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The Night of the Hunter

(DVD - 2010 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Night of the Hunter


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A self-styled preacher marries and murders the widow of an executed convict with whom he once shared a cell. He then terrorizes her two young children to force them to tell him the whereabouts of the $10,000 he knows their father hid before his imprisonment. "The Night of the Hunter -- incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed -- is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic -- also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee -- is cinema's most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil." -- Publisher.
Statement of Responsibility: UCLA Film & Television Archive ; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; Paul Gregory Productions ; screen play by James Agee ; produced by Paul Gregory ; directed by Charles Laughton ; United Artists
Title: The night of the hunter
[videorecording]
Publisher: [New York, NY] :, Criterion Collection,, ©2010
Edition: Two-DVD special ed. widescreen
Country of Producing Entity: United States
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (93 min.) :,sd., b&w ;,4 3/4 in. +,1 booklet (28 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.)
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Report This Jul 28, 2013
  • hapiatlast rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Robert Mitchum as a creepy, murdering, "preacher". Great film directed by the great Charles Laughton. A must see for all Mitchum fans and those interested in black and white films.

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A sublime noir/thriller. This being the only film actor Charles Laughton directed, he was crushed when it effectively tanked at the box office due to poor marketing and (astonishing) critical panning. What a shame. He nailed down the ghostly, sinister imagery, the eeriness. Engaging characters - every one. Mitchum has creepy and slimy oozing out of his pores, (the Bible thumping preacher bit adds to his distastefulness). Varmint shootin', orphan scrubbin', butt kickin' legendary actress Lillian Gish is awesome, the feisty little sweetie. "A strong tree with branches for many birds" (and scared little children). I genuinely felt bad for son John and adorable little Pearl! A young Shelley Winters and Peter Graves... Tremendous flick, can't rate it high enough. The companion outtake dvd is a treasure, as well. A brilliant piece of preservation and inspiration by Mr. Robert Gitt and Ms. Nancy Mysel. Loved it, loved it, loved it. FIVE STARS.

Report This Aug 18, 2012
  • kurasawa1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Mitchum is a very bad man in this - he does it well - some of the other characters are also nicely drawn - especially the work of Shelley Winters as the confused, marginalized, overworked woman

Report This Jun 11, 2012
  • Megmac12 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Leaning ;)

Charles Laughton's only film as director is a masterpiece of post-World War II cinema. Matching the searing intensity of its lead performances is the magnificent black-and-white cinematography of Stanley Cortez ("The Magnificent Ambersons"). Despite necessary censorship compromises, it remains a terrifying psychological drama. The "singing children" contribute to the unsettling atmosphere of fear, fanaticism, ignorance and violence and Laughton masterfully balances the dark tension with visually poetic images.

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Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rachel Cooper: "...My soul is humbled when I see the way little ones accept their lot. Lord save little children... The wind blows, and the rains are cold, yet they abide..."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rachel Cooper: "Get your state troopers out here. I got something trapped in my barn."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rachel Cooper: "I'm a strong tree with branches for many birds. I'm good for something in this world and I know it too."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Willa Harper (next to new husband Rev. Harry Powell, at the revival meeting): "You have all sinned! (crowd roars) Which one of you can say, as I can say, that you drove a good man to murder! (crowd) Because I kept a-houndin' him, for perfume, and clothes, and face paint! (crowd) And, he slewed two human beings! (crowd) And he come to me and he said TAKE THIS MONEY, AND BUY YOURSELF THE CLOTHES! AND THE PAINT! (crowd) But 'brothren', 'brothren', oh, that's where the 'lawd' stepped in! That's where the 'lawd' stepped in! He said, the lawd, to that man, you take that money, and you throw it in the river!" Rev. Harry Powell: "In the river!" Crowd: "IN THE RIVER!!"

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mrs. Icey Spoon (at the picnic, talking about sex in marriage): "A woman's a fool to marry for that. That's somethin' for a man. The Good Lord never meant for a decent woman to want that! Not really want it... It's all just a fake and a pipe dream..."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mrs. Icey Spoon (at the picnic, talking about the conjugal bed): "When you've been married to a man for forty years you know all that don't amount to a hill of beans. I've been married to my Walt that long and I swear in all that time I just lie there thinkin' about my canning."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

(Uncle) Birdie Steptoe ('sweetening' his coffee): "Man of my age needs a little snort in the morning, heat the boilers."

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rachel Cooper (reading the Bible to children's heads, floating in outer space): "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. (cut to children finding a corpse) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits, ye shall know them." (cut to Rev. Harry Powell, tooling down the road in a stolen car)

Report This Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rev. Harry Powell (singing): "Leaning... leaning... safe and secure from all alarms... Leaning... leaning... leaning on the everlasting arms..."

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