The Night of the Hunter

Movie Information

The Asheville Film Society will screen The Night of the Hunter Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of the Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
Genre: Drama Thriller
Director: Charles Laughton
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce
Rated: NR

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:

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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7 thoughts on “The Night of the Hunter

  1. nancy brennan

    Okay, I’ve commented on this film before. I was a child when I first saw this film on the late show one night. It has become one of my top favorite films of all time. I’ve seen it several times and never get tired of watching it. Not everyone shares my enthusiasm but I don’t waver. I think it is one of the best films every made. It just tugs at me, what can I say. Robert Mitchum is at his evil best in this, and no one can do evil quite like him,(except for maybe Anthony Hopkins). The child actors are superb and I have to say, I love the cinematography even though or maybe because it is black and white. Go see it, I don’t think you’ll be sorry. If I go see it at the Caroline it will be the first time on the large screen.

  2. Ken Hanke

    You’re the boss fer Clapton’s sake! Force somebody else to do it this week.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Just remember: if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth forcing someone else to do it.

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