The Night of the Hunter“Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand left-hand?

One of the most haunting and beautifully shot films ever made, The Night of the Hunter has been given a stunning restoration and is now back in UK cinemas (from 17 January 2014).

Actor Charles Laughton’s only film as a director, adapted from Davis Grubb’s novel, 1955’s The Night of the Hunter tells the tale of a former criminal turned preacher Powell (played by Robert Mitchum in a career-best performance) who marries the mother (Shelley Winters) of his former cellmate in a bid to get his hands on some stolen money. But standing in his way are two innocent children and an elderly woman, played by former silent screen star Lillian Gish.

The Night of the Hunter

Laughton was hugely influenced by the silent masterpieces in which Gish herself starred, and his use of light and shadows – made all the more expressive thanks to Stanley Cortez‘s expressive black-and-white cinematography – gives a dream-like fairy tale quality to a highly original and now much-heralded work that is so ripe for audiences to rediscover on the big-screen.

The new restoration of MGM Studios’ The Night of the Hunter screens at BFI Southbank, as part of the continuing Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film season, and selected cinemas nationwide.

For more on this film, read our full review on Arrow’s 2013 Blu-ray restoration release