'Night of the Hunter' Review: LOVE/HATE
Robert Mitchum is a scary motherfucker. That's really all you need to know about Night of the Hunter. It's one of the best films that I've ever seen because of just how badass Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell is. He's a swarmy, charismatic villain who chews the scenery up and spits it out every chance he gets. Southern preachers don't get any more hellfire and damnation fueled than Powell does, spouting Bible verse as if it were common knowledge. He has his own theme when he is on screen that will stay with you for days.
Don't watch this movie however for the other performances since they are mildly memorable at best. The kids are disappointing as child actors usually are when asked to carry a serious film on their backs. The real issue of the film is that it almost seems like two films stitched together once the children reach the skiff on the river. I could have done with less of the second half of the film and more of the first, partially because there is less Mitchum in the second half of the film.
Watch.This.Movie. Don't wait, go now. It isn't a traditional horror film but Mitchum's Powell is terrifying in his own right, seemingly unstoppable in his pursuit of the hidden money. Every time Mitchum he seems two seconds from pulling his knife and doing the Lord's work. He is one of the most memorable villains put to film and makes The Night of the Hunter truly worth watching.
Final Say: Watch It
Who Said What?
Reverend Harry Powell: "Salvation is a last-minute business, boy."