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The Night of the Hunter

4.3 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Billy Chapin, Lillian Gish, Peter Graves
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: MGM
  • Release Date: March 8 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0007XBKI6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,119 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

A tall, handsome preacher his knuckles eerily tattooed with love and hate roams the countryside, spreading the gospel...and leaving a trail of murdered women in his wake. To Reverend Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), the work of the Lord has more to do with condemning souls than saving them,especially when his own interests are involved. Now his sights are set on $10,000and two little children are the only ones who know where it is. Chill...dren! the preacher croons to the terrified boy and girl hiding in the cold, dark cellar...innocent young lambs who refuse to be led astray. A finely acted, imaginatively directed chiller with brooding power (Variety), The Night of the Hunter stars Mitchum in the most daring and critically acclaimed performance of his career. Spellbinding, ominous, and hauntingly suspenseful, this extraordinary film noir classic remains one of the most frightening movies ever made (Pauline Kael).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: VHS Tape
"The Night of the Hunter" stars Robert Mitchum as the hypocritical and unholy preacher, Harry Powell. Harry Powell is a chilling villain, complete with LOVE and HATE tattooed on his knuckles. The story is about a man who robs a bank and kills some people. He is sentenced to be hanged. The man tells his son to hide the money, for one day it will be his. He makes his son promise to hide it at all costs. In his cell, he meets Harry Powell, who unsuccessfully attempts to find out where the money is hid. The man is hanged and Harry is soon released from prison. He charms the widow and tries to get the son to tell him where the money is hid. Soon, he eradicates the woman after getting married to her, and sets his sites on the children. Although this film is eerie and a classic, most of the characters are a bit annoying, except Robert Mitchum's Harry Powell. And Harry Powell doesn't even compare to Mitchum's psychopath character Max Cady in "Cape Fear". But, still, for those fans of Mitchum, I recommend this movie.
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But is He? Both Mitchum and Gish's characters quote Him and talk to Him non-stop. In Gish's case she's good hearted, in Mitchum's case--well, he's got a slight problem with women. . .
It would be a mistake to think of Mitcheum's 'Love/Hate' tatoo'ed gothic murderer as a phony. He is a con man but he is not a hypocrite to himself because he's in touch with his version of The Almighty. One who doesn't mind killing but 'lacey things. '
This is part of the film's horror. We are in W. Virginia depression Bible-thumping rural Americana in this one. A Protestant tour de force, with angels and devils in dust filled roads. Very ambiguous towards the feminine.
Charles Laughton's only shot as a director and brother, does he ever hit the mark! The film has obvious influences from German expressionism--the 'A' framed steeple/ bedroom- which turns into a 'shadow church' just before Winter's murder, to give one example. But it also borrows effectively from other genres including Greek tragedy, where not a single act of violence takes place "on stage". Paradoxically, this serves to intensify the suspense. The audience feels that something horrible is about to happen to the children fleeing Mitchum's howling preacher.
For the critics who were unmoved, It sounds as if they were expecting too much. After all, if one gave away the ending to any film, (especially a thriller!) and hyped it up as the greatest of all time one could turn the audience off to anything...
Just watch it.
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Format: DVD
I first saw this movie with my sorority sisters on tv in the sixties, and it scared all of us to death. I can remember very clearly the scene where Shelly Winters is underwater with her hair floating upwards, and it still gives me chills. What scared me most was that all the characters were nightmarishly unreal except for the boy and Lillian Gish. Even little Pearl wasn't realistically written...what child can sing the way she does in the floating boat? Later, thanks to a viewing of "The Lusty Men," I became a real fan of Robert Mitchum and never missed an opportunity to watch him. Whether playing a moonshiner in "Thunder Road" (incidentally, I know all the words to the song, too!), to watching end-of-career interviews on AMC, I saw them all. Many of the reviews I have seen online of this movie("Night of the Hunter") make much of the fact that James Agee wrote the script. In an interview Mitchum said the original script by Agee had to be completely rewritten by Charles Laughton who got absolutely no credit for it. He also said the German Impressionist look to the movie came about for the same reason original German Impressionism was invented: no money! The really creepy scene where the boy says "Don't he ever sleep?" while looking out the window at Mitchum's silhouette on the horizon is an optical illusion. That's really a midget on a pony inside a sound studio, photographed to look like a long shot of Mitchum. The budget was miniscule for the movie because nobody wanted to invest a lot in Laughton's initial directorial effort.
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