The Night of the Hunter
About as great a film as you can expect for your handful of dollars at the ticket window, it’s got everything and more.
The essential line is very abstruse, God the father steals a tithe from men and confers it upon the children (cf. Edwin Sherin’s Valdez Is Coming).
Cassavetes’ Gloria is a peculiarly close analysis. Forbes’ Whistle Down the Wind comes into play at the end.
The film, the director and the actors were variously contemned at the time but now are recognized. And because the film met with no success, various myths have grown up around its making.
The work is given by Laughton, Agee, Cortez, and the cast. Laughton’s America is new in the country, old in the city. Foolish widows and graceless old maids dominate the landscape, with an effective compromise in a mother hen gathering the strays.
The starkness of Mitchum’s character is a brutal shock even after Manson. So many impressions are rendered visually, the film stops for a selah of closeup too, that critics were simply befuddled. There’s now been time to think about it all.
Laughton starred in Erich Pommer’s only film, Vessel of Wrath, and presumably got the point.