I just finished watching this Robert Mitchum film, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, and I was quite impressed. The cinematography is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and it is especially notable considering all the stylistic influences found within it. The scenes with Mitchum and Winters in the bedroom strongly echo THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI in all its expressionism, while many others are sheathed in film noir darkness. Then there is the shot with the grandmother on the porch with the gun, looking right out of a John Ford western. It is a collage of different styles, and the resulting effect is nightmarish and unnerving. Mitchum is great in the scenes he is in, but the film fumbles with his climax, never giving him a proper finale. The film jumps gears in the end, transfering all the power from Mitchum to the grandmother, leaving for a conclusion that abandons Mitchum's story. His whole plight seems like an afterthought when the two children are discovered, and the story then treads into "save the innocence of children!" territory. This is not to say these latter scenes are bad, just out of place when the rest of the film is considered. There is plenty of religious allegory, from the apple giving to the animal imagery, which gives the film some enlightening subtext. That, coupled with the stirking cinematography more than make up for muddled third act and the blatant overacting by all involved. It is a fascinating movie, definitely made more interesting considering it is Charles Laughton's only film as a director. It gives the film an ambiguity, because there is no other work to look at to try and understand some of the things going on within the film. It is by no means perfect, but it has held up amazingly well (it will be 50 years old next year). What do you guys and gals think of this studio picture?