Mountain Eagle, The (Fear O’ God): Hitchcock's Second Film

“The Mountain Eagle” (aka “Fear O' God” in the U.S.) was Hitchcock's second feature, as well as his second collaboration with Hollywood star Nita Naldi.

The story is set in Kentucky, with Germany standing in for the Kentucky hills. The film deals with what will become the most recurrent theme in Hitchcock’s work: the innocent individual, falsely accused, forcing him or her to see the truth.

Naldi plays a schoolteacher who is caught in the middle of a village feud. Wrongly accused of immorality, the woman is driven into the woods, where she's rescued by mysterious mountain man named Fearogod (Malcolm Keen), thus the title.

Screenwriter Elliot Stannard shows no knowledge of how Kentuckian hillbillies look or behave, but Hitchcock, despite acute health problems at the time, breathed life into the incoherent story with some visual touches.

The movie suffered from many shortcomings, and even Hitchcock admitted that it was a “very bad” picture.  But despite its flaws, “Fear o' God” was a moderate hit.

The film's success allowed Hitchcock to direct a story of his own choosing that enabled him to display his distinctive sensibility, “The Lodger.”  Hitchcock would have liked to believe that this was his very first movie.

Credits

Running time: 68 Minutes.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Released: May 25, 1926.

Cast

Bernhard Goetzke as Pettigrew

John Hamilton as Edward Pettigrew

Malcolm Keen as Fear O'God

Nita Naldi as Beatrice the governess

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