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The Night of the Hunter-DVD Review*** 01/05/2011

Posted by Films to consider in American, Based on a novel, Black & white, Classic film, Thriller.
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The Night of the Hunter (American) 1955

Adapted from Davis Grubb’s novel, based on the true story of Harry Powers
Directed by Charles Laughton (the only film he directed)
Starring Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Billy Chapin, and Sally Jane Bruce

A classic film in black and white with a deliciously terrifying story, renowned for its use of stark symbolism to signify the battle of good versus evil. Reverend Powell (Mitchum) is a fake preacher who travels across the countryside looking for widows to charm, marry, and kill for their money. His next victim is Willa Harper (Winters) and he dispatches her easily enough. Now, as for her children – John (Chapin) and Pearl (Bruce) – those two he has to keep around until he gets them to reveal where their hanged thief of a father hid that $10,000 he stole. The children escape and become the hunted.

Robert Mitchum plays one of the most frightening psychopath villains I’ve seen (for me, a modern counterpoint is Javier Bardem’s Cigurh in No Country for Old Men). I also found the singing of the little girl Pearl scary because it seemed too adult for her age. Later I found out that it was dubbed.

The film, which has been selected for the National Film Registry, is often discussed as influenced by German Expressionism, with its use of symbolism and atmosphere to show the dark side of human nature. The photography and the lighting definitely played integral roles in creating the suspense in this story.

My quote from the movie is from a hymn the “preacher” is fond of singing: “Leaning . . . leaning . . . leaning on the everlasting arms.” <Shiver.>

93 min. Not rated. Definitely too scary for little ones!

Check out these links about the novel and the film
For more info about the film

For more about the DVD:
The Night of the Hunter (Criterion Collection)

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Comments»

1. wittecisms - 01/06/2011

I can’t wait to see this one! Thanks, Dottie 😉

2. (Re) découvrez La Nuit du Chasseur « Les écrans de Claire - 03/21/2011

[…] The Night of the Hunter-DVD Review*** (filmstoconsider.wordpress.com) […]


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