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Night of the Hunter

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mrsl
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Night of the Hunter

Postby mrsl » November 5th, 2007, 10:50 pm

As much as I love Bob, I never saw this one until tonight. Eeeewwwww, what an eerie movie. It had goose bumps on me through almost the whole thing. When those kids were in that skiff just lolling down the river, I kept expecting Bob to pop up and grab them at every change of scene. Those baby animals in the forefront really added to the realization that these little children were all alone against a killer who wanted to kill them and didn't make a secret of it.

That guest Rose, commented on Bob's looks masking the evilness of the character and she was correct. He was at his prime here, no age lines, good physique, you don't expect someone who looks like that to be so totally evil incarnate. Even in the beginning when he does his left hand/right hand, love/hate thing, he looks more challenging than frightening, but as the film goes on he builds a feeling in the audience that makes you want to reach out and just hurt him back for all the people he's hurt. That's my idol I'm talking about, so you know I was into this movie.

Poor Shelley Winters, it's a wonder she never went nuts herself with all the mindless, semi-loaves she played. That little guy was great too, I've seen him in so many TV and movie roles, and he's always good. I'll have to look him up and find out where he is today.

In all, a really good movie which I will recommend, but don't think I'll watch more than maybe once more, to see details I missed.

Anne
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ken123
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Postby ken123 » November 5th, 2007, 11:07 pm

IMHO Bob Mitchum was even creepier in the original Cape Fear. 8)

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Postby mrsl » November 6th, 2007, 6:35 am

Without a doubt Ken123, which makes me so angry that he didn't win awards hand over fist. He was so versatile, but he made it look so easy, nobody thought of him as acting. He could be funny or eerie, lovable or tough, hard headed or soft hearted and sensible and responsible or wild and reckless. Bob Mitchums' Max Cady was someone who lured you into a false sense of security before striking, whereas Bob DeNiro was strictly frightening from the get-go. That's why Mitchum was so much more electrifying. I have two more movies to go and then I will have seen every movie he was ever in, most of them at least twice, some more than 4 or 5. I have no idea how many times I have watched The Enemy Below from start to finish, or Home From the Hill. I'm as bad with Mitchum as some are with Hedy, Cooper, or Garbo, but I TRY to keep it down below a roar. :wink:

Anne
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Postby SSO Admins » November 6th, 2007, 6:37 am

Night of the Hunter is one of my favorite movies. It was directed by actor Charles Laughton, and was sadly the only movie he ever directed -- because the film failed with both audiences and critics, he swore off directing. Of course, now it's considered a great film.

It was also Mitchum's favorite of his films, and Laughton was his favorite director.

This movie has so many great moments that it's impossible to list them all. Laughton, with Stanley Cortez's magnificent cinematography, created an expressionistic masterpiece that hearkens back to the silent era, amplified by the choice of Lillian Gish to play Rachel Cooper.

I only wish that Laughton had directed more films -- the poor initial reception to this film cost us more work by a man who probably could be known as one of the great directors today.

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Postby Dewey1960 » November 6th, 2007, 7:11 am

One of my favorites, as well...
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIZalK35L2w[/youtube]

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Postby Mr. Arkadin » November 6th, 2007, 7:43 am

Night of the Hunter is one of my favorites as well. I have an article on it , but I've been posting a lot of stuff here lately and don't want to overdo it. Let's just say it's one of those few perfect films that defies description and catagorization.

It's also well-balanced as a fall from grace (Mitchum's character) and a redemptive return (Gish) with the river scene neatly dividing these two planes of existence. Water is symbolic of life (the river carries them to a new life), but also holds a symbolism of death in many cultures (Greek for example) and actually reminds one of the river Styx in some areas.

It's amazing that this film infuses so many emotions from fear and dread to slapstick humor. With so much going on, the film could easily drop into a muddled chaotic mess, but Laughton never lets us down. The last scene always makes me cry when I realize how love (not children who--like us--are only vessels or containers of what Rachel has given) abides and endures as it flows through our lives. Great film.

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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 6th, 2007, 10:07 pm

Jondaris and Arkadin, great posts on one of my favorite films, as well. I also like to pontificate about the symbolism of the apple in our culture, and how it has a life of its own in this film.

Lillian Gish was absolutely electrifying in this movie. She reminds me so much of some of the ladies in my family and how forthright and loving a character can be at the same time. I tear up every time I view this film.
It is so riveting.

But I have to admit that Mitchum was even more frightening in Cape Fear, if that is possible.

Mrsl, I can't believe such a hearty "Bob" fan missed this fantastic movie.
I am so glad you finally got to see it. I think it is one of his best.

And jondaris, I would love to have seen more films directed by Charles Laughton, too.

The art direction, and the way the lights and shadows play around almost every indoor set are mesmerizing.

That cathedral-like bedroom scares me every time.
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Postby movieman » November 9th, 2007, 10:23 am

This is a favourite of mine too!
I love the cinematography, which was done by Stanley Cortez.
This is also one of Mitcum's best acting performances.

I haven't seen "Cape Fear" so I can't make a comparison.

When I first saw this one, about two years ago, in a cinema in Oslo, I saw it twice. It made such a big impression on me.
Robert Gitt was scheduled to come and talk about the movie using rare outtakes, but the film material didn't reach Oslo in time and he had to do it without the film clips which would have added considerably to his story.

Hope a Special Edition will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in near future.
This movie deserves it!
It has been restored and the material filmed during production could be added as a special feature. What a treat it would have been to have Gitt make a commentary track on both the movie itself and the extra material.

This Charles Laughton blog runs a "Campaign: Night of the Hunter Special Edition DVD" where petitionaires can vote for a future release:

http://rootingforlaughton.blogspot.com/

At the blog you'll find more info on the film too!

Sincerely

movieman (Mr. Even)

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Postby cinemalover » November 9th, 2007, 10:31 am

Mr. Even,
Welcome to the site and congratulations on your first post. The first of many we hope. Nice comments. Enjoy your visits.

Chris
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Postby Hollis » November 9th, 2007, 11:47 am

Good morning,

I don't think there's any doubt that this is Robert Mitchum's finest performance. I think it blows "Cape Fear" right out of the water. It's easily, in my opinion at least, one of the more memorable performances that anyone has ever brought to the screen, and easily one of the most threatening characterizations I've ever seen. I don't think that anyone who's seen it will ever forget it. It's just that good, and one that would almost certainly spell failure for anyone foolish enough to try and remake it.

As always,

Hollis

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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 17th, 2007, 10:07 am

Dear Hollis,
I completely agree. I also think that if I had been a film director, and I had only one film to my credit, Night of the Hunter would be a fantastic legacy, and is for Laughton.
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The Night of the Hunter

Postby EleanorPowellFan » January 19th, 2008, 8:21 pm

I think The Night of the Hunter is Robert's best. I just love that creepy song "Leaning.....something". I especially love the part when at the end the lady threatens to shoot and he just gets up from the floor, makes a face and just starts howling. No scary film nowadays can match this.

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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 11th, 2008, 10:28 am

I saw this film years ago and it frightened me. Robert Mitchum's preacher is one of the scariest character in movies. I've seen him in Cape Fear, I think he is even more frightening in that, more unhinged. Robert De Niro great actor that he is can't come anywhere near the greatness of Robert Mitchum's performance.

Robert Mitchum doesn't seem to try and act he is the person he's playing. I read when he played the scene in Cape Fear with Polly Bergen he apologised again and again for the ferocity of his performance, frightened that he had hurt her.

Balance these two performances against the school teacher in Ryan's Daughter and I agree this guy should have won far more awards. He was too good for his own good.

I need to watch some more Mitchum movies.

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Postby Ann Harding » February 11th, 2008, 2:37 pm

The Night of The Hunter is a masterpiece. I must have watched it a hundred times. It's such a shame that Laughton didn't manage to make another film. :( He was preparing The Naked and The Dead at some point. In the end, it was made by Walsh. A good war picture.

As for Mitchum, he is fabulous as the false preacher. 8) But, sorry, I don't get Cape Fear. For me, it's just a very violent picture which for me has no meaning...... :roll:

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Postby mrsl » February 11th, 2008, 3:42 pm

Hi Ann:

Cape Fear really has no deep meaning other than how evil, true evil can be. The other side of the coin is to what lengths a good man can go when pushed beyond the limits he can endure when his family is threatened.

Night of the Hunter is really a very basic example of good vs. evil with Lillian Gish as good and Mitchum as evil.

I have to defend my adoration of Bob over never having seen Night . . . Hunter. The main reason I never saw it is because I've seen Cape Fear so many times, and knowing what a fine actor Bob is, so many people said he was even better in 'hunter', I didn't want to see it. As with Chuck Connors and Henry Fonda, I hate to see my favorites turn to playing horrible characters. Bob was so evil in Cape Fear, I didn't relish seeing another example. Going through the imdB list of his movies, I found there were only about 8 that I had never seen, so although it was on TV, I decided to leave it towards the end of the line.

Anne
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