Sunday, 14 December 2008
Sunday Night is.. The Child Catcher
Seasonal Christmas fare. First catch your children. Begin with Benny Hill and Robert Helpmann, add Dick van Dyke. Script, partly, by Roald Dahl. There's also Anna Quayle and Gert Fröbe and James Robertson Justice and Lionel Jeffries and even Barbara Windsor.
But that is genuine child's play compared to this. One of the greatest films ever made about childhood fear, The Night of the Hunter.
The film was a failure at the time. It was Charles Laughton's only directorial work. Robert Mitchum, who helped direct, is superb. The real child catcher. Simon Callow wrote a book about the whole thing.
Somehow Laughton walks the line between childhood fairy-tale and adult dread. I still have to steel myself to watch it.