The Night of the Hunter
Director: Charles Laughton Run Time: 93 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1955
Starring: James Gleason, Lillian Gish, Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is part of the VICE Presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series at Nitehawk Cinema. Screening features an in-person introduction by Bruce Weber!
An initially overlooked film that’s now considered a classic, The Night of the Hunter is a tightly composed tale of “good versus evil” told through innocent farm kids and the sociopath preacher who is stalking them.
Bringing Davis Grubb’s novel to the big screen, actor Charles Laughton made his only directorial feature with The Night of the Hunter. All shadows and light, the film is a beautiful juxtaposition of love and hate, quiet moment with bursts of violence, and at its most fundamental, a representation of the struggle between good and evil. And evil enters into the world of a desperate family in the form of the religious fanatic with sociopathic tendencies Harry Powell (played to eery perfection by Robert Mitchum). A serial murderer who marries for money and then kills his brides, he marries a gullible widow (Shelley Winters) for the $10,000 her deceased husband stole. His plan gets complicated when neither of her two children will disclose the whereabouts of the fortune, they head up river to escape the preacher…but he’s always close behind.
The Night of the Hunter is haunting mixture of stark realism and German Expressionism that’s both inspiring and horrifying. Walter Schumman’s score and the cinematography of Stanley Cortez and fundamental to the feel of the film, which is one of a poetic struggle.
*A portion of each ticket sale goes towards The Film Foundation. Tickets also include complimentary Larceny Bourbon drinks at an after-party in Nitehawk’s downstairs bar!
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955, dir. Charles Laughton)
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. with funding provided by Robert Sturm and The Film Foundation.
Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Park Circus Limited.