Tag Archives: The Night of the Hunter

50DMC #24: Most Beautiful Movie

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s the most beautiful movie you’re ever seen?

I guess you could answer this beautiful-looking or beautiful-sounding or beautiful-spirited or any number of other interpretations of “beautiful,” but I’m a bit of a cinematography whore so I went with visual beauty. Even with that, there are so many choices, and I had a number of others in here first, like The Tree of Life and other Malick films, or Sunrise and its moody Expressionism, or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford or The Double Life of Veronique or any number of others. But I decided to go for the black and white stunner The Night of the Hunter. I love this film for many reasons, but one of the main ones is its gorgeous painterly photography, which makes nearly every shot screencappable. It’s basically Expressionist like Sunrise, but with sharp contrasts and angles compared with Sunrise‘s softer, dreamier approach. I’ve seen the film several times, but I still gasp at many visual moments scattered throughout it.

Here’s a clip of my favorite part.

And what the heck, some favorite stills.

Three Reasons: The Night of the Hunter

Aha! A Criterion Three Reasons video for a film I don’t have to lust after – because I already bought it. And you should to. The Night of the Hunter is one of the most oddball and incredible films ever made, somewhere in between film noir, Southern gothic, fantasy, surrealism, and parable. It’s the only film that actor Charles Laughton ever directed, partially because it was not well-received at the time. But looking back, it’s hard to see what he could’ve done to top this, so perhaps it’s fitting that it stands as his only film as director – as unique in his filmography as it is in cinema history.