Returning to the big screen early next year in a newly restored print is the Robert Mitchum classic, The Night of the Hunter. The nineteen fifty-five movie was Charles Laughton’s only work in the capacity of director. The film was a critical and commercial failure at the time of release leading to Laughton vowing never to return to the directors chair. It has since been re-evaluated as a classic due to it memorable visuals and Robert Mitchum’s powerhouse performance as Powell the preacher with love and hate tattooed on his knuckles.
Based on a novel by the same name, The Night of the Hunter tells the tale of self-appointed preacher Powell. A sinister yet sensitive character, Powell travels to a small Southern town in search of the family, whose husband and father was recently imprisoned for stealing $10,000. Powell ingratiates himself with the family, marries the mother and attempts to find the hidden money. Lillian Gish, who plays an elderly carer, matches Mitchum’s spellbinding performance. Her casting is apt as Laughton was clearly influenced by the silent masterpieces in which Gish herself starred. Laughton’s use of shadows, light and mise-en-scène gives a dream-like fairy tale quality to a highly original and now much-heralded work.
The Night of The Hunter is released on 17th January 2014