The Night Of The Hunter: Film review - Laughton handles quintessentially American subject matter in a sensitive fashion

(12) Charles Laughton, 92 mins Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

Charles Laughton's superlative film (released in a newly restored version) fits somewhere between Southern Gothic horror, crime thriller, kids' movie and Depression-era morality fable.

In hindsight, it seems remarkable that a Yorkshire-born British actor known for his roaring performances as Henry VIII and Captain Bligh was able to handle quintessentially American subject matter in such sensitive fashion.

He is equally assured in portraying violence and in cranking up the tension in the chase sequences (Robert Mitchum's evil preacher pursuing the two kids down river) and in giving a child's-eye view of the often disturbing events he depicts.

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