The Night of the Hunter (1955) tells the story of a crook (Robert Mitchum) who is looking for the closing resting area of money stolen by using any other criminal. Only his lifeless cellmate's youth be aware of the place so he's after them. The freaky shadowy movie was directed via the actor Charles Laughton, who was once a three-time first-class actor nominee (see our "Best Pictures From the Outside In" episode on the undervalued Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935). It was his only function movie as director and as with most actors who maneuver themselves in the back of the digicam after their leading man heyday, he wrangled fantastic work from his leads: Robert Mitchum, the hunter, and Lillian Gish, the guardian, are each totally terrific in the movie. (The much less stated about the baby performances --as I recall -- the better, however directing toddler actors is an absolutely special skill.)If the disc hadn't been cracked I would have had a hazard to rescreen it but that will have to wait. Yet there is one image, I suspected would compete for the prize earlier than ordering the disc. It's continually branded on my brain.This is Lillian Gish as "Rachel Cooper" who will now not sleep however keeps a vigil, positive that evil incarnate (Robert Mitchum) will go to her home. The photograph is so indelible and gorgeously lit through cinematographer Stanley Cortez (look at the sharp divisions of light complicated via the slow curves of Gish's profile silhouette... it's simply stunning.) One factor that fascinates me about the image, out of context, on account that I haven't rewatched it in, is that it reminds us of how trustingly subservient the first-class actors are to confident directorial visions. You can not even see Gish's face here, but damned if her work is not certainly necessary to the movie's success, giving it exactly the grand maternal religious fortitude that it needs.Gish had to make do with an honorary Oscar in April 1971 but if there was ever a time for Oscar to thank her for her vicinity in film records with a aggressive statue, it was once arguably right here. The movie acquired zero Oscar nominations. I cannot fathom why other than that it's a harsh film that in no way coddles its audience. Perhaps it felt absolutely too mercenary for the times. "Love" we can take care of tattooed on a shifty man's hand. But "Hate" on his other?
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