The Night of the Hunter

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, November 02, 2009
The Night of the Hunter is an American film made in 1955. It was directed by Charles Laughton and by what I've read of him, he was a miserable bloke. He was known for playing the Captain in the 1930's film 'Mutiny of the Bounty'. I found out, after watching The Night of the Hunter that the scenes that included children (Which confuses me, as about 70% of the film's scenes included them) were directed by Robert Mitchum (Who played the preacher, Harry Powell) who is uncredited as a director. The reason for this is that Laughton didn't like children at all. After Night of the Hunter was released, with commercial failure, Laughton gave up his directing career.

Overall, I think the film was very enjoyable. Although the plot was quite predictable, the story was very good. The cinematography and locations were portrayed brilliantly, from the misty dark house where the preacher first appears, to the bright farmhouse where the children are eventually rescued, the lighting and enviroment is impressive. One part, which Phil pointed out, where the enviroment and set really shines, is when the children are sailing down the river. The progression of the river includes showing different animals, and the starry background behind reall creates the lonely atmosphere. The constant theme of the river throughout the film also adds to the splendor.

The film wasn't too far fromlast week's German silent films. The lighting in some scenes was similar, using very odd shadows and saturated rooms. I also noticed the contrast between the lighting when the preacher was in the children's home, with dark lighting, foggy surroundings and eery shadows compared the the last few scenes in the old ladies house, where the lighting was bright, and the mood much happier.

I prefered this film to the two German expressionist ones from last week, mainly because I find it easier to understand and follow a character if they have dialogue, which for me, made the Preacher character very sinister, intimidating and wild.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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