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The Night of the Hunter (1955)

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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.

Director:

Charles Laughton

Writers:

James Agee (screenplay by), Davis Grubb (based on the novel by)
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4,127 ( 3)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Harry Powell
Shelley Winters ... Willa Harper
Lillian Gish ... Rachel Cooper
James Gleason ... Uncle 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)
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Storyline

It's the Great Depression. In the process of robbing a bank of $10,000, Ben Harper kills two people. Before he is captured, he is able to convince his adolescent son John and his daughter Pearl not to tell anyone, including their mother Willa, 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, swindling lonely women, primarily rich widows, of their money before he kills them. Harry does whatever he can, unsuccessfully, to find out the location of the $10,000 from Ben. After Ben's execution, Harry decides that Willa will be his next mark, figuring that someone in the family knows where the money is hidden. Despite vowing not to remarry, Willa ends up being easy prey for Harry's outward ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | preacher | money | doll | death | See All (330) »

Taglines:

The scenes...the story...The stars BUT ABOVE ALL - THE SUSPENSE! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

La noche del cazador See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$795,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paul Gregory Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To promote the movie, Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters did a guest shot on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) in the spring of 1955. Winters recounted in her autobiography how the stress of doing live television caused Mitchum to drink and caused her to become "shrill and numb." The two got into costume - with Mitchum displaying the words "love" and "hate" on his hands - and performed their scene quite badly. Winters said she stuttered and lapsed into "Brooklynese," while Mitchum spoke so quietly their microphones had to be cranked up so loud "millions of viewers across the U.S. could hear our stomachs rumble." During the scene, according to Winters, Mitchum held up the wrong hand to illustrate a point about love and hate, and the audience laughed. See more »

Goofs

When Harry tells Willa to stand in front of the mirror, Harry is briefly seen in the reflection and jumps out of the way. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Harry Powell: Chiiilll... dren!
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Soundtracks

Cresap's Landing Party
(uncredited)
Composers unknown
Played on guitar and sung by James Gleason
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A must-see for lovers of art cinema and suspense. Exquisite!
29 December 1998 | by MoxieSee all my reviews

One of the best suspense films ever made. Exquisite art direction: moody, scary, sometimes lyrically beautiful. Yet there are comical and even idyllic moments. Mitchum is EXCELLENT, especially in the cellar scene. Subtle, different; not just the same old ax-after-ax tear-'em-up blood-and-gore formula, but REAL suspense built from the personalities of the characters and the artful editing, music, art direction, and Charles Laughton's directing. Yet warm and lovely in parts. The cast's characterizations are excellent, even in minor roles, such as the "typical townspeople". You'll remember this one for a long time. Maybe not for kids under 12, as the frightening parts are too much like real life (compared to run-of-the-mill horrendous movies) and might leave unsettling memories.


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