The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Critic Consensus: Featuring Robert Mitchum's formidable performance as child-hunting preacher, The Night of the Hunter is a disturbing look at good and evil.
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as Harry Powell
as Willa Harper
as Ben Harper
as Icey Spoon
as Walt Spoon
as Young Man in Town
as Hangman Bart
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Critic Reviews for The Night of the Hunter
One of the great movie horror tales, with one of the greatest of all movie villains.
Ultimately the source of its style and power is mysterious -- it is a film without precedents, and without any real equals
This start for Gregory as producer and Laughton as director is rich in promise but the completed product, bewitching at times, loses sustained drive via too many offbeat touches that have a misty effect.
All this has been crisply compacted into clear screen drama by the late James Agee and it is put forth under the direction of Mr. Laughton in stark, rigid visual terms.
Audience Reviews for The Night of the Hunter
Charles Laughton, the formidable British actor, after years in the trade, made one feature as a director and this is it, layered like a fat juicy onion. A criminal malcontent disguised as a preacher goes on the hunt for some stolen loot, killing all who stand in his way, and there's your plot, but along the way Laughton pauses to comment on many and various things, not the least of which is how a poetically told story resonates. Like maybe in the old silent films ... and there is where this simple tale takes joyous flight. Mitchum leads as the heavy, but there are many fine performances here. Shelley Winters, cast against type, is marvelous, and Lillian Gish ( in case you missed the homage to the silents) underlines the point. And, after all these years, still as vibrant a work.
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.
The very definition of a film noir. Robert Mitchum is spectacular as psychotic preacher and serial killer Harry Powell. Few films actually earn the title "edge of your seat" but this dark and incredibly well made film by first (and only) time director Charles Laughton will certainly have you gripping both seat handles in suspense.
The Night of the Hunter Quotes
|Willa Harper:||I've got to make myself clean for Harry|
|Willa Harper:||I've got to make myself clean for Harry.|
|Preacher Harry Powell:||Would you like me to tell you the little story of right hand, left hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E. It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E. You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man -- the right hand, friends, the hand of love.|
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