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The Night of the Hunter (Bilingual)

Robert Mitchum , Shelley Winters    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.95
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The Night Of The Hunter The Night Of The Hunter 4.4 out of 5 stars (103)
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Product Description


The 2010 Criterion Collection release of The Night of the Hunter includes extras that no fan of mid-century American film should be without. The Night of the Hunter was the only film directed by actor Charles Laughton, and Laughton, in addition to being a splendid character actor and masterful director, was also a compulsive archivist, it turns out. The most compelling feature in the Criterion Collection package is an amazing two-and-a-half-hour "film diary" of the making of The Night of the Hunter, culled from hundreds of hours of random footage shot during filming, and then stashed for years in the home of Laughton's widow, actress Elsa Lanchester. In the 1970s, film archivist Robert Gitt and many others tackled the laborious challenge of screening and matching the contents of the film canisters over the better part of two decades. The result is Charles Laughton Directs "The Night of the Hunter", as intimate and illuminating a piece of film history as anything in recent memory. Gitt himself speaks with film critic Leonard Maltin about the contents of the footage in an animated 20-minute introductory conversation that shows both men practically giddy with the riches revealed in the assembled outtakes. And giddy they should be. Charles Laughton Directs "The Night of the Hunter" preserves Laughton's on- and off-camera coaching of all the actors, including Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters (with whom he clearly had a fractious relationship), and the two child actors, Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce (with whom he's very gentle and coaxing). The result is an even greater appreciation for the weird darkness and creepiness of The Night of the Hunter, and for the brilliance of all the minds involved in making it. "Just lie there and be seraphic," Maltin quotes Laughton as saying in the intro chat, laughing. "That's got to be the first and only time that specific direction has ever been given in Hollywood."

Other extras in this rich set include audio commentary; film bios and interviews of the talented cinematographer Stanley Cortez and others; footage of the actors on The Ed Sullivan Show performing a scene deleted from the final cut; and much more. Any fan of The Night of the Hunter will not want to miss this very special collector's edition. --A.T. Hurley

Product Description

La Nuit du chasseur (titre original : The Night of the Hunter) est un film américain réalisé par Charles Laughton en 1955. Il est tiré du roman éponyme de Davis Grubb, et publié en 1953....Dans les années 1930, lors d'un court séjour en prison, le pasteur Harry Powell a comme compagnon de cellule Ben Harper, un homme désespéré qui, pour sauver sa famille, a commis un hold-up et assassiné deux hommes. Powell cherche à faire dire à Harper où se trouvent les 10 000 dollars dérobés, mais celui-ci ne cède pas. Le prêcheur fanatique se rend chez la veuve de Harper, qui a été pendu. Willa Harper ne tarde pas à épouser l'homme d'Église, ne voulant pas voir que ce dernier ne désire qu'une chose : faire avouer à ses enfants, John et Pearl, l'emplacement du magot.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't he never sleep? Feb. 22 2007
The best kind of horror comes not from monsters or ghosts, but from other human beings. "Cape Fear," "Heavenly Creatures," and other such movies are brilliant examples of this.

But one of the most compelling examples is "Night of the Hunter," a haunting movie that slowly descends into an exquisitely-filmed, brilliantly-acted nightmare about a malign preacher and the two children who are trying to escape. Like an old fairy tale, it's full of terror, magic, beauty and darkness.

Murderous preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is arrested for car theft, since the police don't know that his hatred of women has led him to repeated murder. He shares a prison cell with bank robber Ben Harper (Peter Graves), who stole ten thousand dollars. Powell tries to coax the location of the money from Harper, but the thief takes it to his grave. Only his son John (Billy Chapin) knows its location.

Upon his release, Powell arrives in Harper's town, claiming that he wants to "bring this small comfort to [Ben's] loved ones." Everyone is taken in by him, including his new wife -- Ben's gullible widow, Willa (Shelley Winters). When she vanishes, John and his little sister Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) must escape their evil stepfather -- even though he's determined to hunt them down and find the money.

When it was first released, "Night of the Hunter" flopped completely. Not very surprising -- the 1950s audiences weren't ready for the unconventional villains, rich symbolism, or the fact that an actor had dared to stray into a director's chair. Fortunately, it lived on as a cult film, and is now regarded as a classic.

It's especially sad that Laughton never directed again, because this is simply astonishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaning, leaning, leaning..... Nov. 3 2002
A father, Ben Harper, commits murder and steals $10,000, which he hides in a secret place the police will not search. The only people who know where the money is hidden are his son John and daughter Pearl. In prison where the father is anticipating his execution, he shares a cell with Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) who overhears Ben's secret about the money while he is talking in his sleep. When Ben is executed, Harry travels to the hometown of John and Pearl determined to find the money at all costs. The Night of the Hunter is a tremendously well written story that provides wise insights in human nature and the moral predicament of human ambiguity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 35mm Print Aug. 10 2002
By A Customer
A 35mm print is wider than 1.33:1. This dvd should be available in wide screen.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Night of the Hunter May 3 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It turned out that I could not play this DVD on North American DVD players. The coding was set to play only in Europe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant cinematography! April 25 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Stunning work from collaboration of Laughton and Cortz. The use of light, the framing and perspective are unique and dramatic. Only in "Last year at Marienbad" by Alain Resnais, and "Angel-A" by Luc Besson, have I seen this kind of attention to style in B&W cinematography. The story and characters are compelling, but I add it to my collection of study for the unique style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting The Night of the Hunter Feb. 10 2014
I recently watched this classic film directed by Charles Laughton that great actor who played Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I had to watch it at night instead of the daytime, as it is a film that should be viewed when the sun goes down, when the owls watch over the moonlight and when the night rabbits dig below the grass. I watched it again, not just because visually, it is one of the greatest films ever made but because something always seems to be missing in the ending of the Night of the Hunter. We all know what happens at the end of this film, the children John and Pearl who have been relentlessly pursued by the evil preacher for their dead fathers stolen cash end up at an orphanage run by Liilian Gish, a God fearing and loving woman who shelters homeless children and protects them with her rifle in hand. Lillian takes aim at the preacher shooting him in the arm where he then runs into her barn until the police find him and arrest him for the murder of John and Pearls mother. Boy, does this preacher sure get off easy. He cons his way through the film, kills the mother of the children and drowns her at the bottom of a lake while he psychologically tortures her children. He is one bad dude with a bad attitude with the words love and hate tattooed across his knuckles. Somebody kill this guy already! It is obvious by his behaviour that he cannot be redeemed. Lillian Gish has a rifle but just injures the guy then she talks to the camera near the end and everyone celebrates Christmas. I was very disappointed with how the film ends. The ending is too moralistic and preachy like the preacher in the film. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome purchase! Sept. 1 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Fantastic film receives a fantastic treatment from The Criterion Collection - it was a great buy! Would highly recommend for a gift.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chef-d oeuvre Dec 24 2012
By Luigi
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Le film de Laughton est une oeuvre sombre, dure, brillante. Mitchum incarne un des plus grands contre-emploi de l<histoire du cinema.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love hate, good evil
The best kind of horror comes not from monsters or ghosts, but from other human beings. "Cape Fear," "Heavenly Creatures," and other such movies are brilliant examples of... Read more
Published on May 1 2011 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Night of the Hunter
Item arrived in good time - despite it being ordered so close to Christmas. Excellent packaging and condition. Will use again, without doubt.
Published on Feb. 18 2009 by Jacqueline Woods-powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood itself is under attack
It does not surprise me to see so many negative reviews. Almost every film I would call a masterpiece gets the same treatment. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by TL
1.0 out of 5 stars If this is a masterpiece, so is a paint-by-# of Mona Lisa
I am still wondering why this film has so much admiration, being called brilliant, a masterpiece, terrifying, etc. etc. Because I was laughing most of the way through it... Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be ranked with "Citizen Kane."
Charles Laughton, one of the greatest actors of Hollywood's Golden Age, made his directorial debut at age 56 with "Night of the Hunter. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by Miles D. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Mitchum is killer. Everyone else is filler.
I recently screened "Night of the Hunter" with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters. Winters, in my opinion, is THE worst actress of all time. Read more
Published on June 14 2003 by Ed Kaz
5.0 out of 5 stars A Preacher's River, But Without A Baptism
When unctuous Reverend Harry Powell (Mitchum) learns where a convicted criminal has stashed some money, he literally casts an ominous shadow on his Depression-era, West Virginia... Read more
Published on May 12 2003
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