Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not your average Christmas movie

The Observer newspaper's veteran film-critic, Philip French, contributes a weekly DVD club, typically extolling the virtues of classic movies.  Last week, his review focused on a film that's certainly in my top half-dozen favourites - Charles Laughton's extraordinary Night of the Hunter.  French describes the film better than I ever could, but misses one detail.  I recently saw Night of the Hunter included in a list of great Christmas movies (a little way above Fred Claus, anyway).  That took me aback at first, as the majority of the film takes place in high summer - but, yes, the ending and resolution of the film does indeed take place at Christmas.  So that's an excuse to watch it again over the next few days. 

Incidentally, while French is certainly correct to ascribe much of  the film's power to its director,  Charles Laughton, when I finally got around to reading Davis Grubb's original novel I was surprised to find that almost everything that makes the film remarkable was already there in the book.  Laughton did a wonderful job of bringing it to the screen, but the vision undoubtedly came from the now rather overlooked Grubb. 

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