IMDb > The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Night of the Hunter
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The Night of the Hunter (1955) More at IMDbPro »

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The Night of the Hunter -- Three Reasons Criterion trailer
The Night of the Hunter -- Criterion trailer

Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   53,949 votes »
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Writers:
Davis Grubb (from the novel by)
James Agee (screen play)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Night of the Hunter on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 November 1955 (Argentina) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The scenes...the story...The stars BUT ABOVE ALL - THE SUSPENSE! See more »
Plot:
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
One of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Essential viewing for anybody interested in American movies! See more (334 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Mitchum ... Harry Powell

Shelley Winters ... Willa Harper

Lillian Gish ... Rachel Cooper

James Gleason ... Birdie Steptoe
Evelyn Varden ... Icey Spoon

Peter Graves ... Ben Harper

Don Beddoe ... Walt Spoon
Billy Chapin ... John Harper
Sally Jane Bruce ... Pearl Harper
Gloria Castillo ... Ruby (as Gloria Castilo)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emmett Lynn ... Birdie Steptoe (scenes deleted)

Corey Allen ... Young Man in Town (uncredited)
Paul Bryar ... Bart the Hangman (uncredited)
Cheryl Callaway ... Mary (uncredited)

Michael Chapin ... Ruby's Boyfriend (uncredited)
Mary Ellen Clemons ... Clary (uncredited)
Kathy Garver ... Child (uncredited)

James Griffith ... District Attorney (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Townsman Who Greets Rachel (uncredited)
Kay Lavelle ... Miz Cunninghan (uncredited)

Gloria Pall ... Burlesque Dancer (uncredited)
George Wallace ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Charles Laughton 
Robert Mitchum (some Billy Chapin scenes) (uncredited)
Terry Sanders (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Davis Grubb (from the novel by)

James Agee (screen play)

Charles Laughton  screenplay contributor (uncredited)

Produced by
Paul Gregory .... producer
 
Original Music by
Walter Schumann (music by)
 
Cinematography by
Stanley Cortez (photography by)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Golden (film editor)
 
Casting by
Millie Gusse (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Hilyard M. Brown  (as Hilyard Brown)
 
Set Decoration by
Alfred E. Spencer (set decoration) (as Al Spencer)
 
Makeup Department
Don L. Cash .... makeup (as Don Cash)
Kay Shea .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Ruby Rosenberg .... production manager
Frank Parmenter .... production manager: second unit (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Milton Carter .... assistant director
Frank Parmenter .... second unit director (uncredited)
Terry Sanders .... second unit director (uncredited)
Jack Sonntag .... first assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Joe LaBella .... property man (as Joe La Bella)
 
Sound Department
Stanford Houghton .... sound (as Stanford Naughton)
 
Special Effects by
Louis DeWitt .... special photographic effects (as Louis De Witt)
Jack Rabin .... special photographic effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Seymour Hoffberg .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harold E. Wellman .... camera: second unit (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jerry Bos .... wardrobe
Evelyn Carruth .... wardrobe assistant
 
Music Department
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Saul Bass .... publicist (uncredited)
Robert Mitchum .... director: children (uncredited)
Denis Sanders .... unspecified assistant (uncredited)
Terry Sanders .... unspecified assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
92 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (1959) (cut) | Finland:(Banned) (1955) (uncut) | France:U | Germany:12 (re-rating) (2001) | Italy:16+ | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 (2003) | Sweden:11 (re-rating) (2004) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1958) | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) (1955) | UK:12 | UK:X (original rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #17385) | USA:Unrated (video release) | West Germany:16 (re-rating) (VHS) | West Germany:18 (original rating) (1956)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Reports that screenwriter James Agee wrote an incoherent screenplay have been proved false by the 2004 discovery of his first draft. That document, although 293 pages in length, and manifestly overwritten (as is common with first drafts), is, scene-for-scene, the film that Charles Laughton directed. Likewise false are the reports that Agee was fired, related most infamously in Robert Mitchum's autobiography. Laughton, however much he gnashed his teeth at having such a behemoth of a text in his hands with only five weeks to go before the start of principal photography, calmly renewed Agee's contract and directed him to cut it in half; after much persuasion, he did. In Laughton's stage work ("Galileo", "Cain Mutiny Court Martial", etc), the great actor demonstrated he was a script editor of genius - he could induce the most stubborn and prideful writer to cut, cut, cut, and so he did in Agee's case. Later, apparently at Robert Mitchum's request, Agee visited the set to settle a dispute between the star and Laughton. Letters and documents located in the archive of Agee's agent Paul Kohner bear this out -- they were brought to light by Laughton biographer Simon Callow, whose excellent BFI book about "Night of the Hunter" diligently sets this part of the record straight. The Agee first draft may eventually be published, but it has been read by scholars -- most notably, Professor Jeffrey Couchman of Columbia University, who published his findings in an essay, "Credit Where Credit Is Due". To assert Agee's moral right to his screen credit in no way disputes Laughton's greatness as a director -- clearly, he was as expert with writers as he was with actors -- but Agee has been belittled, and even slandered, over the years (especially in Robert Mitchum's autobiography), when his contribution to "Night of the Hunter" was of primary and enduring importance. (Submitted by F. X. Feeney, film critic and author, who has read the original Agee script.)See more »
Goofs:
Errors in geography: The turtle that John says could be made into soup is actually a desert tortoise, not found in West Virginia/Kentucky.See more »
Quotes:
Icey Spoon:What could have possessed that girl?
Rev. Harry Powell:Satan.
Icey Spoon:Ah.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Big Lebowski (1998)See more »
Soundtrack:
Dream, Little One, DreamSee more »

FAQ

Is 'The Night of the Hunter' based on a book?
How does the movie end?
Is this a true story?
See more »
87 out of 113 people found the following review useful.
One of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Essential viewing for anybody interested in American movies!, 20 May 2004
Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia

'The Night Of The Hunter' is recognized by most critics and hard core film buffs as one of the most extraordinary movies ever made, but sadly it's still frequently overlooked by the many movie fans, probably because it's so difficult to categorize. Yes, it's a thriller but it's also a child's nightmare. A Noir but also a fable. Robert Mitchum gives one of his very best performances as Harry Powell, the charming but evil preacher with "love" tattooed on one hand, "hate" on the other. Powell is one of the most memorable screen villains of all time, and 'The Night Of The Hunter' is worth watching just for Mitchum, who is mesmerizing. Shelley Winters is surprisingly effective as the widow Powell woos, Peter Graves has a small role at the beginning as her first husband, and Lillian Gish plays the saintly Ms. Cooper, guardian of unwanted children. Because this movie isn't set in isn't the "real world" many viewers don't know exactly how to react to it. Charles Laughton's small town America is a stylized, dreamlike place, in some ways not unlike David Lynch's twisted world depicted in 'Blue Velvet' and 'Twin Peaks'. It also reminds me of Flannery O'Connor's Gothic South in her classic novels 'Wise Blood' and 'The Violent Bear It Away'. Some of the scenes involving Powell menacing Winters' children deliberately invoke James Whale's 'Frankenstein', and the sequence depicting the children's journey down the river is charming but blatantly artificial. While I'm a big fan of "outsider" film makers like Russ Meyer, Coffin Joe and Alejandro Jodorowsky, I also greatly admire those who work within the system but still manage to subvert Hollywood with doses of surrealism. I'm thinking of movies such as 'Kiss Me Deadly', 'Shock Corridor' and 'The Manchurian Candidate'. Each of these films are unique but they also remind me of each other and of 'The Night Of The Hunter'. I highly recommend them all and wish that there were a lot more movies like them today. 'The Night Of The Hunter' is essential viewing for anybody interested in American movies!

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