30 August 2014

The Night of the Hunter (1955)
93 min.
Directed by Charles Laughton.
With Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Evelyn Varden, Peter Graves, Don Beddoe, James Gleason, Gloria Castillo, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce.
A haunting horror film masquerading as a dark, lyrical fairy tale.

A maniacal ex-con preacher named Harry Powell (Mitchum) marries shy new wife Willa (Winters) so that he can his hands on $10K in stolen money that her ex-husband hid somewhere around the house.

Turns out Willa's little children John (Chapin) and Pearl (Bruce) know where the loot is. But they're not telling.

Problem is, the psychotic Harry has no qualms whatsoever about killing the tykes in order to get his grubby hands on the 10Gs. In fact, he's probably convinced himself it's "the Lord's Will" that ole Harry gets the money!

Thankfully, the little ones have fearless, shotgun-toting Rachel Cooper (Gish) to protect them. But for how long? Harry is waiting...just...outside...in the dark...

Mitchum leads this beautifully photographed and dreamlike production, fleshing out one of the most unnerving portrayals of a villain in all cinema.

Shelley Winters is great as the tortured willow lost below the tumultuous waters of the surface, while powerhouse Gish showcases the flip side of that coin: she's a totally fearless shotgun-toting protectress.

Charles Laughton's sole work behind the camera, Hunter makes the viewer ponder the possibilities had the vet actor helmed more...

Love? Hate? Which will it be? See this unforgettable, original masterpiece.

copyright 1998-present | The Terror Trap; www.terrortrap.com | all rights reserved