I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Awesome Adaptations (10) - The Night of the Hunter

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week there is a new category of adaptation to blog about. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let them know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An awesome adaptation of a spooky story
Title: The Night of the Hunter
Adapted from The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb

This is one of the few times I've found the adaptation improved on the book it was based on.  I found the book very difficult to get through - almost all the characters annoyed me, and the writing really got on my nerves.  It must be me though because it is a classic story.  And this adaptation is so gorgeously rendered from it, I must be missing something.

It's odd to admire the art in a film that dwells so much in greed, death, murder, religious fanaticism, and child endangerment.  It's such a dark Southern Gothic story and made so compelling by the directing, the cinematography and the acting.  Director Charles Laughton, makes use of and emphasizes high contrasting shadows and shapes to tell the story and also maintain an eerie and sinister atmosphere throughout.  It's visually intriguing and used to great effect.  The actors are perfectly cast, especially Robert Mitchum (shout-out to my Mom - he's her favorite actor!) as an unhinged preacher- Rev. Harry Powell who marries a woman, simply so he can figure out where her dead husband hid the money he stole.  Unfortunately the dead husband entrusted the money to his children, and the children become Harry Powell's next target.

The movie is unbearably suspenseful, taut and vivid, and often very unnerving.  I can almost guarantee the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" will cease giving comfort to anyone who watches this film.  It's thought-provoking, intelligently made, atmospheric and so compelling.  Forget ghosts and goblins, there is nothing scarier than a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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  1. Okay I have to see this film now! Aidan collects Criterions and I know he would be thrilled to get another one!

    1. Oh, I didn't know he collects them! I think this will make a great addition! It does have an awkward ending, I should mention. It would be so much better if they ended it like 10 minutes earlier. I definitely would like to know what you thought of it after you have seen it!