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Wings of the Hawk (1953) Online HD

Wings of the Hawk
Wings of the Hawk (1953)
  • Director:
    Budd Boetticher
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    James E. Moser,Gerald Drayson Adams
  • Cast:
    Van Heflin,Julie Adams,Abbe Lane
  • Time:
    1h 21min
  • Year:
Gringo miner Gallager is caught up in the Mexican revolution of 1910-11 when corrupt administrator Ruiz appropriates his mine. Gallager saves the life of guerilla leader Raquel, then finds there's a price on his head; he becomes romantically involved with her in the course of a series of rescues and ambushes, leading up to Orozco's march on Ciudad Juarez.
Complete credited cast:
Van Heflin Van Heflin - Irish Gallager
Julie Adams Julie Adams - Raquel Noriega (as Julia Adams)
Abbe Lane Abbe Lane - Elena Noriega
George Dolenz George Dolenz - Col. Paco Ruiz
Noah Beery Jr. Noah Beery Jr. - Pascual Orozco (as Noah Beery)
Rodolfo Acosta Rodolfo Acosta - Arturo Torres
Antonio Moreno Antonio Moreno - Father Perez
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez - Tomas
Paul Fierro Paul Fierro - Carlos
Mario Siletti Mario Siletti - Marco
Rico Alaniz Rico Alaniz - Capt. Gomez

Wings of the Hawk (1953)

The title seems to be completely irrelevant. It is never spoken as a line of dialogue, nor is there any character with even the nickname "The Hawk."

Irish (Van Heflin) has a mine in Mexico but when he strikes gold, the Federales commanded by Ruiz take it away from him, and while he is pursued by them his partner gets killed. He is rescued by the revolutionaries commanded by Raquel Noriega (Julie Adams). From then on Irish ends up helping them and falls in love with Raquel. Ruiz is married to Raquel's sister Elena (Abbe Lane). Julie Adams as a Mexican guerrilla fighter is outstanding, she even outshines a bombshell like Abbe Lane. Boetticher knows how to get the most out of the actors, and is a master when it comes to action scenes. Wings of the Hawk is entertaining from beginning to end, not a dull moment in this one.
Wings Of The Hawk is set down in revolutionary Mexico during the teen decade of the last century and casts Van Heflin as an expatriate American mine owner who has his mine appropriated by Porfirio Diaz's local provincial administrator George Dolenz. That doesn't turn Heflin into a revolutionary sympathizer just yet. But when he saves Julie Adams from a gunshot wound with a little doctoring he's convinced of the rightness of their cause. It also helps that Julie fills those riding pants out real nice.

Romantically the problem for Heflin is Rudolfo Acosta who already has a claim on Adams. He's part of the revolutionary band, but has grown over cautious of late.

Abbe Lane plays Adams's sister and Dolenz's mistress. More should have been made of that situation than it was. It might very well have been left on Universal's cutting room floor. Of course we should have also seen more of Abbe Lane on general principles.

Budd Boetticher directed Wings Of The Hawk and it certainly isn't up to the standard of the films he did with Randolph Scott. It's a routine action/adventure film, nothing more. Especially with Viva Zapata coming out the year before, a really great film about the same period.
There's no doubt that the director, Budd Boetticher, was a committed professional who loved Mexico and its culture. He was so determined to do a biography of a particular bullfighter that he ran out of money, lived in a shack, and ate from street vendors when he could afford it. It's one thing to do that when you're twenty, but Boetticher was in his forties.

This early effort is a fairly routine Western except that instead of a corrupt cattle boss the heavy is a colonel in the Army of Porfirio Diaz. Van Heflin is a miner whose property is confiscated by the villainous and greedy George Dolenz. Dolenz not only has his men occupy the gold mine but kills Heflin's partner and is about to kill Heflin before Heflin is saved by the insurrectos.

Guess who leads the rebels against the cruel Dolenz. Well, Rodolfo Acosta is the titular head but he's a coward and is deposed. Now it's Julie Adams' turn to "llevar los pantalones". And what pantalones they are. They seem painted on Julie Adams, which was I thought a nice artistic touch, although I prefer Julie Adams and her angular beauty to be on display in a one-piece white bathing suit under water in the Black Lagoon while being tracked underwater by a Gill Man with no good intentions. Make up has darkened her and tried to turn her into a Mexican but she still sounds like an Executive Secretary in Omaha. But who cares?

Van Heflin can be a splendid actor in the right part but this isn't it. The character, like the story, is generic. It could be Audie Murphy or Randolph Scott. All the usual conventions are followed. One clip on the jaw and a man is knocked out for as long as the script requires. If there's a fist fight, the heavy will notice at some point that he's on the losing end of the affair and pick up a bottle or a piece of furniture to attack the hero.

It's not a flop. It's just routine. Boetticher was to do some far more imaginative work with scripts written by Burt Kennedy and starring Randolph Scott. Boetticher's more accomplished direction and Kennedy's folk poetry dialog was a marriage made, well, maybe not in heaven but in cloud cuckoo land.
So finds out gold prospector Van Heflin when he encounters a group of rebels in the Mexican Revolution and joins forces with them to aide them in their cause. The leader happens to be a woman (the obviously American Julie Adams in dark makeup) who is as tough, and possibly even tougher, then many of the men in the gang. She is able to deal with a bullet wound without calling out in pain, but her sudden friendship with Heflin leads to trouble between Heflin and another one of the rebels (Rudolfo Acosta). More issues occur when Acosta ends up with Adams' gentler sister (Abbe Lane), holding her hostage. With the determination of freedom fighters from All Nations, Adams and her gang struggle to win their victory as romance strikes between Adams and Heflin.

Of course, there is going to be some quibbling against Adams for playing a Mexican woman, but she was simply just a young Universal contract player doing what she was assigned to do. she does indeed look quite stunning in the tight pants that she wears and combines both femininity and toughness in her characterization. Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, the Mexican-American version of Sabu, provides an enjoyable if somewhat stereotypical view of the eager to please young Hispanic who hasn't quite matured enough to grasp the seriousness of the mission that he is in even though his heart believes in real justice, and the dangers that entails, but he is so likeable a personality that it is difficult to find fault with the types of roles he was cast as a struggling actor.

Unfortunately, I was only able to find a black and white print of this, so it will take two views of this to truly appreciate the beauty of how it was filmed once I do find it in the more desirable Technicolor to see the lushness of the outdoor scenes. Under the direction of Budd Boetticher, it is completely entertaining and moves at the speed of a running burro. I didn't really learn anything new about the Mexican Revolution from this but the characters are each given personalities that make their cause worth rooting for, and even the bad guys are painted in grey colors, not just simple black and white villainy.