Night of the Hunter

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Charles Laughton

REVIEWED: 07-28-97

When he died earlier this month, the image of Robert Mitchum that flashed across the minds of most film fans was of two outstretched fists--one tattooed "hate" and the other "love." Night of the Hunter is a film buff's movie, beloved for its stark black-and-white imagery, its poetic script by James Agee, and its cult cachet--being both a commercial flop and the only film directed by Charles Laughton has simply bolstered its reputation. Anchoring the legend is Mitchum as a homicidal evangelist with a mellifluous Southern accent and an eerie cunning. If you hear cineastes discussing the film in hushed tones, it's only because Mitchum and Laughton have conspired to get under our skins and tattoo their story on our bones.

--Jim Ridley

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