Saturday, December 15, 2018
Next Wednesday Night at the Castro Theatre: The Night Of The Hunter for Christmas!
With the Film Noir Foundation's murder and mayhem filled holiday show on Wednesday night at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, movie fun kicks Santa and the elves to the curb yet again, leaving them to get smashed on Christmas ale.
Just in time for this festive time of year, Noir City Christmas presents the ultra-gothic struggle between good, evil and very evil, directed by Charles Laughton, The Night Of The Hunter.
The Night Of The Hunter was the only directorial effort by actor Charles Laughton - and he created a startling and original melding of southern Gothic, thriller, Americana and folk tale. Laughton opted to train himself for the director's chair by multiple viewings of D.W. Griffith features. The Griffith touch, plus a touch of German Expressionism, plus the Laughton touch (his ability to work with actors) creates the nightmarish netherworld of The Night Of The Hunter.
Just in case the homage to Griffith and the larger-than-life dreamscape of silent movies is not as obvious as the nose on Jimmy Durante's face, there, in the cast, ruling the silver screen yet again, is Lillian Gish.
The studio and the backers weren't ready for this and maybe America was not, either. This was 1955, and even given that Laughton's masterpiece was created in an era when key music milestones from Sun Records, Chess Records and Blue Note Records hit the zeitgeist like a hurricane, The Night Of The Hunter presented a vivid, affecting, profoundly disturbing movie. . . not light entertainment.
If one thinks the murderous preacher played by Mitchum is scary on Blu-Ray or DVD. . . check him out in terrifying big screen glory.
At Wednesday night's program, author, historian and "Czar Of Noir" Eddie Muller, who describes The Night Of The Hunter as a fairytale noir, will host and also reveal the program for the upcoming Noir City 17 festival, which will transpire on January 25-February 3, 2019.
Noir City 17 Passports (all-access passes) will officially be on sale. For more info, check out the Noir City Film Festival - Film Noir Foundation website.