The Night of the Hunter (film)

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The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American thriller film directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters.[1] The film is based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb, adapted for the screen by James Agee and Laughton. The novel and film draw on the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The film's lyric and expressionistic style sets it apart from other Hollywood films of the 1940s and 50s, and it has influenced later directors such as David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, Jim Jarmusch, the Coen brothers, and Spike Lee.

In 1992, The Night of the Hunter was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in its National Film Registry.



The film is set in 1930s West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Ben Harper (Peter Graves) is sentenced to hang for his part in a robbery in which two men were killed. Before he is caught he hides the stolen money, trusting only his son John (Billy Chapin) with the money's location. John has a much younger sister, Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce). Reverend Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), a serial killer and self-appointed preacher with the words "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on the knuckles of his right and left hands, shares a prison cell with Harper. He tries to get Harper to tell him the hiding place before his execution, but the only clue he gets is a Bible verse Harper mutters in his sleep: "And a little child shall lead them."

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