Baker's Hawk (1976)

G | 98 mins | Western, Adventure | 22 December 1976

Director:

Lyman D. Dayton

Producer:

Lyman D. Dayton

Cinematographer:

Bernie Abramson

Editor:

Parkie Singh

Production Designer:

Bill Kenney

Production Companies:

Doty-Dayton Production Company, Baker's Hawk, Ltd
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HISTORY

The end credits include the following acknowledgement: "The Producers wish to express their appreciation to the personnel at: Uinta National Forest, Wasatch National Forest and Brigham Young University for their cooperation in the filming of this motion picture."
       Baker's Hawk Ltd. owned a previous, 1976 copyright, according to the end credits.
       The 16 Aug 1976 Box reported that filming began 19 Jul 1976 in Provo, UT. In all, location shooting in the mountains of UT took four weeks before the production returned to Burbank, CA, said the 18 Aug 1976 HR.
       A replica 19th-century log cabin, built for $52,000, was burned down during production, according to the 10 Aug 1976 DV. When producer-director Lyman D. Dayton needed to include the cabin in later shots, he was able to use previously photographed stereo plates of the building in studio "process shots," which spared the cost of rebuilding the cabin.
       The most ambitious scene in Baker's Hawk was a Fourth of July picnic celebration that used "150 local extras . . . plus an assortment of horse trainers and animal experts," the 13 Sep 1976 Box reported. Filmed at South Fork Park, UT, the scene required three cameras, dollies and cranes. A team of horses, spooked by a nineteenth-century photographer's flash powder, knocked over many of the sets. The film's most trying scene took place at the 12,000-foot level of Mount Timpanagos, where the maiden flight of the hawk was filmed. Dayton brought in oxygen tanks, in case the high altitude created breathing problems.
       The $1.3 million budget was Doty-Dayton Productions' largest up to that time, according to the 12 Jan ... More Less

The end credits include the following acknowledgement: "The Producers wish to express their appreciation to the personnel at: Uinta National Forest, Wasatch National Forest and Brigham Young University for their cooperation in the filming of this motion picture."
       Baker's Hawk Ltd. owned a previous, 1976 copyright, according to the end credits.
       The 16 Aug 1976 Box reported that filming began 19 Jul 1976 in Provo, UT. In all, location shooting in the mountains of UT took four weeks before the production returned to Burbank, CA, said the 18 Aug 1976 HR.
       A replica 19th-century log cabin, built for $52,000, was burned down during production, according to the 10 Aug 1976 DV. When producer-director Lyman D. Dayton needed to include the cabin in later shots, he was able to use previously photographed stereo plates of the building in studio "process shots," which spared the cost of rebuilding the cabin.
       The most ambitious scene in Baker's Hawk was a Fourth of July picnic celebration that used "150 local extras . . . plus an assortment of horse trainers and animal experts," the 13 Sep 1976 Box reported. Filmed at South Fork Park, UT, the scene required three cameras, dollies and cranes. A team of horses, spooked by a nineteenth-century photographer's flash powder, knocked over many of the sets. The film's most trying scene took place at the 12,000-foot level of Mount Timpanagos, where the maiden flight of the hawk was filmed. Dayton brought in oxygen tanks, in case the high altitude created breathing problems.
       The $1.3 million budget was Doty-Dayton Productions' largest up to that time, according to the 12 Jan 1977 Var. Baker's Hawk was also the first film that Dayton directed.
       Doty-Dayton was a "four-wall" company that booked its films in rented theaters and kept all box-office receipts. Billing itself as a maker of "family films," Doty-Dayton used sophisticated marketing and advertising on a local level, working with Parent-Teachers Associations, the Boy Scouts of America, and other groups to promote its films, according to the 2 Sep 1976 LAT.
       The cover of the 20 Dec 1976 Box announced that Baker's Hawk was opening in 300 United States and Canadian theaters on 22 Dec 1976.
       Twenty years later, the U. S. Federal Trade Commission accused J. J. Dayton and Associates and Dayton Family Films of using Baker's Hawk and other Doty-Dayton films to misrepresent the company's film history to potential investors, according to the 3 Jul 1997 HR. The FTC also accused the companies of lying about Lyman Dayton's film awards, including the claim that Baker's Hawk won the Motion Pictures Association of America's award for best picture of 1977. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Aug 1976.
---
Box Office
13 Sep 1976.
---
Box Office
20 Dec 1976
cover.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1976.
---
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 1976
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1997
p. 5, 20
Los Angeles Times
2 Sep 1976
p. G-1.
Variety
12 Jan 1977
p. 44.
Variety
15 Feb 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Doty-Dayton Production in Association with Baker's Hawk, Ltd. Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stillman
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2nd grip
Dolly grip
Crane op
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Set des
Asst prop master
Lead man
Painter
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff
Mikeman
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod asst
Loc auditor
Ram rod
Craft service
Transportation capt
Post prod liaison
Media prod coord
Animal training and falconer
Animal training and falconer
Asst prod mgr
Transportation capt
Equip truck driver
Catering truck driver
Honeywagon driver
Liaison
Const truck driver
Welfare worker
Extra casting, Hollywood
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Baker's Hawk by Jack Bickham (Garden City, 1974).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 December 1976
Production Date:
19 July 1976--mid August 1976
Copyright Claimant:
Doty-Dayton Distribution Company
Copyright Date:
12 August 1980
Copyright Number:
PA87719
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

A hawk soars above mountains and fields. Dan Baker drives a horse-drawn wagon into the frontier town of Springer with his son, Billy, and another boy, Jeremy, in back. A funeral moves past them, and Dan tells the boys to remove their hats. When Dan goes into Paul Carson’s general store for provisions, Paul complains that Mr. Spencer would not have been murdered in a holdup if Sheriff Sweeney had been doing his job. The sheriff needs to arrest the drifters and squatters that the local mines have attracted to town. Outside, Billy and Jeremy listen to an older boy, Morrie, brag about how he threw rocks at the crazy old man who lives by himself up on the mountain with caged animals. Later, as Billy and Jeremy hike along a lake, Jeremy talks about local ranchers forming a vigilante group. Billy looks up at a familiar tree and notices that a hawk’s nest is nearly silent, except for one voice. He climbs up to find that all the birds have abandoned the nest except one. As night falls, Billy heads home and sees a dozen masked vigilantes on horseback carrying torches and rifles. They throw ropes over tree limbs and put the nooses around the necks of four men they have captured. The vigilante leader tells them there is “a new law in Springer” that will not tolerate squatters stealing food. After the men plead for their lives, the leader relents and tells them they can go free this time. The next day, when Billy returns to the lake, he sees the baby hawk on the ground, trying to fight off a young wolf. Billy chases off the ... +


A hawk soars above mountains and fields. Dan Baker drives a horse-drawn wagon into the frontier town of Springer with his son, Billy, and another boy, Jeremy, in back. A funeral moves past them, and Dan tells the boys to remove their hats. When Dan goes into Paul Carson’s general store for provisions, Paul complains that Mr. Spencer would not have been murdered in a holdup if Sheriff Sweeney had been doing his job. The sheriff needs to arrest the drifters and squatters that the local mines have attracted to town. Outside, Billy and Jeremy listen to an older boy, Morrie, brag about how he threw rocks at the crazy old man who lives by himself up on the mountain with caged animals. Later, as Billy and Jeremy hike along a lake, Jeremy talks about local ranchers forming a vigilante group. Billy looks up at a familiar tree and notices that a hawk’s nest is nearly silent, except for one voice. He climbs up to find that all the birds have abandoned the nest except one. As night falls, Billy heads home and sees a dozen masked vigilantes on horseback carrying torches and rifles. They throw ropes over tree limbs and put the nooses around the necks of four men they have captured. The vigilante leader tells them there is “a new law in Springer” that will not tolerate squatters stealing food. After the men plead for their lives, the leader relents and tells them they can go free this time. The next day, when Billy returns to the lake, he sees the baby hawk on the ground, trying to fight off a young wolf. Billy chases off the larger animal, takes the bird home, and hides it because his father does not allow him to take in wild animals. That night, Paul and several other vigilantes ask Dan to join their committee, but Dan refuses. After the men leave, Billy asks his father why he didn’t join them, and Dan says that the law protects everyone not only from bad men but also from righteous men who get out of hand. The next day, Billy is tending to the hawk in a box when Jeremy stops by. Jeremy says his father did not join the vigilantes either, mainly because Billy’s father refused. When Jeremy suggests that Billy take the hawk to the hermit, Billy walks his box up the mountain. As Billy calls into the cabin, a lasso drops around him. The old man comes out, accusing Billy of being one of the boys who threw rocks at him. When Billy insists that he came for help, the man apologizes. He tells Billy to call him McGraw or Mac but never “the crazy man.” He takes the hawk into a shed, puts a pouch over its head to keep it calm, and tells Billy its wounded wing will heal in a couple of weeks. In the meantime they can teach it to go after prey, but he warns Billy not to get too attached to the bird because once it begins to fly, it will probably not come back. In Springer, the other ranchers shun Dan because Paul has convinced them to join the vigilantes by withholding credit at his store, but Dan still refuses to join. When the preacher at Sunday services aims his sermon at Dan and says that God’s word will not stand against the vigilantes, Dan walks out with his wife and Billy. Later, at the sheriff’s office, Sweeney tells Dan that he had offered Paul and the others a chance to be deputized, but they turned it down in favor of being their own law. Dan agrees to be the town deputy. Outside, Billy runs into Mac, who has come to town for provisions. As Mac gives Billy a homemade whistle for the hawk, Layden, the local blacksmith, approaches with a hatchet and tells Mac that squatters are not welcome in town. Dan and Sweeney stop the confrontation; but at dinner, Dan gets angry at Billy for going to the old man and keeping the hawk. Billy’s mother, Jenny, who has already gone up to see Mac and sensed his basic goodness, comes to Billy’s defense and says that with all the madness around town, Mac and the hawk are the only things worth saving. When she goes outside, Dan follows and apologizes, then admits he is afraid the vigilantes might go after Mac. Later, Mac and Billy train the hawk to fly. Mac tells the boy that soon the bird will go off on its own. He suggests Billy bring his friend, Jeremy, on his next visit. That night, several men fire rifles at Mac’s cabin and shout a warning to him. The next day, when Billy returns with Jeremy, Mac introduces them to a fawn, whose leg has healed enough that it can return to its mother in the nearby woods. In Springer, everybody attends the Fourth of July picnic. As evening approaches, a large square dance begins. Sheriff Sweeney prepares to leave town on business and puts Dan in charge. Paul, Layton and other vigilantes approach Dan about going after several men who just robbed a store and were seen going into a boardinghouse. Dan says he will take care of it, but by the time he gets to the boardinghouse, several drunken vigilantes have gathered. After Dan goes inside, two of the suspected robbers run out the back door. With fireworks blasting above their heads, the vigilantes start shooting, killing both robbers and grazing Dan's head. Rushing to Dan’s aid, Paul realizes he has unleashed something worse than whatever crimes the robbers committed. He apologizes to Dan at the doctor’s office and insists on paying Dan’s bill. Later, Billy and Mac free the hawk. Billy blows his whistle, hoping it will return, but the hawk disappears. Mac reminds the boy that the bird is free to go its own way. Back at the cabin, the hawk returns and Billy, overjoyed, runs to get it some meat. Morrie and another boy show up, and Morrie thanks Mac for making the fawn’s mother so trustful of humans, because it came right up to him and let him shoot it. Billy jumps Morrie, and as Morrie gets the better of him, the hawk attacks and rips Morrie’s face. Running down the mountain, Morrie threatens revenge. That night, Sweeney tells Dan the vigilantes are going to burn the crazy man out of his cabin. With Paul, they set up guard posts on the trails. Billy goes to warn his friend. Mac tells Billy it is time for him to go higher up the mountain and that it will be Billy's job to free the animals. After Mac treks off with his burro, the vigilantes come in two groups. Dan stops one group and shames the men by making them take off their masks, but the other group gets past Paul and reaches the cabin. They torch the cabin and leave. When Dan arrives, he tells his son that he is proud of him and the way he has gone his “own way.” Meanwhile, farther up the mountain, Mac finds the fawn and gathers it in his arms. He hears the hawk calling out to him as it circles overhead. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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