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The Night of the Hunter

December 10, 2008

A-mazing. Watch it before reading.

The first half of it is brilliantly constructed, creepy and entertaining, but the second half just takes it to Mars. At last, someone put a gun in Lillian Gish’s hands. The cut to her — on the off-beat (not the beat, the off-beat — this har’s syncopated editing) — during Robert Mitchum’s creepy night hymn-sing, sitting guard in a rocking chair with a rifle, no longer the distressed damsel of countless D.W. Griffith’s but the defender of house and home . . . priceless. Unexpected and perfect. The script for this is absolutely beautiful.

Grace moment: Mitchum’s creepy psychopathic hymn-singing was surprisingly effective throughout the movie, but when Lillian Gish joins in on counterpoint, you know who’s going to win this showdown.

  1. pointy07 permalink*
    December 11, 2008 8:31 am

    You can watch The Night of the Hunter for free on Hulu (like I did last night)!

  2. jaynelovesvera permalink*
    December 13, 2008 11:49 pm

    This is one of those perfect films. A hundred different shots from this would make great paintings. I’ve never understood why Charles Laughton never directed again.

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