The Night of the Hunter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Night of the Hunter Reviews

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April 6, 2015
This is easily one of my top 25 films of all time.
I love everything about it.
The film begins with Harry Powell, one of the greatest villains of all time. He's a serial killer and a religious fanatic at the same time, and that rocks! Then, the film just gets better and better. The horror tale becomes creepier and darker. And it works flawlessly in black and white. I couldn't imagine watching The Night of the Hunter in Technicolor.
I love how the pace and the suspense grow to the final act where they hit the maximum. The same thing happens in Rear Window, which is my all time favorite film.
Charles Laughton sure knows how to use a great score and soundtrack to scare the shit out of the audience. Just listen to it!
The "Leaning" scene made me drop tears. It was so powerful and deep at the same time. It may be one of the greatest moments in the American cinema.
I also found the ending to be very satisfying. Perhaps it is the best ending that Harry Powell could ever get.
So I find this movie to be a masterpiece. The very definition of a film noir. It's a shame Charles Laughton didn't direct anything else.
February 20, 2015
Some film's age more then others. This is one of those. It's redeeming aspects and practically the only one, is Mitcum's performance in an already well written character. It's critic-acclaim gave me an itch, a pre-meditated idea of ' I'm gonna watch a great film!' In 1950's this must of been fucking brilliant, but now. Corny and has those movie line's like the actors were reading a cue-card off camera. I have enjoyed classic's that have the same style (3:10 to Yuma, To Kill a Mockingbird) but this one bored me to my phone. Deserves a remake so some one can bring life back to a great movie villain from a boring film.
½ January 20, 2015
Escenas unicas en la historia del cine. Charles Laughton no solo era un gran actor!
½ January 4, 2015
The sole behind-the-camera gig of Charles Laughton is a psycho-thriller shrouded in spectral majesty, religious undertones and a straight-up evil performance from Robert Mitchum. The movie that inspired countless knuckle tattoos, Night Of The Hunter stars Robert Mitchum as Reverend Powell, one of the worst preachers of all time. The self-proclaimed man of God marries and murders a series of lonely women, justifying it as God's good work, but when the children of his latest conquest run away with the money Powell had planned to steal, a terrifying and scenic chase begins. So poor was the reception of this film that Laughton never directed again. Shame, because Night of the Hunter is an eerie and deeply scripted monochromatic masterpiece. Who knows what else could have been?
½ December 15, 2014
På trods af ujævn fortællestil og en happy ending, der nærmer sig kvalmegrænsen, er dette stadig en af verdens bedste film. Se den!
½ December 1, 2014
Great story with amazing cinematography and atmosphere.
November 30, 2014
A stunning film that might as well be the most pleasant nightmare I've ever had.
½ November 27, 2014
Mitchum is effectively creepy and the overall tone has a moody/dark feel to it. Being from 1955 it does have its limits and formulas to follow, but that darkness is certainly beyond the normal for the time. It does get a bit overboard at times and the last 10 minutes are a bit scattered.
November 14, 2014
Astounding on so many different levels I cannot begin to comprehend how an audience or critic could be immune to its haunting beauty!
October 19, 2012
One of the scariest movies I've ever seen, and Harry Powell might have wormed his way towards the top of my favorite villains list. Wow.
January 14, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

After seeing this film twice, I never expected my opinion of the film to improve. I think it is because I decided to watch this at a time in my life where I genuinely felt like watching it, rather than forcing it upon myself, also time has allowed me to process my previous experience and during times of reflection allowed me to reconsider my previous feelings. Some of the issues I had with the film are still found during this third watch, and I doubt they would actually go away in my subsequent viewings. The improvements that I have found in this viewing are not leaps but rather minor hurdles that shifted my feelings towards this film from above average to good.

The Night of the Hunter's details the ideas of innocence, corruption, good vs evil, and of course, religion. The film's narrative is simple in its construction, which I felt was a flaw in previous viewings, but seeing it this time allowed me to understand the intentions of James Agee's script. It aims to appeal both its adult and young audiences about the importance of children and how the effect that the adults around impact their life; moments that emphasises these are found during between children-adult interactions, even the most minor ones, demonstrate a sense of depth in these children's souls, whether it may be a change in a child's facial expression or the physical distance they show towards the antagonistic adult figures.

Charles Laughton, the film's director, handles the film's themes of innocence and corruption in such a way that lets it become universally accessible. He wants this film to be a source of inspiration for its audience about the importance of morality, resonating to the inner souls of its audience. This is most likely the reason why the film feels so stripped down in its storytelling and features basic characters with simple motives; when we reach in the hearts and spirits of its characters, what we find is nothing complex and different from what is already projected in their surfaces. I didn't mind the Laughton and Agee's approach in having these characters act as symbolic figures rather than genuine manifestations of humanity, as it allowed the film to be more than just a throwaway thriller or drama. That being said, Laughton and Agee did not completely forget to entertain its audiences, as it handles its antagonistic preacher with such darkness and terror that one cannot help but feel frightened, and the moments of thrill and action were delivered with a heightened sense of danger for the children, both at a physical and spiritual level.

The film starts itself off strong, but once the film hits near the end of its second half, after getting off the river, and then it starts to lose that disturbing and dire effect that was found in the first hour. The film at least redeems itself during the final 10 minutes of the film that wraps its thematic concerns and story effectively. The film was also paced quite swiftly during the former half of the film, breezing by its 40-50 minutes without a hiccup. This did leave certain scenes to feel a little rushed in its attempt to set the setting and its characters, but since this was my third viewing of this, it was not much of an issue.

The photography in this film is simply lovely to watch, with excellent use of shadows and light, that reflects well with its themes. I think if Laughton handled this film like a late coloured Hitchcock film, then this film would have been ineffective in drawing its audiences in to the film's dark heart. The film's musical score was for the most part great, but there were a couple of moments that felt forced in emphasising a certain aspect of the film.

The acting in this film was both hot and cold. I was impressed with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winter's performance, but was ultimately disappointed with the child actors. It has been said that Laughton hated child actors, and refused to give them proper direction in regards to handling a scene, therefore that task was left for Mitchum to handle. I think this did affect the film's rhythm, contrasting heavily professional and amateurish performances. The children simply lacked the emotional impact that its adult actors were able to bring with their roles.

The Night of the Hunter is a strong film by Charles Laughton, and it is a shame that this was the only film he directed as the potential was certainly present when watching this. I recommend for everyone to at least give this a watch once.
May 19, 2014
A reluctant rating that can get lower than what it'd received. The film's storyline probably inspired Lemony Snicket's book series as the film does circulate the original series of unfortunate events, powered by good techniques and performances, especially Mitchum performing better than another role with disturbance in "Cape Fear" (released 7 years later) as he was practicing for that type of role early. (B+)
August 2, 2014
Robert Mitchum's intimidating performance as a murderous preacher epitomizes the film's unsettling portrait of evil.
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.
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