Beware the Preacher

The 1955 thriller The Night of the Hunter was described as "one of the most frightening of movies" by Roger Ebert as late as 1996 — that's street cred. The story begins with Ben Harper (Peter Graves), father and husband, sentenced to death for a robbery he committed. His cellmate in prison, Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), is both a serial killer and a self-made preacher. Powell learns that Harper hid the money from the robbery, and that only his children know where it's hidden. Powell then goes on to ingratiate himself with the widow Harper, taking over the role as head of the family in an attempt to force the children to reveal the hiding place, and creating more death and destruction. Not only is The Night of the Hunter genuinely terrifying, it's visually stunning. Director Charles Laughton employed techniques of 1920s German Expressionist films to embellish the drama through arresting visual effects. Apop Records (2631 Cherokee Street; 314-664-6575 or screens the film at 8:30 p.m., and admission is free.
Thu., Dec. 30, 2010
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