The Night of the Hunter

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“Salvation is a last-minute business” in The Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton’s 1955 noir about a “reverend” (Robert Mitchum) with L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E knuckle tats who woos and brutally murders Appalachian widows for their money. (Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing references his iconic ink.) But this faux-zealot meets his match in one widow’s young son, who refuses to tell him where his dad hid a $10k fortune. Creepy hymns! Egg-headed kids! Long tracking shots! It’s a mildly spooky watch. At one point the narrative goes off-roading into confusing moralistic territory, but the reverend reels you in with convincing charm. He even announces “I can feel myself gettin’ awful mad” in a transatlantic accent that’ll make you think you’re watching It’s a Wonderful Life—until the murder, that is! by Ciara Dolan
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Credits
Director
Charles Laughton
Cast
Shelley Winters, Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish

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