The Night of the Hunter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Night of the Hunter Reviews

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August 19, 2007
A gorgeously photographed clunker. Its "classic" status baffles me. Some good sequences, though.
January 3, 2015
The cinematography is masterful especially for its time, but the film lacks the suspense I was looking for. It's overacted by Robert Mitchum, although he will creep you out. I think it's a little overrated, but it is a decent film to see once. (First and only viewing - 1/4/2015)
November 5, 2007
El actor Charles Laughton tan solo dirigió una película en su vida y esa cinta, llamada "The Night Of The Hunter" es, definitivamente, una de las mejores en la historia del cine. Un cuento hermoso onírico, simbólico y a la vez aterrador con un Robert Mitchum amenazante y lleno de odio y una Lilian Gish dispuesta a defender la inocencia y el amor a toda costa. Una fotografía de Stanley Cortez fuera de serie enmarca este cuento gótico norteamericano.
½ December 28, 2015
Interesante aunque no me resulta fascinante.
December 25, 2015
It's a hard world for little things.

A jailed religious fanatic is told the tale from his prison mate of $10,000 he robbed and hid that only his children know where it remains. The inmate dies and the fanatic is released from prison. He hunts down the widow of the inmate and marries her. The religious fanatic will stop at nothing to convince the children to tell him where the money is.

"I'm a strong tree with branches for many birds."

Charles Loughton, director of The Man on the Eiffel Tower, delivers The Night of the Hunter. The storyline for this picture is very compelling with numerous thrilling aspects. The acting is mesmerizing and the script is so clever and intense. I adored how the story came together and Robert Mitchum was brilliant as the main character. The cast also includes Shelley Winter, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, Lillian Gish, James Gleason, and Don Beddoe.

"I'm the one your mother believes."

I came across this some time ago on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and had to DVR it. I loved how intense and consistent Mitchum was throughout the movie. There were some chances for some awkward moments, but Mitchum's character twisted and turned like a fish. I strongly recommend seeing this underrated classic.

"You poor, disgusting, little wretch."

Grade: A
December 6, 2015
Another movie whose classic reputation is strongly justified.

Robert Mitchum is famously menacing in this movie. Mitchum had a special brand of menacing, with his eyes half-open, as if his sociopathy ran so deep, he could barely stay awake while he murdered you. His Reverend Powell is chillingly seamless in shifting from murderous threats to sonorous righteousness. Mitchum holds back his rage, always playing the long game, always in control of his emotions, always focused on his objective. Truly one of the great villains in movie history.

But Laughton's expressionistic style puts a bit of a Brechtian gloss on the immediate menace in the story. The beauty of the exquisite frame compositions belie the terrifying stakes of the story it's telling. It gives the viewer a chance to catch his breath, something few good thrillers let the viewer do (or if they do, it's to set up a boogeyman with a chainsaw around the next corner). The pacing is deliberate and patient, but never dragging. There is a reason few thrillers pace themselves in this way, and such pacing can easily backfire on a director. But happily, Laughton had enough faith in his vision to maintain its pacing, and it results in a unique cinematic experience.

In the end, all it took to defeat Reverend Powell is for someone to see him for what he is, and Lillian Gish's Rachel Cooper was such a person. One suspects that a real life Powell would have no problem overpowering an old woman half his size, and wouldn't depend on a little switchblade when looking into the barrel of a rifle. But this movie is part thriller, part allegory. The characters aren't realistic, they represent archetypes. I generally prefer movies about breathing humans rather than allegorical types, but this movie is so visually gorgeous and emotionally engrossing, it earns the latitude of figurative representation.

In one of her charming little homilies, Rachel Cooper sweetly asserts that "Children abide." It's a comforting notion that hungry little children alone in the world manage to survive, that the Lord looks after children and drunks. But it's not true. Children starve all the time. That is a cold hard fact. Despite her assertions, Rachel knows that, which is why she unhesitatingly takes in two more children in need. She is the angel of this story. A quick glance around the world reveals that angels are in desperately short supply these days.
November 13, 2015
An incredibly well shot and acted piece of cinema.
November 11, 2015
There's not much tension to be found here. Basically, it's about this little boy and girl who escape from a conniving dad to a home where a group of kids are safe, peaceful, and pretty happy at last. Yes, there are some sad moments with the kids, but there's not much conflict to be found here. I was expecting a movie where the kids would be chase by this hunter all the time but it wasn't.

So, kind of boring. And the little girl was a bit annoying and selfish. Even I didn't care what happened to the little boy. They both were pretty annoying characters trying to escape from a dad who's killed his own wife and now they're alone, trying to live a happy life. Performance of cute Pearl was adequate.
November 10, 2015
Completely overrrated IMO. However, I can still appreciate it for it's influence, amazing cinematography and Robert Mitchum's performance but to me it is one of those 'classic films' that are to much trapped in the timeperiod that it was made and has just not aged well.

So in my mind not a classic, but an important film nonetheless in terms of influence.
October 19, 2015
100/A+. It's a Masterpiece of Cinema !
October 9, 2015
The Night of the Hunter is a gorgeously rendered and intelligently assembled piece of American cinema and a powerful look at the corruptible nature of religion. It's a shame Laughton never directed anything after this; his eye for expressionistic and slightly surreal visuals and his effective use of sentimentality combine two qualities that aren't often paired, making something unique, romantic, and unforgettable in the process. This brand of filmmaking would've been a welcome addition to the American film industry and deserved to be explored further.
November 1, 2012
What really makes this movie the classic it is, it's due to Robert Mitchum's astonish and brutal performance that keeps the film moving forward.
August 22, 2008
Robert Mitchum is quite scary in this film. Laughton's direction is rather skillful.
August 6, 2015
Robert Mitchum gives one of his greatest performances as Reverend Harry Powell, a self appointed preacher, who travels to a small town in search of his executed cellmate's stash of cash, under the impression that his two young children know it's whereabouts.
But the film's melodramatic plot plays second fiddle to some beautifully shot images. Director Charles Laughton & cinematographer Stanley Cortez incorporates a luminosity that recalls shots commonly found in great films from the silent era.
The novel and film draw on the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The film's lyric and expressionistic style with its leaning on the silent era sets it apart from other Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s, and it has influenced later directors such as David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and the Coen brothers.
In 1992, The Night of the Hunter was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma selected The Night of the Hunter in 2008 as the second-best film of all time, only behind Citizen Kane.
This independently produced film was sadly promoted the wrong way by distributers United Artists, the film was a commercial flop which put off actor Charles Laughton from directing again.
½ July 24, 2015
With simply outstanding cinematography that is one of the best in film history, beautiful scenery, groundbreaking approach with dark tone and story, excellent tone ranging from thrilling and dangerous to heartwarming and touching, terrific characters, absolutely amazing directorial work from Charles Laughton and powerhouse performances from excellent Robert Mitchum and wonderful Lillian Gish who absolutely shines in one of her later roles, The Night of the Hunter has some too over-the-top scenes, too simplistic story and the first half is inferior to the second, but it is also a beautiful homage to silent movies, a visual masterpiece and one of the finest thrillers of the time as well as one of the best directorial debuts and one of the best-looking films of all time.
½ July 9, 2015
Great movie with great acting, even though it was unrealistic. It seemed like the hunter knew exactly where the kids were the entire movie. But, it was very suspenseful and filled with clever acting, especially from the hunter.
½ May 25, 2015
Charles Laughton employs some badass imagery in his only directorial effort "The Night Of The Hunter," a fitting love letter to German Expressionism and Aesop's fables on good and evil.
½ May 20, 2015
Excellent stuff. Mitchum steals all the scene. Very compatible mix of the Southern Gothic and German Expressionism sensibilities. Certain images seem directly taken from the original Nosferatu, as well as scenes from Metropolis. Highly recommended.
March 22, 2015
Night of the Hunter is a dark and haunting look at good and evil and one of the greatest horror tales ever told on the silver screen with Robert Mitchum's dark and disturbing performance as child-hunting preacher Harry Powell and with German expressionism inspired sets and Charles Loughtons steady direction Night of the Hunter is a unique and haunting cinematic experience.
April 8, 2015
Absolutely fucking brilliant classic movie. Reminds me of a Coen Brothers movie. Strange, funny, original and dark film and brilliantly shot. Mitchum is class as usual.
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