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The Night of the Hunter

(DVD - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Night of the Hunter
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A self-styled preacher marries and murders the widow of an executed convict with whom he once shared a cell. He then terrorizes her two young children to force them to tell him the whereabouts of the $10,000 he knows their father hid before his imprisonment.
Title: The night of the hunter
[videorecording]
Publisher: [United States] : The Criterion Collection, 2010
Edition: DVD ed., widescreen
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (93 min.) :,sd., b&w ;,4 3/4 in. +,1 booklet (28 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.)
Statement of Responsibility: Paul Gregory Productions presents
Notes: Title from container
Based on the novel by Davis Grubb
Originally released as a motion picture in 1955 by United Artists
Special features include; audio commentary featuring second-unit 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 collection of outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage; interviews with producer Paul Gregory, Sanders, Feeney, Jones, cinematographer Stanley Cortez, author Jeffrey Couchman, and Laughton biographer Simon Callow; The Ed Sullivan Show clip in which cast members perform a deleted scene; fifteen-minute episode of the BBC show Moving Pictures about the film; gallery of sketches by Davis Grubb, author of the source novel; new video conversation between Gitt and film critic Leonard Maltin about Charles Laughton Directs; original theatrical trailer
Number of discs, special features, and language options may vary by copy
Contents: Disc 1. The night of the hunter
Disc 2. Charles Laughton directs
Summary: A self-styled preacher marries and murders the widow of an executed convict with whom he once shared a cell. He then terrorizes her two young children to force them to tell him the whereabouts of the $10,000 he knows their father hid before his imprisonment.
Additional Contributors: Laughton, Charles 1899-1962, Director
Mitchum, Robert Actor
Winters, Shelley
Gish, Lillian 1893-1993, Actor
Agee, James 1909-1955, Author of screenplay
Gregory, Paul 1920-, Producer
Grubb, Davis (Night of the hunter) 1919-1980
Paul Gregory Productions
United Artists Corporation
Criterion Collection (Firm)
ISBN: 9781604653502
1604653507
Branch Call Number: DVD Drama NIGHT
Credits: Screen play, James Agee ; music, Walter Schumann ; producer, Paul Gergory ; director, Charles Laughton.
Performers: Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Agee.
System Details: DVD; widescreen, aspect ratio (1.66:1), monaural
Other Language: English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Subject Headings: Grubb, Davis, 1919-1980 Film adaptations Stalkers Drama Brothers and sisters Drama Ex-convicts Drama Murder Drama Impostors and imposture Drama Night of the hunter (Motion picture)
Genre/Form: Film noir
Detective and mystery films
Feature films
Thrillers (Motion pictures)
Video recordings for the hearing impaired
Topical Term: Stalkers
Brothers and sisters
Ex-convicts
Murder
Impostors and imposture
Publisher No: CC1956D The Criterion Collection
MARC Display»

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From Library Staff

A creepy, dark fable starring the incomparable Robert Mitchum as a self-styled preacher who marries and murders the widow of an executed convict with whom he once shared a cell. He then terrorizes her two young children to force them to tell him the whereabouts of the $10,000 he knows their fathe... Read More »


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I was really hoping for a scary movie, or at least an artfully done film noir. HA HA HA, WRONG! This was the best bad movie I've ever seen. Our faces hurt from laughing at it. We started counting the wildlife closeups and laughed harder with each one. And the commenter who mentioned the scene of Robert Mitchum chasing the children up the stairs with his arms outstretched was spot on. And what was with the angry crowds with furniture? It was over the top. We provided our own commentary and enjoyed ourselves immensely. But don't for a minute think this is a good thriller. I dare anyone to watch it without laughing.

Feb 03, 2014
  • VRMurphy rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Well worth watching, but I suggest you take an academic viewpoint, rather than "hey, let's watch a movie!". The art direction is outstanding, in presenting a very flat, black & white background against which the actors depict archetypes - it's a very dark fable. Billy Chapin, as the young boy, gives an outstanding performance, and Mitchum, of course, is quite chilling. Lillian Gish is terrific.

Robert Mitchum "grew up" in the movies playing the bad guy in Hopalong Cassidy and Johnny Mack Brown cowboy flicks. The sinister personna he developed plays perfectly in the "Hunter". Charles Laughton created this movie as a visual fantasy and the "excesses" in the staging and acting were purposeful. The IMDB includes "Hunter" on its top 250 list and Roger Ebert gave it four stars - good enough for me!

Jan 19, 2014
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Whenever cast as a cowboy-dude, Robert Mitchum would always be a Western fan's hero._____ And, whenever cast as a no-nonsense tough-guy, Robert Mitchum would always be the epitome of pure "Film Noir" cool._____ But, when cast here as a psychotic, serial-killing "man-of-the-cloth" (fanatically spewing out religious mumbo-jumbo), Robert Mitchum would amount to being nothing but a truly embarrassing and laughable example of some of the most serious miscasting that I've ever seen._____ Had "The Night Of The Hunter" (TNOTH) been billed as a rip-roarin' Comedy then, yes, I could've easily understood Mitchum's hammy, bug-eyed, scenery-chewing performance as "Preacher" Harry Powell. But, if I was actually expected to take his demented, over-the-top histrionics with the dead-seriousness of awe, admiration and reverence - Well, that I could not (and would not) do._____ I defy anyone (in their right mind) to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing when Mitchum's character (like a slapstick parody of Frankenstein) chases the 2 young brats out of the basement with his arms stretched up over his head._____ This potentially promising "Psychological Thriller" suffered significantly at the hands of its one-time director, Charles Laughton, who had obviously bitten off more than he could chew. With TNOTH, Laughton had an annoying tendency to dwell too intensely on things which were decidedly frivolous, that either didn't help move the story along or clearly worked against any efforts made to sustain its frequently faltering suspense._____ Set in the 1930s (with its story taking place along the Ohio River in West Virginia), TNOTH was filmed in glossy b&w and, thankfully, only had a running time of 93 minutes.

Dec 05, 2013
  • empbee rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Child actors are very good. A "modern" fairy tale.

Sep 17, 2013
  • martyrofevil rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A lot of beautiful shots and the music is pretty good for the time but it lost a lot of momentum in the last half hour and got a little too sappy towards the end.

Apr 20, 2013
  • aaa5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This movie was entertaining and interesting but not one of my favorite for this year. Not too bad---good performance. I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way.

the best black and white film ever? It's an art film that is also very suspenseful. The use of Black and white is powerful, and ironic since the film comments on black and white thinking, such as that of the apish hunter Mitchum plays, who is literal minded, and needs the writing on the wall (hand) to guide him to the fast food. slow, symbolic film invites thought-- not the taste of the fast food crowd. Those who are offended at the fact of humans related to apes (that's 45% of Americans) should credit gorillas with being vegetarians, while the Mitchum character and other humans of his ilk are sadistic blood thirsty killers. Really, the comparison is an insult to gorillas.

Apr 10, 2013
  • voisjoe1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Night of the Hunter” is now listed by various institutions as one of the greatest films of all time. It is the only film directed by the great British actor, Charles Laughton with the evil protagonist played by Robert Mitchum in one of his greatest roles ever. The style of the film is that of German Expressionism and some of the scenes stick with you for years. Who can forget the knuckles with L-O-V-E on one hand and H-A-T-E on the other, possibly suggesting that there is some of both in each human? Who can forget the scene of the car at the bottom of the lake? Or the evil man, howling in the night, as he looks for his victims? If you are really interested, get the 2 disc Criterion version, which includes documentaries of how the film was made and almost not made. This film is a true labor of love.

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Apr 15, 2013
  • aaa5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr

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