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Author Topic: The Night of the Hunter (1955)  (Read 6857 times)
The Firecracker
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« on: May 04, 2009, 01:46:26 PM »

To think that so many hold this in such high esteem is beyond my understanding.
It's full of holes, mistakes and stupidity (one of the most glaring being that why don't the kids use the money to buy food when they are on the run?) but there is something endearing about the picture and , true , it is never boring.
And, of course , it gives us one of the most chilling villains of all time.

8/10

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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 02:41:02 PM »

I agree that the screenplay is flawed (and draggy) but mitchum and the visuals make up for it. that underwater car shot of winters is unbelievable.

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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 04:03:53 PM »

I could have sworn there was a thread on this already. Anyway, I definitely am far from a fan.

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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 07:03:18 PM »

Well, I was never a huge fan but I do find myself watching it every couple of years. Visually interesting thrillerama, Mitchum's great.

7.2 to 7.65 / 10

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 05:17:02 PM »

Blu: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/Reviews/night_of_the_hunter.htm

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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2010, 10:07:28 AM »

I'll bet that turtle looks pretty. Cheesy

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2010, 11:34:14 AM »

And the bunnies!

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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2010, 01:37:26 PM »

One of the best films ever made.
Will treasure it in my heart forever.
Saw it in 1995 in a theatre from the 30's and
it's still one of my best cinema experiences ever.
Considering the fact thatI saw more than 4000
films theatrically I guess that says a lot Smiley

This is not a film to really talk about,
or to think about for that matter.
It's pure poetry.

My kind of poetry.

Although I can't stand Shelley Winters.
But then again - her characters faith mirrors that too Smiley

A small miracle it was made in the US in 1955.

I'll exhibit parts of my film poster collection in Germany
next year, of course I'll include the German OS:

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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2010, 04:15:56 PM »

This is not a film to really talk about,
or to think about for that matter.
I profoundly disagree. I would imagine Jeffrey Couchman and Preston Neal Jones would disagree also, seeing as how they've both written books on the film.

In fact, there's tons to talk about, beginning with the title. Why is it "The Night" of the Hunter? A lot of the action, after all,  takes place during the day. Could it be that, given the amount of time the movie devotes to seeing things from the children's perspectives, the reference is to the time of day when Frightening Things emerge, such as bogeymen and nightmares? If so, that would go a long way toward explaining the ending: Mitchum, when shot at by Lilian Gish, yelps and runs and hides in the barn. A friend of mine once pointed out that Mitchum acts just like a frightened animal in that scene; I would go further and say he acts like a frightened cartoon animal. He's the Big Bad Wolf, who, having hidden in sheep's clothing (the better to fleece actual sheep, my dear), is revealed, in the cold light of day, as the pathetic creature he truly is. He does not have the power to frighten the adults; nonetheless, the children's fears were not unwarranted, and there is no condescension in director Laughton's approach. The children's views of things are respected throughout, but they are nonetheless kept in perspective [unimaginable in post-Spielberg America]. At the end of the day--perhaps I should say, at the beginning of the following one--the once terrifying creature is himself shorn, shorn of his ability to terrorize. The dream has ended.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, as Freud knew. Once we enter the Dreamscape, analysis need never end. And the adult characters are worth exploring as well. For example, what's up with the mother played by Shelley Winters? Whence comes her essential masochism? Seems we could generate an entire essay on that point alone. . . .

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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2010, 08:02:20 PM »

Would have Day of the Hunter been a more effective title? I doubt it. It makes me think of a western. Of course you have alternatives, but none as effective as the chosen title.  The Evening of the Hunter makes me think about the Hunter finally eating his venison with relatives and friends; while in the afternoon rarely one goes hunting at all, I presume (not being a hunter myself). You could play it somewhat more stylish, f.e.  The Mid-Afternoon of the Hunter or, if you want to make it sound even more french, The Hunter from 5 to 7 a.m (well, if it doesn't fit in the movie's timetable you could afford the liberty to change it and make it from 1 to 4 a.m.). The Twilight of the Hunter sounds hemingwayan, while The Dawn of the Hunter takes me to Africa and safari too, though it makes me think rather of adventure with a happy end, instead of a sad finale. The Morning of the Hunter : well, it is what you expect from a hunter to get up in the morning, don't you? The title could apply to a documentary on the sport (if you want to consider it such).   
A much easier explanation is that it is at night that most crimes happen, as darkness favours crimes. And the movie is about crimes, isn't it? So by choosing a "night" title you give an hint to the prospective patrons that something rotten is to be expected by the movie. Even if the plot develops in the fullest light.

But of course before getting into any argument one should read the novel on which the movie was based and which has the same title. Apparently nobody here did.
To be noted that the italian distributor couldn't care less about hunters and the movie circulated as Death Runs Along the River.

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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 10:26:10 PM »

Would have Day of the Hunter been a more effective title? I doubt it. It makes me think of a western. Of course you have alternatives, but none as effective as the chosen title.  The Evening of the Hunter makes me think about the Hunter finally eating his venison with relatives and friends; while in the afternoon rarely one goes hunting at all, I presume (not being a hunter myself). You could play it somewhat more stylish, f.e.  The Mid-Afternoon of the Hunter or, if you want to make it sound even more french, The Hunter from 5 to 7 a.m (well, if it doesn't fit in the movie's timetable you could afford the liberty to change it and make it from 1 to 4 a.m.). The Twilight of the Hunter sounds hemingwayan, while The Dawn of the Hunter takes me to Africa and safari too, though it makes me think rather of adventure with a happy end, instead of a sad finale. The Morning of the Hunter : well, it is what you expect from a hunter to get up in the morning, don't you? The title could apply to a documentary on the sport (if you want to consider it such).   
A much easier explanation is that it is at night that most crimes happen, as darkness favours crimes. And the movie is about crimes, isn't it? So by choosing a "night" title you give an hint to the prospective patrons that something rotten is to be expected by the movie. Even if the plot develops in the fullest light.

But of course before getting into any argument one should read the novel on which the movie was based and which has the same title. Apparently nobody here did.
To be noted that the italian distributor couldn't care less about hunters and the movie circulated as Death Runs Along the River.
You are being facetious, but the actual alternatives would be these: He Hunts By Night, The Hunter Came at Night, Night Hunter, Hunter In the Dark. It is possible to get "Night" into the title, and effectively too, without identifying (as the article "the" does) a particular night. The title is well chosen and conveys more than just the fact crimes happen after dark.

But anyway, thanks for confirming my main point: there are things in this film to talk about. I have my ideas, you have yours, we can go back and forth forever. There isn't something about this film that stymies the use of language. In fact, I'd say that Night of the Hunter tends to educe more commentary than most movies.

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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2010, 11:58:01 PM »

You are being facetious, but the actual alternatives would be these: He Hunts By Night, The Hunter Came at Night, Night Hunter, Hunter In the Dark. It is possible to get "Night" into the title, and effectively too, without identifying (as the article "the" does) a particular night. The title is well chosen and conveys more than just the fact crimes happen after dark.

it wasn't me who questioned the "night" facet: it was you who noted that a lot of the action plays at daytime. I just answered to that.
about the correctedness of putting the determinative article before "night", that can be evaluated only after having read the book.


But anyway, thanks for confirming my main point: there are things in this film to talk about. I have my ideas, you have yours, we can go back and forth forever. There isn't something about this film that stymies the use of language. In fact, I'd say that Night of the Hunter tends to educe more commentary than most movies.

i can't answer to that because I saw the movie 25-30 years ago and remember little of it.

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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2010, 02:23:53 AM »


But of course before getting into any argument one should read the novel on which the movie was based and which has the same title. Apparently nobody here did.
[/i].

A film is a film and a book is a book Wink, and even if a film is based on a book, or even if a film follows a book very closely and tries to be "faithful" to the book, the film has to stand for itself.

It is still sometimes fun to compare a film with its novel source, to look how the novel was adapted, but in the end the book shouldn't be the basis to criticise a film.


I think Night of the Hunter is an excellent film. The title works to set a mood, and in fact the most scenes I remember now were set at night.

I think what Mike means is that it is more important to "feel" this film than to analyse it (and this goes imo for every work of art anyway). Which does not mean that there ain't a lot to analyse.

9/10 for the hunted night

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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2010, 05:21:06 AM »

it wasn't me who questioned the "night" facet: it was you who noted that a lot of the action plays at daytime. I just answered to that.
No, I was concerned to bring attention to the phrase "The Night"--a single one--rather than Several Nights or Days and Nights of The Hunter, either of which would have been more literal. My intention was to suggest that the title points to the film's oneiric qualities.

But once again, even allowing for the fact that you apparently barely remember the film, you are able to talk at length about it.

Quote
I think what Mike means is that it is more important to "feel" this film than to analyse it (and this goes imo for every work of art anyway).

Yes, stanton, I'm sure that's what he meant too, but I see no reason to give in to such German sentimentalism. Art must always be analysed, because art is, by definiton, a catalyst to thought. That which does not call forth analysis is called kitsch.

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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2010, 05:59:50 AM »

A film is a film and a book is a book Wink

Hi hi.

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