The Night of the Hunter – Visual Masterpiece

February 20, 2008


The Night of the Hunter is a black and white film staring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish (man she is good). It is an outstanding, not hard-boiled, example of film noir. Director, Charles Laughton, is amazing at using sets to make seemingly two dimensional sets with an unworldly quality, not unlike films of the German Expressionist movement and the feel of the Twilight Zone.

The film is about a psychotic ‘priest’ who marries the widow of a man he killed in prison in order to get a hold of previously stolen money. This leads to him stalking two children. Talk about crazy religious people, this movie has ’em. The combination of fundamentalist christian ideals and a blood thirsty mad man brings this chilling movie way up on my list. I mean, come on, who doesn’t like to cast a cynical eye on fundamentalists.

This film went on to inspire John Kricfalcusi, the animator best known for the Ren and Stimpy Show. For anyone who has seen Ren and Stimpy I think it will be obvious. Many of his human caricatures look strikingly like Robert Mitchum.


I love this shot, Shelley Winters looking hopeful right after she has been slapped by her psycho husband


The use of cut out sets and splashes of light to create a scene


Again, cut out set. So good


I like this framing


2D buildings look great and that fake sky is so wonderful


Fake horizon is perfect with a horse riding on it


Whistler’s Mother with a shot gun


Marven K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!


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