The Night of the Hunter1955
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Critic Consensus: Featuring Robert Mitchum's formidable performance as a 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 Hangman Bart
as Young Man in Town
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Critic Reviews for The Night of the Hunter
It is doubtful that you will ever hear the old hymn, 'Learning,' again without recalling the gaunt, flapping figure of Preacher Powell as he lams it out in the dark night -- to the terror of the listening youngsters
It's overwrought and lurid; the story is grotesque and so are the characters. It's unlike anything else before and since. And that is why this strident psychological horror stands up now as one of the great pieces of American genre cinema.
One of the great movie horror tales, with one of the greatest of all movie villains.
It is both Christian parable and folk tale, with its hymns, homilies, and orphans carried to safety by nature's benevolence; but it is also grounded in the social concerns of its makers.
A stunning piece of work, with the shadows of German expressionism and a compositional sense comparable to the work of George Stevens: it trumps its own noir cynicism with a thrilling and plausible idealism in the final moments.
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.
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