The Night of the Hunter Reviews

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½ July 20, 2014
gr8 cast mitchum brings the creepy
May 24, 2014
Even though children are the stars of this picture, it reminds people of all ages how many cold-hearted, malicious people are out there, many of which can appear harmless under the friendly disguise of a preacher or a doctor. The Night of the Hunter depicts terror in a way that no other film has been able to.
June 26, 2014
Robert Mitchum ditches out a daring performance as a child-hunting preacher in Charles Laughton's "Night of the hunter", the kind of which when you see it, you won't be able to forget neither Harry Powell nor his grumpy old voice echoing through those merchant navy basements - "Chil........rennn !!!!!!". He, with LOVE tattooed on one hand & HATE on the other, is the most riveting screen villain to have emerged out of Hollywood post WW II.
½ June 14, 2014
"The Night of The Hunter" is a remarkable and stylish suspense and film noir. This film has magnificent cast's performance especially Robert Mitchum's who plays psychotic child-hunting preacher.
April 3, 2012
A fantastic black and white film featuring the talents of Robert Mitchum and the brilliance of silent screen legend Lillian Gish. The Night of the Hunter provides fantastic ambiance and enough suspense that even those who are hesitant about older black and white films will be entertained.
July 22, 2012
This film is a classic. Robert Mitchum in his creepiest role ever. I loved it.
Super Reviewer
½ May 25, 2014
This tense and bleak film noir, aesthetically mesmerizing and borrowing heavily from German Expressionism, is all the more surprising when you know that Laughton hated children - and while Mitchum is great as the expressionist villain, he seems though too one-dimensional to be truly menacing.
½ July 1, 2013
Creepy. This is a 1955 movie that has the relentless thrills of a modern day psychotic movie but unlike many modern pièces of the genre the cinematography here is gorgeous, making a true work of art. Lots of night scènes make beautiful usage of black and white and light and shade. Mitchum is pure evil. And Lillian Gish and Shelley Winter provides strong ethereal présences in 2 very different manners.
½ December 21, 2013
Night of the Hunters is a disturbing modern fairy tale, told with gorgeous sets and lighting and a magnificently sinister performance by Robert Mitchum.
April 24, 2014
Greatest film ever made. Truly a tragedy that Laughton never directed another film due to the mixed response for this one. Utter idiots.
April 19, 2014
Absolutely stunning impressionistic film that combines real horror with fairytale surrealism and was never shown in Australia because it fell foul of blasphemy laws, of all things. The scene with robert Mitchum and Lilian Gish singing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" is unforgettable. The film seems to have influenced a lot of Coen bros. films and many others as well. A masterpiece.
½ April 13, 2014
I can't help but wonder if Charles Laughton and the other film artists who played major roles in the production of this film would be surprised at how this film still engages audiences. Perhaps it is the rigid low-fi production values or perhaps it it the iconic turns of Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish or perhaps it boils down to cinematic magic. This film seems to evolve instead of age. Every time I see it I come away with something new. The elements of "stark realism" and Germanic Expressionism have somehow turned into unintended Surrealism and American Gothic which boil up to make an experience that stays with the viewer. A 21st Century audience might find themselves laughing at times, but later this potent little film will creep back into their minds. "Iconic" is a word most of use far too often, but this film is truly "iconic" at every turn. Not to be missed.
March 23, 2014
First class performances from all round but Mitchum is particularly terrifying! A gripping and haunting film that will stay with you for days after watching; my only problem is the length and the script is terrible.
February 22, 2014
Fabulously dark, fairy tale like fable with a delicious performance from Robert Mitchum as a serial killing priest!
½ February 19, 2014
Without Mr. Mitchum's stellar, elastic talents, this may have been just another Hollywood thriller.
½ July 24, 2009
Robert Mitchum is so horrifying! And so is the whole atmosphere under shadows or darkness! Charles Laughton's direction is pretty awesome. Why did people at that time hate it? The psychotic Reverend Harry Powell is indeed an evil, but the hypocrisy of the Christianity is even more dangerous. Luckily we still have Lillian Gish-alike characters in our world.
January 7, 2014
Much has already been said about this film, but the fact is this only directing effort by Charles Laughton is a stunning and haunting work of art. Beautiful and terrifying at the same time, "The Night of the Hunter" is undoubtly one of the best movies ever made. And Robert Mitchum as a psycopath, it's too irresistible to ignore. A classic that has to be seen.
½ March 28, 2012
The Night of the Hunter is a film unlike most of it's time. The 50's was the era of conservatism and this film was one of the first to push the thriller genre to another level. It wasn't as highly regarded when it was released as it is now from my understanding. And it's somewhat easy is to understand because there is a great deal of realism to the film. Mitchum is perfect as the charismatic but evil preacher hell bent on recovering some money that a thief in prison has stashed away. The target is the thieves family. Unsure of just where the money is, the preacher marries the widow and tries to befriend the children. Only John is suspicious of The Preachers real motives and defies him at every turn. Things take a turn for the worse when the widow discovers that The Preacher is after the money. After that, it comes down to a battle of good vs evil in this sometimes dark, but sometimes oddly upbeat thriller.

And that's the thing. The direction is tight and precise, and the film looks great. For a good bit of the running time it's spooky and dark... Very much like Cape Fear, which is similar in someways. But other times it's oddly upbeat and more reflective of the innocence of the times. For many this wouldn't be a big deal, but I wish the movie would been more darker.

January 24, 2014
The Night of the Hunter. Made in 1955, this film seems way ahead of its time and also references the past in equal measure. At times, like one of Grimm's fairy tales, it plays with all the over-acting of its age ; the "studio" setting and Black+White shots are reminders of how film "used" to be ; the nasties are kept off camera and the child actors are sweet and adorable.
But there is plenty of psychological suspense, threat and human observation, that we may take for granted these days, but back in the 50's psychology was a "new" science and that was resisted by most as babble. There is real grit here- hints at dark times and dark minds. The story was based on a real-life serial killer who murdered widows and orphans in the Great Depression for their savings, so it anticipated the rush of interest in that genre by some 35 years. It develops the simple biblical warning of "a wolf in sheep's clothing" into something much more modern- sounding. Robert Mitchum is the Rogue Preacher, a split person who preys on the vulnerable and prays to his own personal God to justify and sanctify his evil desires and deeds, by dressing them up in religious bigotry. Good stuff and so relevant to every age, where a "Higher Authority" (be it a religion, political ideology, cult of individualism, social mantra, etc) is used by an individual to write a story for themselves that justifies hateful, mean, exploitative acts, all without tarnishing or worrying their comfortable little ego-self.
Ok Mitchum's preacher is an extreme example, but we can see it around us, and become it if we are not careful and open to the truth and facts.
Great stuff, I enjoyed it full-screen at Bristol Watershed. Lovely to see a good old film, a
commercial failure at the time, reappraised and re-released.
The film has been cited among critics as one of the best of the 1950s, and has been selected by the United States National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress. At the time of its original release, however, it was a critical and box-office failure, and CharlesLaughton never directed again.
So often, the man ahead of his time fails, but opens the door to so many others to succeed.
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