Simon Callow's "The Night of the Hunter" is a fairly engrossing and respectable addition to the BFI Film Classics series, though I have to admit that it's not without its problems. After a brief introductory section, Callow delves at length into David Grubb's novel in order to illuminate how Laughton's excellent film closely mirrors the novelist's work. Also, we're given information concerning Laughton's acting career. As distinguished and idiosyncratic as it was, this inclusion, like the extensive quoting from the novel, takes up valuable space. And since Laughton does no acting in the film, it's somewhat superfluous. Be that as it may, Callow goes on to provide a thorough recounting of the collaborative process surrounding the making of "The Night of the Hunter", which falls soundly within the realm of pertinence. Unfortunately, there's scant discussion about the actual film itself as a completed entity, which brought to mind Schickel's BFI monograph on "Double Indemnity". The 'Reputation' segment is good, with comments from diverse critics. Callow finally hits his stride in 'Coda: A View', which contains a brief, if more or less in-depth commentary about the film.
Overall, I liked this book. But, for me, it lacks the zest and infectious passion of, say, Jim Kitses' "Gun Crazy", and the analytic ferocity of, for example, David Rudkin's "Vampyr".