Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Light and Shadow

I was watching a few clips from the Charles Laughton directed 'Night of the Hunter' on YouTube.It's the tale of two childrens journey to escape a psychotic pseudo preacher. Robert Mitchum plays the preacher, with creepy intensity. 

Laughton, one of the greatest actors of them all, directed a grand total of one movie. One. This one. The critics panned it, perhaps because its sense of cinematography, hell, its sense of everything was way ahead of its time.

Here is a clip from this film. Laughton had a sense of how to use light, shadow and layered sound to create a total experience of a scene. A sensory and cerebral 3-D, without the stoopid gadgetry. The expressionistic vision and use of light/shadow in graduated contrast (the steeple shape above the child's bed, for example) is stunning. It's not a film for the feint-hearted, but worth the experience to see such risky and visionary film-making in action.

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