A misunderstood and long before it's time film when released in the
1950's as so often is the case with the really great ones.
This was the one and only film that was directed by the great film
and theatre actor - director Charles Laughton. The film was
so badly received by asshole film critics and flabbergasted audiences
that he didn't want to direct another film, and he died in
1962. In my country Sweden the film was banned by the film censors.
Yes, critics and film censors - idiots at work.
Both Robert Mitchum and the lovely Silent
film icon Lillian Gish are magnificent in the films almost biblical
duel between good
and evil. The film takes place sometime during the american depression
and the psychotic murderer and car thief "Preacher"
Harry Powell (Mitchum) is doing time in the same cell as a soon to
be executed robber-killer, and Harry gets wind of where the
man may have been hiding the loot, somewhere in his home in some West
The Preacher marries the widow of the
executed man, Willa (Shelley Winters) and this is the start of Living
in Hell for the
family. The boy John (Billy Chapin) puts up some resistance against
Evil and has promised his father to always protect his
little sister Pearl (Sally Bruce). After the horrifying expressionistic
horror scenes where Preacher murders Willa, the kids are
fleeing in the night hunted by the Man in Black, and this unique film
enters the realms of Fairy Tale poetry in a highly stylized
passage. One of the most beautiful i have ever seen in any film ....
Then an old lady turn up, Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish) a small fragile
woman but made of steel, to protect the children against
Evil. Dark stuff about the bigoted "normal" townspeople
who in a blink turns into an animal mob.
The film in 4:3 black & white, english
mono audio. A Masterpiece with amazing cinematography by Stanley Cortez