Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Night of the Hunter

How can you not like this movie? A relatively young Robert Mitchum plays a psychotic murderer and con man masquerading as a preacher. The love/hate thing is pretty chilling in and of itself, plus it's frightening how some of the "religious" types are totally sucked in. Of course they are on the front lines of the lynch mob at the end. Guess the 'ol forgiveness thang was kinda out the window there.

And Lillian Gish - wow! She portrayed the iron willed caregiver to the local orphans with a very soft spot in her heart. Peter Graves and Shelly Winters play the soon to be murdered parents of Pearl and John. Considering the age of those actors, they portrayed the kids pretty well, particularly Billy Chapin, who played John.

Charles Laughton directed. According to IMDB, he didn't care for children and Mitchum ended up directing the kids in several scenes. Mitchum didn't care much for Winters, either. Robert Mitchum was openly contemptuous of Shelley Winters throughout the shooting of the film and later claimed to have wished Charles Laughton had actually used Winters in the scene when her character's body is seen dead underwater. The film had such a lukewarm reception, Laughton didn't direct another picture.

Just as an aside - Lillian Gish was quite a babe in her younger days, too!

See what I mean! I wouldn't steer ya wrong. Trust me.


Gloria said...

One of the evry first films I ever saw on a screen was Victor Sjostrom's "The WInd" I've been a Lillian Gish fan ever since.

And ever more, as she teamed up with my favouritest person, Charles Laughton, to work in "Night of the Hunter"!

Re IMDB factoids: Check this two links below, There's much to sustain that the "Laughton hated the kids and didn't direct them" isn't as true as many are lead to believe, if true at all:

Jeffro said...

Wow! Thanks for stopping by! You clearly know far more than I about the subject. I've approached the film more as a fan of Robert Mitchum plus it's just a great movie. I don't even know much about Mitchum for that matter, other than the movies he is in are worth watching.

That's a cool site you have!

IHeartQuilting said...

I love your movie reviews, Jeffro -they always give me one more to add to my list of 'Must See' Flicks.

I love Charles Laughton, but don't beleive I ever seen a movie with Lillian Gish in it. Will have to now.