The Night of the Hunter details
|Starring:||Robert Mitchum, Don Beddoe, Evelyn Varden, Peter Graves, James Gleason, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Billy Chapin|
|Genres:||Drama, Thriller - General|
|Collections:||100 Top Thrillers, Directorial Debuts|
The Night of the Hunter
|Run time:||1 hour 29 minutes|
|Rental release:||19 Mar 2001|
|Dubbed:||German, French, Spanish, Italian|
|Subtitles:||Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish|
|Hearing impaired subtitles:||English, German|
Most helpful review
A dark psychological thrillerBy Rotoscoper (5 reviews) from Bowdon , 15 May 2004
[Highly rated reviewer]The Night of the Hunter has at its heart a dark role for Robert Mitchum as the calculating, ruthless and manipulative preacher.
However as a thriller it explores unexpected territory. Principally there is the issue of masculinity, and the lack of a hero-figure - men are absent, abdicate responsibility, or abuse those around them. The women on the other hand frequently step into the breach as heroines, bold protectors of their charges.
Since the adult-to-adult relationships are largely dysfunctional, the objects of their attention are the children. They represent the future but are constantly put in jeopardy by the weaknesses of their elders. And although seemingly vulnerable, the young constantly show themselves as resourceful and robust, dependent yet able to survive despite the most extreme terror.
At the intersection of these themes is the character of the son John. He seeks to find a replacement for the father who has both let him down, and provided financially for him. He can trust no-one, yet loves his mother even as she puts the whole family in jeopardy. Despite his longing, he has to become a man to protect his family from outside threats, embodied in the aquiline form of the Preacher.
It is in these rich themes, realised through stark photography and a sharp economical script that we are asked to face our fears for the future, and the shortcomings of our own responsibilities to those around us.
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Beautiful but chillingBy RichMix (7 reviews) , 12 Jun 2013
[Highly rated reviewer]Not what I expected, far more interesting. Beautifully shot with a dreamlike quality. Quite chilling in parts. Completely unique, a one off.
Leaning towards GoodnessBy droog (45 reviews) from Lingfield,Surrey , 18 Feb 2013
[Highly rated reviewer]Charles Laughton's only film as a director indicated that he had promise as a doyen of the cinema in that the natural world is used as a metaphor to explore themes of Good and Evil,Goodness and Cruelty and retribution in the Bible belt in the thirties depression era. Harry Powell is a fake preacher with psychopathic tendencies. He killed without compunction to achieve his mercenary ends,ensuring,of course,that his victims were easy prey. His fingers have the words 'love' and 'hate' tattooed on them ready to do his party piece to the gullible wherein he visually describes the battle between those two emotions. Love always triumphs. From his condemned cellmate,he learns of a stash of loot and, upon his release, he propels his preacher persona into his late cellmate's God-fearing community. Whilst the widow falls for his charms,the children, brother and younger sister, do not take to him as a temporary stepfather; temporary because he killed their mother. What follows after the children's escape from a cellar, in a rather comic routine straight from an old silent movie,is the pursuit of the children downriver,with Harry Powell riding a stolen horse along the bank. The children are in a canoe. At this point,the film's lyricism came into its own. It is the route to salvation and eventual retribution in the shape of Miss Cooper who finds the exhausted pair and gives them house room alongside other youngsters she's taken in. It is a community of goodness. Whilst the canoe floated downstream, we were treated to scenes of natural life in the daily battle for survival; one especially telling scene being an owl moving its head from side to side hypnotically before descending on an unlucky rabbit,transfixed by this predatory bird. There were so many natural images of life and death depicted, metaphors for the human battle for survival from Evil,in this case personified by the charismatic,psychotic fake preacher who twists the words of Goodness in the hymn 'Leaning' to give an image of holiness - just words from an empty shell of a man. They do not echo with Miss Cooper who stood at the Pearly Gates with a shotgun. The film was, in some ways, pure cinema in that the camera filled in the background for the audience to read. In some ways, the film was disturbing as it involved a physicial threat to the children but the sun of righteousness eventually lights the darkness,leaving evil to wither. This is a newly-appreciated gem with Robert Mitchum giving one of his best performances out of his usual role types as a psychotic villain. He did it again in the later 'Cape Fear'. Everybody in the film excelled with the necessary counterweight of Lillian Gish as Miss Cooper.
Cheesy and terrifying in the same time.By madsimon (4 reviews) from Bristol , 10 Dec 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideVery interesting to watch. On one hand, often dated and cheesy (especially dialogues), on other hand lots of dark, realistic moments plus great camera work and scenography. It really is gripping and terrifying. The scene with kids on the boat was amazing and the girl's song should be covered by Bjork.
Glad I found this one!By Abby88 (168 reviews) from Bognor Regis , 11 Oct 2012I really enjoyed this film. An engaging story and a truly creepy villain! Lots of tension, touching moments and great characters.
Thuroughly greatBy ABadger (5 reviews) , 08 Oct 2012A great film that kept me thoroughly entertained.
It had a good plot, and a story that moved at a fast paced. The ending was great, so overall this is definetely worth a rent.
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