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The Night of the Hunter

  • Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, night of the hunter

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

‘Would you like me to tell you the story of right hand, left hand? The story of good and evil?’ It’s hard to think of a film which cuts so clear a line between innocence and depravity as 1955’s ‘The Night of the Hunter’, British actor Charles Laughton’s sole film as director. Robert Mitchum is the heart of absolute darkness as Reverend Harry Powell, a preacher and killer of women whose lust for gold leads him to little Pearl Harper (Sally Jane Bruce) and her older brother John (Billy Chapin), who are guardians of their jailed dad’s stolen loot. Driven by the starkness of German expressionism and shot by legendary Orson Welles collaborator Stanley Cortez, Laughton’s film makes the average film noir look like afterschool kids’ TV. Every shot is a masterclass in contrast, in looming blacks and piercing whites. It’s the most haunted and dreamlike of all American films, a gothic backwoods ramble with the Devil at its heels.

Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Rated:12
  • Release date:Friday 17 January 2014
  • Duration:92 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Charles Laughton
  • Cast:
    • Evelyn Varden
    • Billy Chapin
    • James Gleason
    • Lillian Gish
    • Robert Mitchum
    • Shelley Winters
    • Peter Graves
    • Sally Ann Bruce
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