Night of the Hunter, The (1955)

The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife, BUT ABOVE ALL... THE SUSPENSE!

Original Title : Night of the Hunter, The
Director : Charles Laughton
Writer : James Agee
Davis Grubb
Charles Laughton
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Paul Gregory
Music : Walter Schumann
Photography : Stanley Cortez
IMDB ID : 0048424
Official site :
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poster for "Night of the Hunter, The" by Charles Laughton (1955)
Night of the Hunter, The (1955) - Charles Laughton


Robert Mitchum Rev. Harry Powell
Shelley Winters Willa Harper
Lillian Gish Rachel Cooper
James Gleason Birdie Steptoe
Evelyn Varden Icey Spoon
Peter Graves Ben Harper
Don Beddoe Walt Spoon
Billy Chapin John Harper
Sally Jane Bruce Pearl Harper
Gloria Castillo Ruby (as Gloria Castilo
Corey Allen Macijah Blake (young man in town
Paul Bryar Bart, prison guard (uncredited
Cheryl Callaway Mary (uncredited
Michael Chapin (uncredited
Mary Ellen Clemons Clary (uncredited
Kathy Garver Child (uncredited
John Hamilton Townsman who greets Rachel (uncredited
Gloria Pall Dancer (uncredited


Ben Harper has committed murder for $10,000. He hides the money and makes daughter Pearl and son John promise not to tell anyone where it is hidden, not even their mother Willa. In prison and awaiting hanging, Ben meets his cellmate, the Preacher, who tries unsuccessfully to get Ben to reveal where he stashed the money. When Preacher is released from prison he heads for the Harper home, intent on finding the money. Preacher charms Willa and wins her hand in marriage, only to kill her when she learns what he is really like. With only Pearl and John separating him from a small fortune, the Preacher unleashes the full force of his true, evil self.


I Guess The Audience Weren`t Ready For It In my review of DR NO I mentioned how audiences must have been shocked at seeing Sean Connery`s anti-hero shooting people in the back . I`m sure they were just as shocked by THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER , but where as DR NO led to the most successful film franchise in the history of cinema this movie was something of a critical and commercial flop on its release . As with CITIZEN KANE on its release there seems to be a large amount of snobbery involved . Unlike today when even someone like Ben Affleck can win an Oscar for doing outside his field ( And some might ask what the hell is Affleck`s field ? ) actors in those days were only expected to turn up , say their lines and go home , they surely weren`t expected to do something like point a camera or make a classic movie , least of all a limey homosexual like Charles Laughton. Knives out for limey homosexuals I`d say which may possibly explain why this haunting beautiful movie didn`t get a single Oscar nomination , not even for obvious nominations like cinematography or director . It should also be mentioned that this movie deals with false prophets and in mid 1950s ultra conservative America no one but no one ever questioned men of the cloth in those days in case they faced accusations of being a commie agitator . This explains to a modern day audience the naive attitude of the characters towards Harry Powell in relation to a 2003 audience , times have changed both in cinema and the real world in the last 50 years and it`s impossible to remember when was the last time we saw a Hollywood movie that actually had a good preache NIGHT OF THE HUNTER seems to be best remembered for the scene where the camera follows the fisherman`s point of view on the boat to the lake below , but there`s several more scenes that deserve to be remembered like the opening sequence of the childrens faces across the starscape ,or Robert Mitchum howling like a cartoon character after being shot or the children floating down the river and rabbits and turtles watching them pass . This last scene is very obviously studio bound but that`s not a criticism , this is a very highly stylised movie who`s technical aspects must have been as jaw dropping back then as LORD OF THE RINGS technical aspects wowed audiences 50 years later . The bitter irony now is that this would have picked up several Oscars -Regardless of its strengths ala BRAVEHEART - if it were made today simply because it was directed by an acto
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Night of the Hunter, The (1955) - Charles Laughton
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Night of the Hunter, The (1955) - Charles Laughton