Film Review: A Classic with a Conscience
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (on DVD and Blu-Ray; Criterion Collection)
Made in 1955, this dreamily expressionistic thriller about a murderous, money-hungry “preacher” (Robert Mitchum) and his preteen prey has been available on DVD for a decade, but only in a version whose square-shaped images butcher the movie’s alternately shadowy and shimmering cinematography. This new edition restores the film’s proper dimensions, paying apt tribute to a classic whose elemental battle between love and hate has famously been cited in everything from Spike Lee’s
Do the Right Thing
to Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear
. Less often acknowledged is the fact that Hunter
issues the American cinema’s hardest-hitting defense of victimized children.