You’ll L-O-V-E This One: Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter — A New Christmas Classic?

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, December 19th @ 7:30pm
Directed by Charles Laughton • 1955
Like some Grimm Brothers edition of the Saturday Evening Post, The Night of the Hunter is the elemental gee-whiz wonder picture of the ‘50s—it really demands to be seen in a revival tent rather than a movie theater. Robert Mitchum delivers his career performance as Harry Powell, the wolf in preacher’s clothing who sets off to seduce a hanged man’s widow (Shelley Winters) and abscond with the money hidden somewhere in her homestead. Winters’s children (Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce) try to love their new pop, but his unrelenting severity and violent temper force the kids to flee for the countryside. Ostensibly set in the Depression, but unfolding at a perpetually present-tense intersection of American rhetoric and homespun myth, The Night of the Hunter bridges Sunday school lesson and psychological horror show. Between the shimmering photography of Stanley Cortez and the presence of Lillian Gish as a gun-toting granny, The Night of the Hunter reaches back into something genuinely primordial and automatically affecting. It’s also an underrated and oddly heart-warming Christmas movie that makes a singular case for persistence of love over wickedness. (KW)
93 min • United Artists • 35mm from Park Circus
Cartoon: Scrappy in “Holiday Land” (Columbia, 1934) – 35mm Technicolor – 7 min

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