The Night of the Hunter

(Some of the) Best Movies You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of 
 

Director: 
Charles Laughton
Year: 
1955
Rating: 
Not Rated
Run Time: 
92 mins
Cast: 
Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil.