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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 July 2015
I'm not quite sure why I hadn't seen this film before I bought it on this newly-issued Blu-ray a few months ago as it has many of the features I like in a movie.

That it was made some 60 years ago makes it something of a ground-breaking masterpiece, especially as it precedes one of most favourite 'noir' classics from that period, the quite superb 'Touch of Evil' by Orson Welles....

So, whilst I should have seen this film many years ago my tardiness has one benefit - I can 'enjoy' (this is a 'horror' film after all !) it for the first time at it's best, courtesy of this wonderfully produced Blu-ray.

Before I forget, this 'Arrow' production has one specific feature I've not seen much of before - the outer paper insert of the case is reversible, so you have a choice of 'covers'.

The inner side has a reproduction of the theatrical-release poster which in some ways doesn't properly hint at what the film is about (perhaps a good thing !), but is certainly more nostalgic and relevant than the 'standard' outer cover.

I've attached photos of the inner/outer so you can see what I'm on about and perhaps increase the purchase temptation....

This film was the only one directed by that British stage/screen legend Charles Laughton and it appears that it ruffled so many feathers on release (it bombed and got panned) that it is why he stopped directing - before his untimely death 7 years later; what a travesty.

It's easy to see why at the time this film would have been misunderstood/disliked/shocked - it has little of a pleasant nature in it and concentrates on the 'activities' of a ruthless ex-convict who is mad, psychopathic, murderous and cruel in equal measure. Add in some 'odd' (for the time) cinematography, forays into the almost psychedelic and elements of religious blasphemy and it must have come as no surprise that it was doomed....

As I consider most of the above to be laudable characteristics, the other main aspect of this production which makes it noteworthy is the quite marvellous performance of Robert Mitchum in the lead role of said ex-convict. One often forgets how versatile he was and his turn here must surely have been a pre-cursor for his impressive portrayal of the equally 'nasty' character Max Cady in 'Cape Fear' some 7 years later....

The Amazon 'Product Description' covers the film synopsis and disc features admirably, so I won't repeat them here. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is obviously not that lively but is very clear and I think it is definitely more 'spatial' in nature, so adding to the atmosphere for your viewing experience. I will definitely watch the copious and tempting disc extras at some point as this film deserves as much coverage as possible.

With the caveat that I've only watched it once, for the period and genre this film for me isn't quite up there with 'Touch of Evil' but it's close - more for the direction techniques of Laughton and performance of Mitchum than the story itself. This Blu-ray also doesn't provide as much on-disc 'coverage' as the recent Blu-ray issue of 'Touch of Evil' does, but what there is seems to be of sufficient quality to support the excellent presentation of the feature itself.

It still gets 5 stars though !
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on 29 August 2017
This is a marvellous film. I very first saw this film on TV and it quite simply “blew me away” then and so I had to own it. My own criteria for films is: will I want to watch this again? Does this film posses something which will make me want to see it again-and-again? Great films are like great music are always great and make you want to come back because you know you’re in for solid entertainment. So if you want a very watchable film then this is it – buy with confidence and enjoy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 November 2014
A splendid blu ray transfer which is supposedly the same as the Criterion transfer of this weird and decidedly wonderful slice of southern gothic directed by Charles Laughton. A critical and commercial failure on its initial release in 1955 the film has grown in stature over the years and is now regarded as a chilling and magical masterpiece. This blu ray with its splendid two and a half hour documentary about the making of the film should not disappoint. Thoroughly recommended at a bargain price of less than £7 ! £23 cheaper than the asking price of the Criterion branded version.
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on 3 March 2014
Considering the age of this film and the far more simple technologies available at that time, it is quite stunning. It's almost Hitchcock in its effect, but that would be practically insulting to Charles Laughton, the Director, although it appears to me that he has the same film mentality as Hitchcock, using the black & white to excellent (and scary) effect. Also for the time it must have been quite a sensitive topic to have as a theme. Mitchum is great as the sleazy, hypocritical predator, as is Lillian Gosh as the defender of morals and thus the two children. The two children are wonderful, especially the young boy. His is a truly mature performance. The film reflects on what is out there in real life and that is frightening, but it is as true then as it is now sadly. A great old film to make you think.
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on 10 February 2014
A brilliant film about good and evil and the overcoming of evil by bravery told by the brilliant Charles Laughton whose masterpiece this is. Robert Mitchum shows a character from the dark side and sends shivers down the backs of the most stalwart audiences. His counterparts are gentle but determined children aided and abetted by a sweet liitle old lady with strong backbone Lillian Gish. Mitchum's nasty character woos Shelly Winters the mother of two children, and completely dominates her. This is a classic film and is told like a fairy tale of old. The photography is is beautiful and reflects every emotion as the film unfolds. Cynthia Allen McLaglen
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on 25 March 2014
Its a dramatic film that at times is uncomfortable to watch but any dark fable involving children brings a certain uneasiness. The acting was fantastic the children believable enough to allow the film to sweep along nicely. Im a fan of robert mitchum brilliant actor and this is his best role. If you have not seen this film you should it is a seminal piece of cinema that has been much admired by other director's. My favorite line in the film "Life can be hard for little thing's!"
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on 11 January 2018
I thought this original version of The night of the Hunter was very good
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on 12 April 2014
I first saw this film on the tv when I was about 10 years old. It was quite scary at the time but I couldn't look away. Robert Mitchum played the part of a preacher who had killed a woman and was seen by two young children. The film consists of Mitchum tracking down the children who are on the run and terrified that they will be killed if caught. Throughout the chase Mitchum hunts the children on a mule and whistles the same tune always. This is a tense thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.
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on 26 January 2018
Compelling.. and fascinating... a look at the USA in the depression and how desperate life could be.. wonderfully portrayed and acted...many thanks ...
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on 16 June 2016
Robert Mitcham at his most Evil. Saw this year's ago and still gives me the shivers too this day.Shame Charles Laughton did not direct any more films after
the critics gave the film a real panning.It proves some critics have no idea what
a GEM they were watching.Is now a CULT film.
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