The Night of the Hunter

Drama · 
Thriller · 

Release Date: August 26, 1955

Status: Released

Running time: 1h 33m

Budget: $795,000

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The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American film noir thriller directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. The screenplay by James Agee was based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb. The plot involves a serial killer who poses as a preacher and charms an unsuspecting widow to get his hands on $10,000 in stolen bank loot hidden by her executed husband.

The novel and film draw on the true story of Harry Powers, who was hanged in 1932 for the murder of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The film's lyrical and expressionistic style, borrowing techniques from silent film, sets it apart from other Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s, and it has influenced such later directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Robert Altman, and Martin Scorsese.Despite receiving negative reviews upon its original release, it has been positively re-evaluated in later decades and is now considered one of the greatest films ever made. It was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1992. The influential French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma selected The Night of the Hunter in 2008 as the second-best film of all time, behind Citizen Kane. In spite of the film's later acclaim, the negative reaction to its premiere made it Charles Laughton's only feature film as director.

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