love in the hospital, where he simply looks up at here from his gurney, and she begins to wipe his brow.


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