Joining Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married” in my Pantheon is Charles Laughton’s “The Night of the Hunter” (1955). And while my reaction to “Rachel” is a deeply emotional one that is hard to put into words, my feelings watching “Hunter” are, for the most part, actually pretty easy to transcribe:
Holy crap, just look at this thing!
I love this film, but I also admire it, its craft. From the cinematography, the built sets, the lighting, the movement (or deliberate lack thereof) to the carefully scripted and equally carefully spoken words. “The Night of the Hunter” is aesthetically pleasing on a level that very few works of art are.
I first saw the film in late 2010 on a tiny old television screen and I was just as enthralled by its eerie beauty then as I was when I watched the newly transferred Criterion blu-ray on the big screen last year.
For these reasons, and because just writing about it now makes me eager to watch it again, “The Night of the Hunter” is one of my favorite films, and hereby entered into my Pantheon.
You can find “The Night of the Hunter” on Netflix and Hulu Plus, among other places.