Night of the Hunter (1955) - Charles Laughton
This was part of my re-watch list as a film I didn't appreciate that I felt was worth another look. I was right in assuming I missed something the first time around, and I'm not even sure what I missed. Something about the film just didn't click the first time around. I found Mitchum's performance grating and over the top, but that's almost the very reason to like the film. The main thing that this film has going for it above all else is Stanley Cortez' cinematography. This in many ways fulfills the promise of The Magnificent Ambersons that Cortez really was one of the all time greats. It is very much in the same vein of expressionist lighting and deep space compositions, if you paused the film on any given image you'd be looking at one of the best still frames in all of film. Laughton had an appreciation for silent film and apparently watched a lot of Griffith before making this picture. His odes to expressionism, Lillian Gish, and Griffith's narrative devices come up again and again. Interesting that one of our great American fables was again made by a foreign born man. Really remarkable and it's a damn shame Laughton was never able to follow it up with another movie.