A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
A town marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.
It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, where he hid the money, namely in Pearl's favorite toy, a doll that she carries everywhere with her. Ben, who is captured, tried and convicted, is sentenced to death. But before he is executed, Ben is in the state penitentiary with a cell mate, a man by the name of Harry Powell, a self-professed man of the cloth, who is really a con man and murderer, swindling lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. After Ben's execution, Harry decides that Willa will be his next mark, figuring that someone in the family knows where the money is hidden. Despite vowing not to remarry, Willa ends up being easy prey for Harry's outward ... Written by
Lillian Gish feared that Charles Laughton and Robert Mitchum might be undercutting Powell's evil. Laughton explained to her, half joking, that he didn't want to ruin Mitchum's future career by pushing him to play total evil, although the touches of humor in the character actually serve to play up the preacher's essentially ludicrous and haywire psychology. And Mitchum's borderline buffoonery makes the children's escape and eventual triumph over him more plausible. See more »
(at around 49 mins) When Harry tells the children about their "fine dinner, with fried chicken..." the chicken on the table is a whole, baked chicken. See more »
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them.
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Finally got down to seeing The Night of the Hunter last night. The
acting and direction made it almost unwatchable. My two stars are for
the cinematography alone. The rest of the movie is unbearably
amateurish. Combining various classic elements of American cinema
doesn't make a movie classic; it makes it a mishmash of story lines
that make little sense together. There are gaping holes in the story
and acting that are irrational--even ludicrous--at every turn. Critics
sometimes look too deeply into an artistic work in a vain attempt to
find something that's not there. There's almost nothing of merit in
this work. There's a reason Laughton directed only one film: because he
was completely inept at it. 1955 audiences laughed aloud at scenes
Laughton meant to be terrifying; I found myself echoing those
sentiments last night, including Mitchum's elongated Frankenstein-like
chase of the children to the river's edge. Those who rate this movie
highly do a great disservice to writers and directors who strive to
create realism, consistency, character development and simple logic in
their work, as well as to actors who strive to create memorable
performances that future stage performers will seek to emulate.
Mitchum's subsequent role in Cape Fear did not use his Night of the
Hunter character as inspiration, rather, it showed what a great actor
can do with a REAL director like J. Lee Thompson.
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