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The Classic Movie of the Day: The Night of the Hunter

May 8, 2014
I love old movies. I try to share my love of old movies with others, but am often unsuccessful. People more often than not would rather watch a new movie, regardless of its quality, instead of a great old movie. Hopefully, if anyone reads this and then watches the trailer attached, they might be interested enough to watch the movie. Then, maybe that will foster an openness to watching and appreciating old movies so that they might consider watching them on a regular or semi-regular basis. I would really like that.

What is a classic? Well, for the purposes of my experiment, I will limit the timeframe, cutting it off at 1969. That is still a broad swath of film history though. Also, “classic” doesn’t just mean “old”. Not just any old movie will do. Since it’s my thing, it has to be one that I consider a classic. Sometimes that may be in accordance with film historians and film critics, but other times it may diverge from their opinions. With all of that out of the way…..

Today’s Classic Movie of the Day: The Night of the Hunter- I’ve loved this movie since I first saw it in my college film class. It involves a “preacher” searching for some stolen money, one who won’t let anything get in his way, not even his new wife and her children. It stars Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell. He is creepy, over-the-top, and fantastic in this movie. The film is shot in starkly contrasting black and white, with German expressionistic lighting, and with much of it being shot on a soundstage, has a very dream-like atmosphere. It is believed that the freshman director, Academy Award winning actor Charles Laughton, shot it in such a way so that it would seem like it was coming from the perspective of the children. That may be partially true, but budget limitations may have also played in part in that dream-like atmosphere, as much of it had to be shot on a soundstage to keep the costs down. It is a shame that Laughton never directed another movie. I don’t want to say anymore so as to ruin it. I hope someone watches this movie. Here’s the trailer:




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One Comment
  1. Paul S permalink

    I don’t have enough words for Mitchum’s performance here. You don’t see actors like him too often. The whole film definitely could have gone way over the top but it didn’t. It becomes more believable because you’re viewing it from a child’s perspective when everything is more scary.
    I agree it’s a shame Laughton didn’t direct more films. He had such a distinctive vision.

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