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The Night of the Hunter [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs] [Blu-ray] [1955]

  • SKU: 24827264
  • Release Date: 04/08/2014
  • Rating: NR

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

    Special Features

    • Disc One:
    • Audio commentary by second-unit director Terry Sanders, film critic F.X. Feeney, archivist Robert Gitt, and author Preston Neal Jones
    • New documentary featuring interviews with producer Paul Gregory, Sanders, Feeney, Jones, and author Jeffrey Couchman
    • New interview with Charles Laghton biographer Simon Callow
    • Clip from the Ed Sullivan Show in which cast members perform a deleted scene
    • Fifteen-minute archival interview with cinematographer Stanley Cortez
    • Gallery of sketches by Davis Grubb, author of the source novel
    • Trailer
    • Disc Two:
    • Charles Laughton directs "The Night Of The Hunter," a two-and-a-half-hour treasure trove of outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage
    • New conversation between Gitt and film critic Leonard maltin about Charles Laughton Directs


    The Night of the Hunter
    Adapted by James Agee from a novel by Davis Grubb, The Night of the Hunter represented legendary actor Charles Laughton's only film directing effort. Combining stark realism with Germanic expressionism, the movie is a brilliant good-and-evil parable, with "good" represented by a couple of farm kids and a pious old lady, and "evil" literally in the hands of a posturing psychopath. Imprisoned with thief Ben Harper (Peter Graves), phony preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) learns that Ben has hidden a huge sum of money somewhere near his home. Upon his release, the murderously misogynistic Powell insinuates himself into Ben's home, eventually marrying his widow Willa (Shelley Winters). Eventually all that stands between Powell and the money are Ben's son (Billy Chapin) and daughter (Sally Jane Bruce), who take refuge in a home for abandoned children presided over by the indomitable, scripture-quoting Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish). The war of wills between Mitchum and Gish is the heart of the film's final third, a masterful blend of horror and lyricism. Laughton's tight, disciplined direction is superb -- and all the more impressive when one realizes that he intensely disliked all child actors. The music by Walter Schumann and the cinematography of Stanley Cortez are every bit as brilliant as the contributions by Laughton and Agee. Overlooked on its first release, The Night of the Hunter is now regarded as a classic. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Robert Mitchum
      Robert Mitchum - Preacher Harry Powell
    • Shelley Winters
      Shelley Winters - Willa Harper
    • Lillian Gish
      Lillian Gish - Rachel Cooper
    • Billy Chapin
      Billy Chapin - John Harper
    • Evelyn Varden
      Evelyn Varden - Icey Spoon

    Customer rating

    Rating 5 out of 5 stars with 2 reviews

    would recommend to a friend

    Most relevant reviews

    See all customer reviews
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Charles Laughton's Magnum Opus!

      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      It's unfortunate that Night of the Hunter wasn't well received when it was originally released or we may have gotten more from (actor) director, Charles Laughton. This southern Gothic thriller revolves around a bank robber, his family and the serial killer cellmate (Robert Mitchum) he meets in prison who masquerades as a preacher. I won't divulge any more than that for those reading who haven't seen this gem, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention the chills I get every time I watch the underwater scene with Shelley Winters. This tale has a creepy atmosphere that will appeal to horror fans and film-noir fans alike. A must for any true lover of classic films. The blu-ray itself looks amazing for a flick that's nearly 60 years old. Criterion rarely fails and really exceeded expectations on this one. In case you're wondering why this one is expensive (even by Criterion standards), it's a 2-disc set (both discs are blu-rays) with disc-2 containing an amazing film in it's own right, titled: Charles Laughton Directs "The Night of the Hunter" which clocks in at a hefty 2.5 hours and explores both the film and Laughton. I was lucky enough to snag this one, along with others, during Best Buy's Criterion sale. A word of advice... the packaging on this release is somewhat fragile (digipack), so you may want to pick this one up in store (or site to store) rather than risk potential damage during shipping.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great movie that was shocking when released.

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Great movie that was shocking when first released. Robert Mitchum is great as an evil preacher.

      I would recommend this to a friend

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