The Night of the Hunter
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.