The Mark of The Hawk DVD1957 Sidney Poitier/Eartha Kit,
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This review is from: The Mark Of The Hawk [DVD] (DVD)
On the whole the uneven film and sound quality does not do justice to the actors of such stature as Eartha Kit, Sidney Poitier, Stanley Baker, and John McIntire. It works better on a 14 inch monitor, than a digital wide screen, and towards the end of the film there are analogue interference bars in the recording.
I have seen Eartha Kit live on stage in a London play and various TV performances, and very little of her charisma is apparent here. She plays the part of Rene the placating wife of a newley elected African councillor Obam, in an area ruled by a white government.
Sidney Poitier is likewise less charismatic and dramatic than he is in black and white films. He plays the part of Obam, an enlightened peacemaker, conflicting with his brother Amugu (Juano Hernandez) who is involved in an African rising to gain immediate independence by any means.
Stanley Baker in characteristic hard nosed role (Steve) leads the breakaway white group opposing the rebellion in their own way. John McIntire and Helen Norton play Bruce and Barbara Craig, American missionaries, transferred from China, caught in the middle together with Sandar Lai (Marne Maitland) part of an international delegation.
A Hawk is hung in the doorways of the Missionaries and the Governor as a tribal warning and drums echo through the trees, but this film is a cry for faith in the innate ability for all men to be brothers. A faith that the missionary is willing to and does - die for.
Although filmed at Ellstree Studios UK, and on location, in 1957, the film could be much older in spite of the action echoing recent troubles in areas such as Zimbabwe.
Eartha Kit sings a short lament, which should be for the film. But- bearing in mind that this was directed by Michael Audley from a story by producer Lloyd Young in the days before American Civil Rights, and the advent of Nelson Mandella in South Africa, it was probably a more significant statement than it appears to be today.