Sunday, March 28, 2010

#80 The Night of the Hunter - Don't trust the wolf in sheep's clothing

1955. dir. Charles Laughton, starring Robert Mitchum, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish.

Seen it before? No.

Robert Mitchum plays a bad, bad man dressed as a preacher who seduces people with words, marries widows and slays them for their money. This time his pray was Shelley Winters whose husband was executed for stealing a great amount of money. Everyone in the town believes Harry Powell (Mitchum) is benevolent to a fault and only wants to help the recently widowed Willa Harper raise her two children, John and Pearl. But we see the truth. The man is cold, calculating and manipulative. He rebuffs Willa. He calls John a sinner and does a whole slew of bad things while telling nosy neighbors Icey and Walt Spoon that Willa turned him down, etc.

Sam's least favorite character is probably my favorite. I loved Lillian Gish's Mrs. Cooper. She was smart, sassy, and generous. She took in John and Pearl when they had no where else to turn. And believed John over the words of Powell.

I think this movie is worth seeing. I hated every grown-up in the movie except for Mrs. Cooper. I thought it was annoying that people ate up every word Powell said. Watch the movie and you'll see what I mean. I won't blow the ending for you.

Watch it again? Yes
Own it? No real need to.

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