Thursday, May 3, 2007

DVD Pick:-->"The Night Of The Hunter" (1955)

"Once I was a ruler
About twelve inches long.
Three times me made a yardstick
36 inches high.
36 inches high was I.
36 inches high.
l never got over 36 inches high.
Nick Lowe
For those who have only watched "The Night Of The Hunter" (1955) on TV along with the frustrating slew of commercial interruptions owe it to themselves to give this movie another go.

This initially panned classic, directed by Charles Laughton, is a black and white thriller filled with beautiful camera shots and angles that give the viewer an almost surreal feeling throughout the entire film.

In much the same way a really intense dream we may have had about...nothing important...can sometimes imprint its memory into your mind...simply because of its ordinariness...Is exactly the effect Laughton's "The Night Of The Hunter" has on viewers. And the film is not soon forgotten..

This goodie revolves around a couple of young children who are left a slew of money to hide by their soon-to-be-executed father. (The scenes with the children and Robert Mitchum were surprisingly directed by Mitchum because Laughton did NOT like working with children)

Robert Mitchum, in a career defining role, plays the villainous "Hunter". He soon finds out about the do-re-mi and masks his true intent by hiding behind the word of God as a traveling preacher. With the letters LOVE and HATE tattooed on either knuckles, our villain spouts his parables of how good conquers evil at every turn.
Tattooed knuckles

From time to time...I have encountered a person who has such an unusual zeal for the Lord...that I found it...unnerving. Not because of their love of God...but how they chose to convey their enthusiasm. Mitchum understands this and delivers his faith by making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Let me be up front...and this by no means gives anything away...The "Hunter" (Robert Mitchum) is a serial killer. He travels the country preying on widows...taking all their money...and leaving them for dead. Giving props to the Lord for guiding him along the way.

Mitchum plays his character with an almost even-keel emotion (like a barker at a carnival) that when Mitchum does lose it for a truly startles. Good stuff!

This eventually leads to an encounter with a widow lady (played by Lillian Gish) who has a strong faith in God, too. And thus, a proverbial showdown between good and evil finally comes to a head.

The camera work throughout this film is the movie almost a fairytale feel. There are many subtle scenes that stand out...but would sound my poor descriptions. But be assured...the images will stay in your head long after the movie has been returned.

Watch for the outline of Mitchum slowly riding horseback and singing hymns while casting his figure against the distant horizon in his deliberate search for the children. When the boy sees and hears the "Hunter" far causes him to whisper..."Doesn't he ever sleep?" Good stuff!


Nick Lowe-->"36 Inches High" off Pure Pop For Now People (1978) (Own This CD)


Liberty said...

Excellent review!!!! You need to be in print somewhere Casey. Your movie and book reviews are great!

whiteray said...

Hey Casey,I saw you stopped by.

I'm fine. As I mentioned in a post somewhere, the Texas Gal and I are on the road. We spent a few days in Texas -- Dallas and San Antonio, and then a dayt in Eureka Springs, Ark., and are now on the way home. (Cameron, Missouri, for tonight and home tomorrow.)

I'll be posting Monday for sure, perhaps Sunday. Lots of ideas. But if you have an idea for an out of print CD or an album that never made it to print, let me know. I might find it in the stacks.

Thanks for checking! I'll be back soon!

Casey said...

Liberty-->Thanks for the kind words and dropping a comment my way. I still get excited when that happens!

WhiteRay-->It's good to hear you're enjoying yourself. And i look forward to a new post from ya real soon!