The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Classic. When we first adding movies to the blog, the aim was to discover and share classic flicks. What can you say about The Night of the Hunter that hasn’t been said before? Rediscovered in the early 00s, the film developed into a life of its own. Charles Laughton’s directorial debut is near perfection - and he brought with him James Agee and Stanley Kortez (The Magnificent Ambersons). The film. What can you say about it? Robert Mitchum portrayal of Harry Powell is as sinister as you possibly can be, and the reason? The character had humor, and wasn’t a strict B-movie grade villain. The charisma and charm of Mitchum brought an eerie calm throughout his portrayal. Previous to production, Laughton and Agee immersed themselves into the world of silent film and German expressionism and the results are truly profound, I can honestly state that I’ve never seen such a beautiful and other world-like scene as when the two children escape down the river. The movie’s message and tone is almost parable to biblical expressions of good and evil. Fascinatingly, Criterion has added the ‘rushes’ of Laughton as a second bonus disc and you can see how incredibly involved he was in the direction of the film (and refuting claims of Mitchum that he hated directing children). Sadly, the film bombed at the box office and Laughton dropped out of the proposed project of Mailer’s Naked and the Dead. This is truly a film classic.
Sadly, the film bombed at the box office and Laughton dropped out of the proposed project of Mailer’s Naked and the Dead. You have to wonder if Mitchum took the lessons learned on ‘the Night of the Hunter (said to be his favorite film) when he starred in Cape Fear, as his second portrayal of a serial killer almost gets more chilling and perfected. This is truly a film classic.