From my 2009 review: Being somewhat resistant to 1950s movies, I put off seeing Charles Laughton’s only directorial effort, Night of the Hunter (1955), for years. Then one evening I bumped into it by chance and thought I’d at least watch the beginning of it. From the moment I saw Lillian Gish superimposed over a night sky like the floating princess in David Lynch’s Dune, I knew this was not your standard 1950s movie. It’s actually not a whole lot like any movie from any time. While it borrows heavily from the best of silent-film technique—in an attempt to make it seem like a film from an earlier time, rather than just being about an earlier time—it’s certainly not limited to that style. It seems like a film from a much later era, while also seeming like an earlier one, and not just because some of the sexual symbolism is surprising for its time. In terms of cinematography alone (Laughton’s vision is accomplished by Stanley Cortez), the film is absolutely breathtaking. It’s that look—the stylized beauty of its black-and-white imagery—which gives the film much of its haunting quality.
To read the full review go to: www.mountainx.com/movies/review/night_of_the_hunter