The performances of Gish and Mitchum are simply outstanding. This film scared me when I was a teenager. And, I dare say that it will do the same even now. So glad that it was shot in black and white. It is such a pity that it was only feature film which Charles Laughton had directed, but, what a film. Thankfully, I will be able to share it with a younger generation. The Night of the Hunter is one of those films which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Robert Mitchum is not the kind of preacher you'd want showing up at your doorstep. The LOVE/HATE tattoos on his knuckles, in 1955!, illustrate he's the antithesis of goodness. He plays evil so well, his performance is chilling. The scene on the basement steps is such a powerful use of light and shadow, this film boasts beautiful black and white cinematography. I was introduced to this film in one of Roger Ebert's books, and thankfully so. There's a reason this mystery thriller is a classic!
One of the most beautiful films ever photographed, and monument to medium of film. Charles Laughton pushes the boundaries of film, using shadow and light to help tell his story. And this says nothing of the tour de force performance by Robert Mitchum, one of the most frightening cinematic villains in history. Highly recommended.