The Night of the Hunter ★★★★

Finally watched this classic 50's thriller.

A killer in the guise of a reverend travels around 1930's West Virginia, and when he's arrested he learns from a condemned man that he's hid a substantial sum of money, but only his two young children know where they are. Now he plans to seduce the man's widow and stop at nothing to get the money.

I thought this was really good overall, Robert Mitchum is great as the wicked Rev. Henry Powell, the film is exceedingly well photographed and it goes to places that most 50's films wouldn't, by having children in direct danger of a murderer and a sequence where the camera lingers on a corpse at the bottom of a river, to name a few things.

It's suspenseful, the actors (including child actors) do a great job and you're never quite sure what will happen next. I think my only major gripe was that the introduction felt a little bit fumbled at times, things seemed to happen a bit fast for my liking, including how quickly the Reverend woos the widow into submission. If your husband has just been hanged and you know he left a great sum of money somewhere, I doubt you'd welcome a stranger into your arms in what seemed like a single night, and marry him the next day. I was also unclear as to why he was hung in the first place, turns out it was an armed robbery resulting in two deaths, perhaps I glanced down on my phone for that scene.

Still, there was a very nice "no nonsense" approach to the film that I quite enjoyed, and the thematic idea that life isn't always fun and games for children and innocent creatures. Sometimes they too have to be brave beyond their years to survive, and that bravery, although a tad far fetched at times, is what keeps the film alive. It's a little bit short and the opening establishing the plot seemed to whiz past in a jumble, but beyond that it was still quite a good film overall. And you have to love an old granny with a shotgun.