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   52,811 votes »
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Up 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Breathtaking Imagery See more (330 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) | 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:
Charles Laughton originally offered the role of Harry Powell to Gary Cooper, who turned it down as being possibly detrimental to his career.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: A wire is clearly visible on the owl before it catches the rabbit.See more »
Quotes:
Rev. Harry Powell:Salvation is a last-minute business, boy.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in True Grit (2010)See more »
Soundtrack:
Leaning on the Everlasting ArmsSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Where does the story take place?
Why does John try to protect Powers and give him the money when the police handcuff him?
See more »
40 out of 60 people found the following review useful.
Breathtaking Imagery, 16 December 2007
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

Extraordinary, unparalleled, breathtaking ... that's how I would appraise the film's visuals, from DP Stanley Cortez. The images are all in B&W, and many have a noir design straight out of German Expressionism. Sharp angles, high-contrast "hard" lighting, and deep shadows amplify form, or rather distort reality, and as such project human experience as an exaggeration of the emotional.

Some of the images in "The Night Of The Hunter" are so enthralling that they will live on in the collective mind as long as cinema exists. Who can forget that famous underwater scene wherein a dead woman's body sits upright in a car with her hair flowing along the current like seaweed, accompanied by background music that is so dreamlike? One of my favorite images is the one wherein Willa Harper (Shelley Winters) lies in blissful repose on a bed as Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) stands by a window in an unadorned room with angular walls that slope upward, as if in a church.

One of the most haunting, and famous, sequences has the two children, John and Pearl, in a rowboat, as they make a Homeric odyssey down a river, lorded over by giant spider webs, frogs, and rabbits. And then there's that electrifying scene with Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish) in silhouette, sitting in a chair, holding a shotgun, as Harry Powell sings "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms". Cinematic brilliance extraordinaire!

Consistent with its expressionistic visuals, the story is presented from the POV of a child's nightmare. John and Pearl symbolize innocence, and the bogeyman comes in the form of an adult, a godlike man who cons the gullible townsfolk including the children's mom. Our good reverend Powell is less interested in saving souls than he is in finding all that loot stashed away somewhere. Thus, the film's underlying theme is at least as relevant now as it was fifty years ago; the film has not aged one bit.

Production design is sparse, true to the film's visual style and to the setting in Depression era West Virginia. The casting is perfect. Robert Mitchum has just the right look and voice for the part of Harry Powell. I like how he calls to John and Pearl ... "chill-drenn?" Lillian Gish is well-suited to represent ... reality.

And those two kids likewise are ideally cast. Love the way Pearl, with her round face and those rag-a-muffin curls refers to herself, in that Southern drawl, as "Pell". And the film's horror combines with humor in many scenes, one of which has "Pell" sitting on the ground with scissors in hand nonchalantly cutting up paper currency into paper dolls.

Acting is generally exaggerated, again consistent with what one would expect in a nightmare. Evelyn Varden, as Icey Spoon (love that name), hams it up in a gossipy, mother hen sort of way. And Shelley Winters effectively jitters her way through the film, ghostlike, her character lost in delusion.

The film's original score is haunting and mournful, and could hardly set a more appropriate tone: "Dream little one, dream; dream my little one, dream; oh the hunter in the night fills your childish heart with fright; fear is only a dream; so little one dream".

With its brilliant photography, its unpopular but deeply truthful theme, and its nightmarish story, Charles Laughton's "The Night Of The Hunter" is high up on my list of twenty best films of all time.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (330 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Questions kedog22
Are there any other movies that have a similar look? MovieFella23
8.2 Rating? Did I miss something? cann85
Cinematography is before its time but the plot has a few too many holes alecfeklow
Who would be a good Harry Powell in a remake? Koolio06
Shows critics now and years ago are mostly clueless seahawk3133
See more »

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