Tag Archives: The Night of the Hunter

Top 100 Films – Full List & Stats

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Top 100 Films – Full List

100. Rope (1948) (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
99. The Jerk (1979) (dir. Carl Reiner)
98. Office Space (1999) (dir. Mike Judge)
97. American Movie (1999) (dir. Chris Smith)
96. Touch of Evil (1958) (dir. Orson Welles)
95. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)
94. The Wrestler (2008) (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
93. The Virgin Spring (1960) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
92. United 93 (2006) (dir. Paul Greengrass)
91. Brokeback Mountain (2003) (dir. Ang Lee)
90. Election (1999) (dir. Alexander Payne)
89. Close-Up (1990) (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
88. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) (dir. John Cassavetes)
87. Chungking Express (1994) (dir. Wong Kar-wai)
86. Stand By Me (1986) (dir. Rob Reiner)
85. Blazing Saddles (1974) (dir. Mel Brooks)
84. Metropolis (1927) (dir. Fritz Lang)
83. Boyz n the Hood (1991) (dir. John Singleton)
82. A Man Escaped (1956) (dir. Robert Bresson)
81. Manhattan (1979) (dir. Woody Allen)
80. Sunset Boulevard (1950) (dir. Billy Wilder)
79. All That Heaven Allows (1955) (dir. Douglas Sirk)
78. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) (dir. F.W. Murnau)
77. No Country for Old Men (2007) (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
76. The King of Comedy (1982) (dir. Martin Scorsese)
75. Short Term 12 (2013) (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)
74. The Fighter (2010) (dir. David O. Russell)
73. Ben-Hur (1956) (dir. William Wyler)
72. There Will Be Blood (2007) (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
71. Playtime (1967) (dir. Jacques Tati)
70. My Darling Clementine (1946) (dir. John Ford)
69. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) (dir. Andrew Dominik)
68. The Sting (1973) (dir. George Roy Hill)
67. Sherlock Jr. (1924) (dir. Buster Keaton)
66. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (dir. Michel Gondry)
65. Kagemusha (1980) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
64. Citizen Kane (1941) (dir. Orson Welles)
63. Raging Bull (1980) (dir. Martin Scorsese)
62. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) (dir. Sidney Lumet)
61. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) (dir. Wes Anderson)
60. Some Like it Hot (1959) (dir. Billy Wilder)
59. Pulp Fiction (1994) (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
58. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) (dir. Jacques Demy)
57. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (dir. Frank Capra)
56. This is Spinal Tap (1984) (dir. Carl Reiner)
55. M (1931) (dir. Fritz Lang)
54. When We Were Kings (1996) (dir. Leon Gast)
53. The Gold Rush (1926) (dir. Charlie Chaplin)
52. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (dir. Roman Polanski)
51. The Wages of Fear (1953) (dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot)
50. The Great White Silence (1924) (dir. Herbert Ponting)
49. Autumn Sonata (1978) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
48. Withnail and I (1987) (dir. Bruce Robinson)
47. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (dir. Wes Anderson)
46. Before Sunrise (1995) (dir. Richard Linklater)
45. True Romance (1993) (dir. Tony Scott)
44. Before Sunset (2004) (dir. Richard Linklater)
43. Inglourious Basterds (2009) (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
42. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007) (dir. Cristian Mungiu)
41. The African Queen (1951) (dir. John Huston)
40. A Matter of Life and Death (1946) (dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
39. Days of Heaven (1978) (dir. Terrence Malick)
38. Rushmore (1998) (dir. Wes Anderson)
37. What We Do in the Shadows (2014) (dir. Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)
36. 12 Angry Men (1957) (dir. Sidney Lumet)
35. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012) (dir. Don Hertzfeldt)
34. Casablanca (1942) (dir. Michael Curtiz)
33. Scenes from a Marriage (1973) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
32. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) (dir. John Cassavetes)
31. Brief Encounter (1945) (dir. David Lean)
30. The Godfather Part II (1974) (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
29. Do the Right Thing (1989) (dir. Spike Lee)
28. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) (dir. Vincente Minnelli)
27. The Godfather (1972) (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
26. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) (dir. Stanley Donen)
25. Wild Strawberries (1957) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
24. Seven Samurai (1954) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
23. All That Jazz (1979) (dir. Bob Fosse)
22. Fargo (1996) (dir. Joel Coen)
21. Dersu Uzala (1975) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
20. Grizzly Man (2005) (dir. Werner Herzog)
19. The Thing (1982) (dir. John Carpenter)
18. A Serious Man (2009) (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
17. The Searchers (1956) (dir. John Ford)
16. Dazed and Confused (1993) (dir. Richard Linklater)
15. The Social Network (2010) (dir. David Fincher)
14. The Apartment (1960) (dir. Billy Wilder)
13. Rear Window (1954) (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
12. Winter Light (1963) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
11. The Graduate (1967) (dir. Mike Nichols)
10. Harakiri (1962) (dir. Masaki Kobayashi)
9. The Night of the Hunter (1955) (dir. Charles Laughton)
8. Paris, Texas (1984) (dir. Wim Wenders)
7. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (dir. Frank Capra)
6. Rocky (1976) (dir. John G. Avildsen)
5. Harold and Maude (1971) (dir. Hal Ashby)
4. The Exorcist (1973) (dir. William Friedkin)
3. Annie Hall (1977) (dir. Woody Allen)
2. City Lights (1931) (dir. Charlie Chaplin)
1. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)


Top 100 Films – Statistics

Movies by Decade:
2010’s: 6
2000’s: 15
1990’s: 13
1980’s: 9
1970’s: 18
1960’s: 8
1950’s: 15
1940’s: 8
1930’s: 3
1920’s: 5

Best Year:
2007 – 4 (No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days)

Most Popular Actors/Directors/Writers:
Ingmar Bergman5
Diane Keaton – 4
Wes Anderson – 3
John Cassavetes – 3
Seymour Cassel – 3
John Cazale – 3
Joel & Ethan Coen – 3
Robert De Niro – 3
Akira Kurosawa – 3
Richard Linklater – 3
Bill Murray – 3
Al Pacino – 3
Brad Pitt – 3
Talia Shire – 3
James Stewart – 3
Max von Sydow – 3
Quentin Tarantino – 3
Billy Wilder – 3
Owen Wilson – 3


Counting down 100 films in just 50 days was one heck of an adventure, and something I was fully prepared to give up on halfway through. The list got me through some tough times recently, and provided a nice goal and distraction for me to build towards. I’ve never been more proud of myself as a writer, and seeing #1 finally pop into my feed has been the most rewarding experience yet here at Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Film Club! Thanks to everybody who joined me in the journey, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts, and to all those who read them in their spare time. Your support means the world to me, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to another great year of films and writing for everybody!

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Top 100 Films #9 – The Night of the Hunter (1955)

 

hunter1#9. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Directed by: Charles Laughton
Written by: James Agee (based on The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb)
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce

The Night of the Hunter stands as legendary actor Charles Laughton’s only credit as a director – a role I very much wish he had revisited after his 1955 debut. The Night of the Hunter sees two siblings named John (Billy Chapin) and Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) on the run after a manipulative preacher forces his way into their family in order to gain access to money their father took during a bank robbery gone bad. The bad man is Reverend Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), a serial killer who preys on what he finds to be “sinful” women. After the death of their mother, John and Pearl must flee to the safety of the countryside, or else meet the same fate as their beloved mother and father. The Night of the Hunter is a dark, almost film noir-esque fairy tale of a film – setting a dreamlike tone early on and never letting up. The atmosphere found in Laughton’s directorial debut is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, featuring beautiful black and white cinematography, dreamlike music, a charismatic and crazed main villain whose screen presence is undeniable, and some incredible scenery in the film’s last act. The photography from cinematographer Stanley Cortez is some of the best I’ve ever seen, combining washed out images and dark, shadowy noir-influenced visuals into one beautiful picture. Laughton’s prowess as a director is evident in the film’s pacing, which is frantic and never seems to miss a beat. Even when establishing main characters and the situations they’re unfortunately involved in, we’re only given the most important and crucial details. Together with writer James Agee, Laughton has managed to create one of Hollywood’s most memorable and menacing villains in Reverend Harry Powell – whose LOVE-HATE knuckle tattoos and constant eerie singing of the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” has solidified his place in movie history. Robert Mitchum’s turn as the Reverend is creepy in his subtle moments, and downright terrifying when his motivations are finally revealed to young John and Pearl. The Reverend is not a sneaky villain – he always makes his presence known through his singing and whistling of hymns, which somehow makes his sinister approach all the more effective. The child performances of John and Pearl are admittedly the weakest part of The Night of the Hunter, but ultimately work as they are not asked to carry much dramatic weight – plus Sally Jane Bruce’s Pearl is undeniably adorable with her cute little accent. The most surprising performance is that of former silent movie star Lillian Gish, whose protective maternal figure appears very late in the film but somehow makes the entire situation of John and Pearl seem manageable and safe. Overall, The Night of the Hunter is one of the most complete suspense-thrillers ever made in Hollywood, featuring the amazing work of a man who absolutely should have directed again after this. The lead performance of Robert Mitchum is legendary, the dreamlike cinematography and tone is unforgettable, and the character of Reverend Harry Powell is legendary. The Night of the Hunter is one you absolutely cannot miss.

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Lightning Round (week of 7/14-7/20)

July 14, 2013

lunarcy-theatrical-posterLunarcy! (2013)

Director: Simon Ennis

Starring: n/a

Runtime: 80 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Lunarcy! is a 2013 documentary directed first-time documentary filmmaker, Simon Ennis.  The film focuses on a group of mostly-misfits who have one common interest: The moon.  These incredibly interesting characters are spellbound by our moon, and are dedicated to the habitation, mapping, and selling property on the moon.  The documentary is very light in tone, which helps make Lunarcy! a very interesting and fun, if not entirely important or relevant, documentary.  It is one that goes by incredibly fast, running just 80 minutes.  The subjects in the film alone are more than enough reason to see the film.  I recommend it to doc fans looking for something light and fluffy to settle down with for just over an hour.  7.5/10.

Cottage Country (2013)cottage-country

Director: Peter Wellington

Writer: Jeremy Boxen

Starring: Tyler Labine, Malin Akerman, Dan Petronijevic, Lucy Punch

Runtime: 90 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

After seeing 2011’s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Tyler Labine had been cemented as a comedic force to be reckoned with.  Cottage Country is a sort of spiritual successor to the film, and hits most of that same notes that made Tucker and Dale such an enjoyable experience.  The film stars Labine and Malin Akerman as a couple looking to get away for a week, so they go to cottage in the woods in order to escape from their lives for a short time.  While there, Todd (Labine) plans to propose to his long-time girlfriend Cammie (Akerman).  Unfortunately for the two, their idyllic week at the cottage doesn’t exactly as planned.  The film is filled with hilarious dialogue, as well as many moments of above-average physical comedy (mostly from Labine).  It may not be as memorable as Tucker and Dale was, but it’ll be more than enough to tide me over until another Tucker and Dale-esque masterpiece.  Cottage Country is a blast from start to finish and a film I highly recommend, if only for the sheer entertainment value is possesses.  8/10.


July 15, 2013

urlDr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)

Director: Freddie Francis

Writer: Milton Subotsky

Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Bernard Lee, Donald Sutherland

Runtime: 98 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is my first experience with Britain’s Amicus Horror production company, known mostly for their Hammer-esque films, and their many anthology horror features.  The film is told through five different stories, as well as a main segment that sets up our short horror anthology segments.  In the main segment, Doctor Schreck (played by Peter Cushing) reveals through the use of Tarot cards the futures of five men aboard a train late one night.  One man is terrorized by a werewolf while altering his former home, one by a creeping vine, Christopher Lee by his own severed hand, and more.  Most of the five segments are very fun and fast-paced, with the exception of the third (the voodoo segment), which slows down the film slightly.  Overall, Dr. Horror was a very fun experience, and one that has me very excited to further explore the world of Amicus Horror.  Recommended to horror fans, who will definitely get a kick out of seeing Lee, Cushing, and Donald Sutherlund all together on-screen.  7/10.

Watchmen (Director’s Cut) (2008)0600005030QAr1.qxd:0600005030QAr1

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: David Hayter, Alex Tse

Starring: Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode

Runtime: 186 minutes

Views: 2nd Viewing (1st for Director’s Cut)

What on earth could have possibly kept me from revisiting Watchmen for nearly five years?  I first saw it during its initial theatrical run, and even though I enjoyed the film, it didn’t seem to be an entirely memorable or special film for any reason.  Boy, was I wrong on that front.  Snyder’s director’s cut for Watchmen is easily one of the best superhero films I’ve ever seen, managing to be dark, satirical, grounded, over-the-top, and stylish all at the exact same time.  This is without a doubt Snyder’s greatest achievement to date, and shows exactly why production companies would choose him for films like Man of Steel.  Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, and the rest of the principal cast do an incredible job at portraying the Watchmen, specifically Haley, who gives one of the most memorable performances of the 2000’s as Rorschach.  The music, the direction, the acting, and the amazing cinematography make Watchmen one of the most unique and misunderstood films of the decade, and one I can’t wait to revisit as soon as I possibly can.  9/10 (leaning towards 9.5).


July 19, 2013

broken-2013-poster02Broken (2013)

Director: Rufus Norris

Writer: Mark O’Rowe

Starring: Lily James, Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, Rory Kinnear

Runtime: 91 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

Broken is a film I had heard a lot about after its limited release in 2012, and yet knew very little about.  I decided to watch it on a whim this week, and was not disappointed in the least.  The film is an incredible coming-of-age tale with a strong lead, Lily James, playing Skunk.  After she witnesses the beating of her neighbour, her life is drastically changed forever. Tim Roth is also incredible as Skunk’s father, as is Cillian Murphy as her teacher.  I can’t say a whole lot about Broken without delving into spoiler territory, but the film takes a turn for the bleak in its third act.  Many critics have pointed out the films third act as the weakest part of the story, but I have to completely disagree with them on this.  The last act of the film packs such an emotional punch, and comes completely unexpectedly.  I feel that everybody should see this film if they have the opportunity to.  This is a truly great coming-of-age tale with solid performances, a lovely soundtrack, and an emotionally-draining third act.  9/10.


July 20, 2013

A Separation (2011)a-separation-whysoblu.com-poster

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Writer: Asghar Farhadi

Starring: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat

Runtime: 123 minutes

Views: 1st Viewing

I finally did it!  I finally managed to catch up with Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 Academy Award winning film, A Separation.  I had high expectations for the film, and it managed to exceed them in every way possible.  A Separation manages to completely blur the lines between truth and lies, to the point where even the viewer has a hard time deciding who is right and who is wrong during throughout the film.  The performances from Peyman Moaadi (Nader) and Leila Hatami (Simin) as a separated couple are absolutely stellar, as are the supporting performances from most of the films cast.  A Separation is littered with moments of moral ambiguity, and is a very challenging film is many ways, making it an incredibly rewarding experience at the end of the day.  I can’t wait to see more from Farhadi, and to revisit the film again in the future.  Highly recommended.  9.5/10.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

the-night-of-the-hunter-posterDirector: Charles Laughton

Writer: James Agee

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

Runtime: 93 minutes

Views: 3rd Viewing

It may be seen as a controversial pick to some, but Charles Laughton’s lone directorial effort, The Night of the Hunter, is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite films.  The lighting and use of shadows throughout the films short runtime is impeccable, as is the iconic performance by the legendary Robert Mitchum.  Mitchum plays Harry Powell, a reverend who is after two children, John and Pearl Harper, in order to capture the money their fugitive father hid away inside young Pearl’s doll.  Powell is easily one of the greatest villains in the history of film, making the most of every minute he has on-screen.  The soundtrack, lighting and cinematography, direction, and the performances by Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish make The Night of the Hunter stand out as one of the greatest and most unique films ever made, in my opinion.  It’s one I find myself drawn to, and even now I can’t wait until my next viewing of the film.  I highly recommend this stylish and creepy noir to absolutely anybody.  10/10.

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