Charles Laughton's famous noir thriller and one of only two films he directed before deciding to devote his career to in front of the camera, The Night of the Hunter is glorious, thrilling and beautiful - a quintessential classic for deserving reasons.
Robert Mitchum is superb as Reverend Harry Powell, a dark and twisted clergyman whose greed for money leads him down a dark road of lies, deceit and murder. But the true star of the film is its astonishing visuals. Its use of black-and-white is in a manner key to classic film noir, and the cinematography is as touching and stylistically operatic on a level as high as any film could hope to attain.
However, my only gripe with the film is its unsuitable and somewhat contrived happy ending which seems inappropriate, sudden and unrealistic when juxtaposed with the dark, ominous scenes that precede it. Despite this, The Night of the Hunter is still a fascinating, haunting picture.