It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, the robbery because he is unable to provide for his family, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his infant daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, who Ben believes is too idealistic, of where he hid the money, namely in Pearl's favorite toy, a doll that she carries everywhere with her. Ben, who is captured, tried and convicted, is sentenced to death. But before he is executed, Ben is in the state penitentiary with a cell mate, a man by the name of Harry Powell, a self-professed man of the cloth, who is really a con man and murderer, he who swindles lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. The authorities are unaware of these crimes, Harry who is incarcerated on a thirty day sentence for car theft. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. ... Written by
The sequence purportedly showing the preacher riding a horse in the distance was filmed in false perspective and was actually a midget astride a pony. See more »
The turtle that John says could be made into soup is actually a desert tortoise, not found in West Virginia/Kentucky. See more »
Rev. Harry Powell:
[when he notices John staring at the words "love" and "hate" tattooed across his knuckles]
Ah, little lad, you're staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E! It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E! You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man. The right hand, friends, the hand of love. Now watch, ...
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Beautiful cinematography and an epic tale of the struggle between good and evil
The first time I saw this film was probably more than ten years ago on a late Monday night on the BBC. At such a time on such a day one never expects to be shown something decent. But 'Night of the hunter' proved to be one of the best films I have ever seen. The cinematography is breathtaking, especially the river journey of the two children who are fleeing for the evil and demented preacher who killed their mother. Never have I seen nature being portrayed in such a mysterious and dangerous way. The sharp contrasts of light, the dark church in the distance which symbolises the dangerous preacher. The film made me think of the books of Flannery 'O Connor, especially the strange and mysterious southern tale Wise Blood.
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