19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Courageous and Innovative.,
This review is from: The Night of the Hunter [DVD]  (DVD)
Charles Laughton directs this experimental project from the mid 1950s. The end results are positive and the movie has gone on to attain cult status amongst horror aficionados.
Using a blend of european cinematic style and the theatrical melodrama usually seen on stage, the director engages the viewer in this story of the eternal struggle between right and wrong, good and evil. The not so good Reverend Harry Powell impresses and seduces the simple, god-fearing folk of rural America with a well rehearsed pastiche of how good eventually triumphs, with his tatooed hands playing the lead roles.
Good may win the day but evil has a flick-knife and he certainly ain't afeared to use it.
The film is memorable for its cinematographic value with some of the sets outrageous in their beauty and dramatic effect. The juxtaposition of Mitchum's evil (which he exudes superbly)and the innocence and simplicity of the seemingly-helpless children at his mercy, is striking and, at times, disturbing. In the end, salvation comes from an unlikey source, the outwardly benign old Miss Cooper, plyed by Lilian Gish. She is not so easily fooled and as a protector, she is not to be under-estimated.
This is a "must own" film for any one who takes cinema seriously. The action is subtly terrifying, not gory in the style of more contemporary films but thought-provoking and spiritually haunting. You will hear the insane and evil Harry Powell's remorseless hollering of hymns, in your head for some time after the end credits appear.