The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter

DVD - 2000
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A psychotic self-styled preacher marries and murders a young widow for her money. He then pursues her children to get his hands on the money, only to meet his match in the form of a saintly farm woman.

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r
Rexi_1
May 20, 2019

One of the best films ever made.

j
Jer40
May 20, 2019

The imperfections and amazing aspects of this film balance out nicely to make for one of my favorite films. A true classic that is not without its blemishes, but it is so much fun and easy to get immersed in the world that is created.

a
anonymouswe
Apr 18, 2019

This potentially stellar film suffers from schizophrenia and a poor performance by its leading man. The film bounces back and forth between realist and impressionist styles, without seeming awareness of why this is happening. If there was a clear use of the impressionist style (stark landscapes, heavily shadowed lighting and so forth) with a clear purpose or role in the film, the entire film would stand as a monumental and visionary contribution to the art form. Instead, the use of impressionist style in the film stands as a arty and intriguing visual effect which distracts from the film. The other glaring weakness in the film is Robert Mitchum's performance. In one of the special features, Mitchum's performance is described as a deliberate collaboration with the Director to have Mitchum give a Brechtian performance where his is "acting within the quotes." Unfortunately, this decision turns the menacing Powell into a caricature to be laughed at, not a menace to be feared. Terrance Rafferty disagrees, saying the performance between buffoonish and menacing is "startling" (in a good way) and treats "evil with the indignity it deserves." For its time, this is clearly a landmark film that opened to door incredible, broken and brooding lead characters in dark and brooding films that followed. But to a modern audience, this film will feel dated, hollow and very lacking. Some of this can likely be blamed on the script (nearly 300 pages originally, trimmed to the expected 100 or so) - as the children flee, and Powell magically keeps showing up with no understanding of how he kept finding them and so forth. Too many plot holes to discuss in detail. In the end, this is a landmark film that does deserve the Criterion Collection treatment. If you are a modern viewer who wants to be entertained, and not participate in a lesson on film history, you might want to steer clear of this.

w
whatcomhillwalker
Oct 01, 2018

A bizarre little black and white movie with interesting actors and a different plot for the era it was made.

l
lindy919
Apr 18, 2018

This monumentally horrendous movie is set in depression era Ohio/Kentucky - a time when children were property (notice how many times Johnny is called "the boy", even by his own mother); religious idiocy ran rampant; and women were meant to take care of the home and shut up. I really hate to think that such a time really existed in America.
Combine all this with it being filmed in 1955 - a time when kids weren't expected to be able to act; Keystone cops couldn't catch a criminal unless they found him over a body with a bloody mallet in their hand; and women were meant to take care of the home and shut up.
I hated every scene of this movie including but not limited to: parents believing a creepy, obviously shady, vagabond preacher over their own children (this happens twice, to two different generations, within the same family); breaking into song for no reason; Robert Mitchum getting shot and dancing around like Daffy Duck just landed on a cactus; a 14-year old "falling in love" with a 50-year old man; and a biblical reference every 15 seconds.
An updated, good version of this needs to be made, sans all the nonsense.

n
nordicleather
Feb 25, 2018

The Night of the Hunter was under appreciated by the general public & most critics when it was first released in 1955 as it was ahead of its time. The Night of the Hunter is classic film Noir. Be sure to see disc two of the set which contains the directing prompts of Charles Laughton the famous actor who directed this movie. Disc one of the set I got was in poor condition. Hopefully the library has more copies.

Charles Laughton's homage to German Expressionist film, featuring great performances by Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, plus a James Agee screenplay. Worth checking out if you have never seen it.

o
OMack
Aug 12, 2017

The suspense in this movie is legendary! This is R. Mitchum in his prime...his Creepy Prime.

The plot makes for a great movie and the fact that the main characters are kids, makes this more realistic/terrifying. Favorite scene is the kids on the water and Mitchum's horrifying wails in the night. This is a DEFINITE CLASSIC and I would recommend this to anyone who's a Mitchum fan or wants to see a suspenseful movie. This would be a good one for a date (if both parties have a reasonable attention span).

P.S - If for some-odd reason you haven't seen (the original) Cape Fear -- Gotta check it out after seeing this movie (make sure you get the one with Robert Mitchum)

g
grammaE
Dec 05, 2015

Excellent thriller. Intense for me. Loved it. Probably a PG-13 rating, clean, no bad language, but scary. Loved the scene set-ups. Someone should do a remake!

h
hellspawn7
Aug 08, 2015

♫ Leeeaning on the everlaaaasting arrrms. ♫

First time I've watched Night of the Hunter.

This film is what you called messed up. For a 1955 movie... I mean audiences must have reacted like this was Seven back in the day.

Charles Laughton. I only know him from his excellent performance in Witness for the Prosecution. Well he made this movie, too. And this film only. DAMN that's a shame! Because if he turned out another 10 movies as good as this, he'd be hailed as one of the great directors. Come to think of it, even with this movie he IS hailed as a great filmmaker.

This movie is just one of those classics. It's a great thriller, great performances. Always nice when acting in an older movie doesn't come off as dated. It's surprisingly funny and it's something else to look at.

And you have one of THE great movie villains.

The only bad thing about this movie is that it's the only movie Charles Laughton ever directed. First time at bat.... and he knocks it out of the park. Even Kubrick and Scorsese had to make a few movies to iron the kinks out.

But The Night of The Hunter is pretty much perfect.

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aaa5756 Apr 15, 2013

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr

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