For our August Cinema Classics screenings, we celebrate Robert Mitchum’s birthday with screenings of NIGHT OF THE HUNTER on 35mm! The screening on Saturday 8/4 is Free for Hollywood Theatre Members.
NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955): Despite his public disdain for the movie business, Robert Mitchum appeared in more than 125 films. Whereas Mitchum’s early work kept within Hollywood’s typical expectations of a leading man, in NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, Mitchum cast all expectation aside, creating a bravura performance that ranks as one of the most chilling ever committed to screen.
Mitchum plays Harry Powell, a gleefully psychotic preacher, who seduces a widowed mother (Shelley Winters), in hopes of finding a stash of loot. When Powell realizes that her children may know more than they let on, he stalks them across an expressionist landscape worthy of a child’s darkest nightmare.
The only film directed by famed British actor, Charles Laughton, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is infused with a gothic atmosphere and visual splendor that was years ahead of its time. Despite the positive critical response, the film failed miserably at the box office, leaving Laughton so emotionally distraught, he never attempted to direct another film. Thankfully, the film found a second life in revivals and is now recognized as a cinematic masterwork.