Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Night of the Hunter

First, I want thank all of you for the best-wishes yesterday.

I wish I could say Rian and I had some elaborate, amazing celebration, but unfortunately, lack of finances prevented us from doing so. We merely went out for dinner and a few drinks. We're saving up money to do something spectacular six months from now.

We did, however, cozy up on the couch and watch a fantastic movie.

Rian's friend, who is a film professor at a local university, suggested Night of the Hunter to us.

This 1955 sadistic fairytale is way ahead of its time. It focuses on religious hypocrisy, blind greed, and inexcusable ignorance.

Dashing cinema hunk Robert Mitchum plays the psychotic preacher Harry Powell. During a prison stint, he bunks with a bank robber, who is rumored to have stashed $10,000 somewhere. Upon his release, Harry goes to the robber's hometown and courts his grieving widow to obtain the money. Only her young children stand in the way between him and the fortune...

As the preacher, Robert Mitchum is without a doubt one of the most frightening villains in Hollywood history. His calm demeanor mixed with hollow, menacing eyes are enough to make your skin crawl. His haunting voice serenading the children with a sinister lullaby adds to the horror.

The film itself is a work of art. The cinematography is stunning, creating a surrealistic atmosphere. The striking symbolism sprinkled throughout the plot and the scenery make it seem almost magical.

The lighting in this film also steals the show. Shadows and moonlight are like actors in a way, setting the scene and hinting at danger. To put it simply, it is a beautiful film to watch.

I was astonished to learn that when this film came out, it was a critical failure. It was the first film of aspiring-director Charles Laughton. The reviews were so bad, Charles never directed another film again. He was so disappointed.

But 50-some years later, audiences are re-discovering the gem and calling it one of the greatest movies ever made. I believe movie-watchers in the 1950s simply were not ready for this film yet. Nothing like it had existed before. It was too creepy. The studio tried selling it as a horror-romance, when it was really a horror film about children. Which confused people.

If you enjoy old movies, crave suspense, and appreciate cinematic beauty, I highly recommend Night of the Hunter.

If you do end up watching it, let me know what you think!


Anonymous said...

I think this movie would scare the crap out of me.

azu said...

I agree with debbiecutieface lol. It sounds awesome even though I'm a huge chicken.

It's a shame when some things aren't appreciated until much later. Kind of like when a talented artist dies...they make more money after they've died.

And hey, don't feel bad about not doing anything extravagant for your anniversary. My boyfriend and I went hiking for ours last year. But it was so much fun. It's now one of our favorite things to do :)



Gayatri said...

I think everything is worth one watch! So this is definitely on my to-watch list!


That 20 Something Virgin. said...

I've heard of Charles Laughton (for seeing him as Quasimodo in the 30's version of Hunchback of Notre Dame) but I've never heard of this movie. Sounds interesting though!

And going out for dinner/ drinks is still a fun way to celebrate your anniversary. And at least you'll get to do something cool in six months too.

Sarah said...

The screenshots look amazing!

love jenny xoxo said...

Happy Belated Birthday!!! Looks like a good movie, I will have to check that out! I've been meaning to watch some classics!


Arielle said...

I love Robert Mitchum so I need to watch this. Old thriller movies were way better back then than now.


Becca said...

I actually LOVE this movie. It dare scare the crap out of me. But given the year it was made and everything WAYY before it's time. Excellent review!

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

I should have guessed that a boring Rom-Com would not do the trick for you on your Anniversary movie night! ;-) You know, I don't think I have actually ever watched that movie, but I love Robert Mitchum. Will try and catch it before the Holidays. Thanks for the review, Jenny. -- Veronique

Belly B said...

You know Jennifer, this is why I love reading your blog. You are SO SMART and it really reflects in the way you write. I literally leave your blog feeling smarter after every post.

Belly B :)

Meri said...

Looks like an interesting movie. I'm excited to see what you're saving up to do for your anniversary!

SassyUptownChic said...

Robert Mitchum is a hell of an actor. I love the classics, but have never seen this one. I'll put this in my Netflix lineup. :D

Josie said...

I think your quiet night with Rian sounds perfect! And it sounds like an awesome movie, though I'd be terrified, I'm sure.
xo Josie

Shybiker said...

I'm a lover of obscure cinema and this is a film I've been telling people about for years. It really is as good as you describe. There's something oddly satisfying about villainous villains.

(My other favorite villain is Gary Oldman in "The Professional" starring Jean Reno. It was Natalie Portman's first movie and she's a kid in it.)

Esmeralda said...

I didn't know Charles Laughton was the director of this amazing film!

Nicole✗✗ said...

Oh my goodness this film sounds amazing!! I'm definitely going to check it out!!

Katie said...

I have to see this movie, sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the scoop.

Kavery said...

It sounds intriguing but not sure my DVD rental place will have it. Perhaps the library might.It's worth a try I think

Maja dahl said...

It sound grat, but I'm too much of a chicken, haha :D

Rachel {Da Paura ♥} said...

Wow, this movie sounds quite intense! I'm excited to hear what fun spectacular thing you guys end up doing in 6 months btw. Dinner & drinks are quite nice though, I must say! Oh and a spectacular movie such as this!


Pratishtha Durga said...

You know what, so many movies are ahead of their time, and get appreciated only much later. I have watched the film, and it's an absolute classic.

Hope your plans for something spectacular for the two of you come alive in the most beautiful way. The two of you are together, and that is fabulous.

have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Movies on my Mind said...

Great film. You're so right in saying it's a movie that was way ahead of its time. Had it been released 15 years later then it would have smashed it. Had it been made now then it'd be considered just another American indie genre piece.

Olga said...

t looks like a really scary movie. But I`ll give it a try :)

Cliff said...

the second pic is kinda creepy but it's so inspiring haha! :D


The Annachrist said...

wooowwww this sounds incredible. I must hunt it down. Really eloquent critique, by the way!

Petra Bellejambes said...

I has been 25 years since I last saw NOTH, but this post so freshens up the memory.

I remember thinking at the time that there were moments when the story and the cutting went from masterpiece to mawkish in a quick minute ... the integrity of the whole movie was dinged up a little by just a couple of short lapses.

But it was gorgeous, and Laughton would no doubt have rivalled Hitchcox, Lean and others of the great English directors.

And Mitchum... as always, menacing and vulnerable all at once. Pretty compelling. Gorgeous. Shame about the hand tatts :)

Loving the site and the things that interest you sweety.

xoxo - Petra