Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie of the Month - Night of the Hunter

"Love" and "Hate" two words that define the 1955 classic The Night of the Hunter so well. For starters it is broken down by the words literal definition and of course the symbolic reference of the words tattooed on actor Robert Mitchum's knuckles as the sinister and clever Reverend Harry Powell. Mitchum, in one of the greatest acting performances in the history of film as the Reverend marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their late-father hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery, which sentenced him to death in West Virginia. Which brings us back to the "Love" and "Hate." Those words again for the love of her children, the widow, played by Shelley Winters, marries the Reverend to protect her kids and provide for them. However, the Hate inside his heart for the kids because they refuse to say where their dead dad's money is leads the story of the film to spiral into dark territory. Unlike other films released during this time, The Night of the Hunter was not only very poetic, its cinematography was very experimental and expressionistic and decades ahead of what anyone was doing back then. The film, also staring the brilliant Lillian Gish, is a classic thriller and as October brings people to watch thrilling and suspenseful films to get ready for Halloween, this is one to watch.