Milez Das’s review published on Letterboxd:
Gorgeously shot in Black and White. The Night of the Hunter is a tale of a man named Harry Powell who claims himself as a preacher, drifting through one town after another...as he has lost count on how many women he has married. With appearance that can woo women, Powell is someone as dangerous you can get. A villain you remember.
A story quite simple. But the anticipation and the atmosphere it creates is itself quite terrifying at times. You become those children afraid of this man who came out of nowhere looking for money and can do anything to get it.
One of the most stunning shots in the movie is underwater...It is just breathtaking to watch. I was went back to the scene many times.
The Love and Hate words tattooed on back of his fingers. What Charles Laughton did amazing with Henry is that how he characterized him and framed into film. The shadows, the long shots, the night and even we felt darkness crawling in whenever he was in frame. Like the scene where the kids are collecting and hiding the money and we see a shadow of Harry slowly coming from darkness.
For me this movie was perfection till it reached its final ten minutes. I don't know why but the finale kind of left me unsatisfied. It might be well fit as it was about the kids finally but for Harry Powell I needed something more...I think I am feeling this because I was so in the zone in the movie and the characters and the frames that when it reached the end I kind of felt underwhelmed.
The scene of duel between Harry and Rachel and how the lights are used. I mean it is so incredible to watch such kind of filmmaking. Every detail is met here. I was stunned.
But overall The Night of the Hunter is one of the best debut films from a Director. I was devastated to learn that Charles Laughton never directed another movie...So I wanted to know why and the reason was pretty simple the failure of both critical and commercial.
The Cinematography by Stanley Cortez is one of the best ever. They don't make movies likes this anymore thats for sure.
Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell is one of the best characters I have seen on the screen. He is charming, he is evil, he is brutal, he is cool..He is Robert Mitchum.
The Night of the Hunter is dark, gritty, mysterious, gorgeous and everything you want from a movie to reel you in. It keeps you on the edge of you seat. It makes your jaws dropped. And I think you will learn more from watching this movie than you will in a film school.