The Night of the Hunter

Charles Laughton’s dark masterpiece plays in honor of Robert Mitchum’s 100th birthday.

Part of our Robert Mitchum 100th Birthday celebration —

NR, 93 minutes

Sun 7:30: Special intro by Jonathan Knipp (UIUC Media & Cinema Studies)

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork, regularly ranked as one of the greatest films of all time. A Gothic thriller with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, like Tom Sawyer trapped in a film noir, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil. (1952, Charles Laughton, US, NR, 93 min, DCP)

“One of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many “great movies” are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career.” -Chicago Sun-Times: Roger Ebert (Great Movies)

“An enduring masterpiece – dark, deep, beautiful, aglow.” -Chicago Reader

“It’s the most haunted and dreamlike of all American films, a gothic backwoods ramble with the Devil at its heels.” -Time Out London

 


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