The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter

DVD - 2000
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A psychotic self-styled preacher marries and murders a young widow for her money. He then pursues her children to get his hands on the money, only to meet his match in the form of a saintly farm woman.
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment Inc., c2000
ISBN: 9780792843368
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (93 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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Charles Laughton's homage to German Expressionist film, featuring great performances by Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, plus a James Agee screenplay. Worth checking out if you have never seen it.

Aug 12, 2017

The suspense in this movie is legendary! This is R. Mitchum in his prime...his Creepy Prime.

The plot makes for a great movie and the fact that the main characters are kids, makes this more realistic/terrifying. Favorite scene is the kids on the water and Mitchum's horrifying wails in the night. This is a DEFINITE CLASSIC and I would recommend this to anyone who's a Mitchum fan or wants to see a suspenseful movie. This would be a good one for a date (if both parties have a reasonable attention span).

P.S - If for some-odd reason you haven't seen (the original) Cape Fear -- Gotta check it out after seeing this movie (make sure you get the one with Robert Mitchum)

Dec 05, 2015

Excellent thriller. Intense for me. Loved it. Probably a PG-13 rating, clean, no bad language, but scary. Loved the scene set-ups. Someone should do a remake!

Aug 08, 2015

♫ Leeeaning on the everlaaaasting arrrms. ♫

First time I've watched Night of the Hunter.

This film is what you called messed up. For a 1955 movie... I mean audiences must have reacted like this was Seven back in the day.

Charles Laughton. I only know him from his excellent performance in Witness for the Prosecution. Well he made this movie, too. And this film only. DAMN that's a shame! Because if he turned out another 10 movies as good as this, he'd be hailed as one of the great directors. Come to think of it, even with this movie he IS hailed as a great filmmaker.

This movie is just one of those classics. It's a great thriller, great performances. Always nice when acting in an older movie doesn't come off as dated. It's surprisingly funny and it's something else to look at.

And you have one of THE great movie villains.

The only bad thing about this movie is that it's the only movie Charles Laughton ever directed. First time at bat.... and he knocks it out of the park. Even Kubrick and Scorsese had to make a few movies to iron the kinks out.

But The Night of The Hunter is pretty much perfect.

Feb 27, 2015

This is a film you're supposed to see if you're a "serious" film buff. Having just watched it, I understand why. It's got some stunning photography, great art direction, and uses shadow and light in a dazzling manner. Simply put, it looks great. But that's where its charms ended for me. I understand that it's a fable, and therefore some archetype characters are to be expected, but this is a pretty big slice of ham and cheese! It's entertaining, for sure, but not an effective "thriller." It's too sappy, and the performances are too hammy for it to pull off any sense of dread. Worth a viewing for the beautiful photography and direction anyway.

Dec 05, 2014

In the depression-era south a fanatically religious psychopath disguised as a wandering minister drifts from town to town preying on lonely widows and slitting the throats of any women who arouse his deep-seated sexual rage. While serving a thirty-day sentence for theft however, the “Reverend” Harry Powell shares a cell with a death row inmate who, unbeknownst to his wife, has hidden a small fortune in stolen cash somewhere on the family farm. Obsessed with finding the money, Powell immediately sets his sights on the newly widowed Willa Harper and her two children, John and Pearl. Lost without her husband and easily manipulated, the somewhat simpleminded Willa quickly falls under Powell’s spell eventually joining him in a loveless marriage and taking up his fire & brimstone rhetoric. Meanwhile, convinced that the children know the whereabouts of their father’s loot, Powell sets his eye on young John. At first trying to cajole the boy into revealing his secret, the false preacher eventually shows his true nature when the suspicious lad steadfastly refuses to cooperate. What follows is a harrowing mix of suspense and backwoods horror as a terrified brother and sister attempt to flee from their murderously insane stepfather… From a desperate trek down a moonlit river to a sinister silhouette splayed across a bedroom wall, rarely has the use of light and shadow played such a key element in the telling of a story. In fact the dichotomy of light and darkness forms the very basis of director Charles Laughton’s gripping fable which examines the endless struggle between innocence and evil (appropriately enough, Powell has the words “hate” and “love” tattooed on the fingers of opposing hands). Filmed in striking shades of B&W against fanciful backdrops of starry skies, fairy tale houses, and forest familiars, Night of the Hunter has the aura of a dark fantasy told through the eyes of a child in which adults, their motives unfathomable, can’t always be trusted to do what is right. Although some may be put off by the film’s stagey sets and theatrical presentation (a cold-blooded murder is filmed as a chilling pas de deux), one must remember that Laughton has reimagined the story of Hansel and Gretel complete with deep dark woods and a precarious path to grandmother’s house. This is a grim bedtime story expertly directed and featuring a stellar cast which pits a baleful Robert Mitchum as the bible-spouting madman against an angelic Lilian Gish as the children’s last refuge. Brilliant!

Feb 03, 2014

Well worth watching, but I suggest you take an academic viewpoint, rather than "hey, let's watch a movie!". The art direction is outstanding, in presenting a very flat, black & white background against which the actors depict archetypes - it's a very dark fable. Billy Chapin, as the young boy, gives an outstanding performance, and Mitchum, of course, is quite chilling. Lillian Gish is terrific.

teekay12 Feb 02, 2014

Robert Mitchum "grew up" in the movies playing the bad guy in Hopalong Cassidy and Johnny Mack Brown cowboy flicks. The sinister personna he developed plays perfectly in the "Hunter". Charles Laughton created this movie as a visual fantasy and the "excesses" in the staging and acting were purposeful. The IMDB includes "Hunter" on its top 250 list and Roger Ebert gave it four stars - good enough for me!

Jan 19, 2014

Wonderful film.

Jan 19, 2014

Whenever cast as a cowboy-dude, Robert Mitchum would always be a Western fan's hero._____ And, whenever cast as a no-nonsense tough-guy, Robert Mitchum would always be the epitome of pure "Film Noir" cool._____ But, when cast here as a psychotic, serial-killing "man-of-the-cloth" (fanatically spewing out religious mumbo-jumbo), Robert Mitchum would amount to being nothing but a truly embarrassing and laughable example of some of the most serious miscasting that I've ever seen._____ Had "The Night Of The Hunter" (TNOTH) been billed as a rip-roarin' Comedy then, yes, I could've easily understood Mitchum's hammy, bug-eyed, scenery-chewing performance as "Preacher" Harry Powell. But, if I was actually expected to take his demented, over-the-top histrionics with the dead-seriousness of awe, admiration and reverence - Well, that I could not (and would not) do._____ I defy anyone (in their right mind) to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing when Mitchum's character (like a slapstick parody of Frankenstein) chases the 2 young brats out of the basement with his arms stretched up over his head._____ This potentially promising "Psychological Thriller" suffered significantly at the hands of its one-time director, Charles Laughton, who had obviously bitten off more than he could chew. With TNOTH, Laughton had an annoying tendency to dwell too intensely on things which were decidedly frivolous, that either didn't help move the story along or clearly worked against any efforts made to sustain its frequently faltering suspense._____ Set in the 1930s (with its story taking place along the Ohio River in West Virginia), TNOTH was filmed in glossy b&w and, thankfully, only had a running time of 93 minutes.

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aaa5756 Apr 15, 2013

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr


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