The Night of the Hunter
DIRECTOR: CHARLES LAUGHTON
CAST: ROBERT MITCHUM, SHELLEY WINTERS, LILLIAN GISH, JAMES GLEASON
Charles Laughton never directed another film after this chilling masterpiece of psychological horror, making The Night of the Hunter one of the great one-offs in movie history. Robert Mitchum is at his most menacing as an ex-con disguised as a preacher, romancing and marrying a lonely widow (Shelley Winters) with the plans of murdering her and her two sweet children, and then digging up her late husband’s buried treasure. From this simple premise and a screenplay by film critic James Agee, Laughton creates a work of eerie Expressionist beauty, with the feel of a particularly grim fairy tale, made up of one unforgettable black-and-white composition after another.