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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.

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(screenplay by), (based on the novel by)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Harry Powell
... Willa Harper
... Rachel Cooper
... Uncle Birdie Steptoe
... Icey Spoon
... Ben Harper
... Walt Spoon
... John Harper
... Pearl Harper
... 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 (325) »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1955 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht des Jägers  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 10 mins) Although story is set in Depression, a Forties era photo of Ingrid Bergman (then unknown to American film-goers) adorns cover of a magazine prominently displayed on a small town newsstand. See more »

Quotes

Icey Spoon: [about sex in marriage] A woman's a fool to marry for that. That's somethin' for a man. The Good Lord never meant for a decent woman to want that. Not really want it. It's all just a fake and a pipe dream.
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Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Bringing in the Sheaves
(1880) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Knowles Shaw (1874)
Music by George A. Minor (1880)
Sung by all at a picnic
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent movie, and well ahead of its time.
13 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

This film is way ahead of its time, not only in subject matter but also in cinematic style. The subject is a psychopathic preacher who believes that God is telling him to murder women, usually widowers, and take their money.

From the opening two shots and the first few lines of the preacher, the characters history and intent is laid down. As quickly, the first few scenes with the children show the circumstances that will bring about the main premise. After that you are allowed to wallow in Robert Mitchums role as the over acting preacher. Laughton directs very well, with some visually rich scenes and wonderful shots. However, there are a couple of cheesy moments of dialogue, and a few, almost laughable, scenes. Despite this it's a very good movie with some stunning acting from Robert Mitchum.


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