Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jun 20, 2010 - 8:46 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

You can always go out to the lobby for some popcorn. But of course, if you've read my book, then you'll know that one of Laughton's stated intentions was to get lackadaisical contemporary film goers to forget about their popcorn and lean forward in their seats, anxious to see what would happen next, just like audiences in the days of silent cinema.


Unless something is dreadfully wrong. tonight you will certainly have seen the version restored by UCLA just a few years ago. It is now THE version for theatrical showings (and TCM). Do me a favor, incidentally: When the two kids are in the barn, and Preacher is riding his horse on the horizon in silhouettte singing "Leaning," there should be nothing on the soundtrack besides Mitchum's voice. Did you happen to hear anything else in the background? -- There were some faulty prints made but theoretically they've all been recalled by now. Thanks!

I wish I had read your message before seeing the film. I do not recall hearing anything else in the background during that scene, but can't be sure. With regard to popcorn, etc., the audience (comprised mainly of twenty- and thirtysomethings) was unusually quiet. I didn't see any cell phone use or texting. I guess Laughton achieved his intentions!

 Posted:   Jun 20, 2010 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

I always love the intake of breath I hear in the theater when Preacher suddenly appears in the back porch door...

 Posted:   Jun 20, 2010 - 11:53 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

You could write an essay on every sequence in this film, a carved-in-stone masterpiece. How about Mitchum, up to his chest in the river, trying to capture the children.... that cry he gives out when he can't reach them. And straight after that, the impressionistic night scene of the children on the river. And even a cynical old sod like me has to shed a tear when, at the end, the boy wraps up an apple to give to Lillian Gish, & she has that last speech about children. My god, I'm welling up thinking about it!

 Posted:   Jun 20, 2010 - 8:44 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)


 Posted:   Jun 21, 2010 - 6:46 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

A completely unique film, unlike any other.

This is true. I teach it in my Film class and I was trying to set it up for the next week. My students asked me to compare it to something and I realized there was nothing to compare it to. It is like no other film I have ever seen. After they saw it, they agreed with me.
And Mitchum's performance is like no other; he is comical and deadly at the same time.

 Posted:   Aug 16, 2010 - 10:35 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

DVD and Blu-Ray Criterion release for November:

United States
93 minutes
Black and White

SYNOPSIS: The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a standalone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s quirkiest rendering of the battle between good and evil.

Cast & Credits
Preacher Harry Powell - Robert Mitchum
Willa Harper - Shelley Winters
Miss Cooper - Lillian Gish
Uncle Birdie Steptoe - James Gleason
Icey Spoon - Evelyn Varden
Ben Harper - Peter Graves
Mr. Spoon - Don Beddoe
John Harper - Billy Chapin
Pearl Harper - Sally Jane Bruce
Ruby - Gloria Castillo

Director - Charles Laughton
From the novel by Davis Grubb
Screenplay - James Agee
Music - Walter Schumann
Photography - Stanley Cortez
Art direction - Hilyard Brown
Editing - Robert Golden

  • Disc features new, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring assistant director Terry Sanders, film critic F. X. Feeney, archivist Robert Gitt, and author Preston Neal Jones
  • Charles Laughton Directs “The Night of the Hunter,” a two-and-a-half-hour archival treasure trove of outtakes from the film
  • New documentary featuring interviews with producer Paul Gregory, Sanders, Jones, and author Jeffrey Couchman
  • New video interview with Simon Callow, author of Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor
  • Clip from the The Ed Sullivan Show, in which cast members perform live a scene that was deleted from the film
  • Fifteen-minute episode of the BBC show Moving Pictures about the film
  • Archival interview with cinematographer Stanley Cortez
  • Gallery of sketches by author Davis Grubb
  • New video conversation between Gitt and film critic Leonard Maltin about Charles Laughton Directs “The Night of the Hunter”
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Terrence Rafferty and Michael Sragow


    You must log in or register to post.
      Go to page:    
    © 2024 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
    Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.