Just came back from a leisurely walk downtown, from the Del Mar theatre. The midnight movie gave me a lot to think about. This review summarizes it nicely:
Charles Laughton and James Agee's "Night of the Hunter" is a harrowing portrait of the American religion gone horribly wrong. It is one of the creepiest, most unusual, and greatest movies ever made.
And that's not an exaggeration, either. I agree, this is one of the greatest movies ever made. Even as a comfortable advocate in my own progressive, modern culture, I have to openly admire the lesson of this film, and the relentless, intense way that it pursues that message and makes it crystal clear. Then, when I remember that it was produced in 1955, I am stunned. What seems at first like an unfortunate story about murder, quickly unfolds into an alarming indictment of the sexual repression and shame that infected and almost devoured the Christian faith of middle America. And it's all wrought with a handful of characters, and some inexpensive but brilliantly lit sets. How could a film this good, and with this content, possibly come from 1955?!