Thanks for the new thread on movie criticism, Stan. I know of your long-time interest in films and how much time you invest in exploring them each year at the Toronto Film Festival and other assorted venues. I only mentioned Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter in passing because some other person on another blog first mentioned that performance as one of his/her scariest film experiences. Just the mention of that movie instantaneously brought up in my memory the two fist-tattoos you mention as well as an evil little jingle sung by cruel, taunting children mocking the orphans of an executed criminal as a shadow on the ground moved back and forth, projected there by the swaying body of their dead father as his lifeless body swung from the end of a rope: "Hing, hang, hung. Look what the hangman done."What a horrible, enthralling film experience -- one to stay with a person for a lifetime.Speaking of the 1950's (most of my elementary school years): as an impressionable youngster, I spent a lot of time at Saturday matinee double features -- where my mother would park me (to get a little adult time to herself) -- and I can still remember cringing in exquisite fear at Invasion of the Body Snatchers (remade in 1978 and again recently). At the time, I barely registered all the Republican McCarthyite terrorism of liberals and Democrats during the Eisenhower years -- what in fact lay behind Jack Finney's serialized novel of the same name in Collier's Magazine. Mostly, my younger brother and I, along with our adolescent hoodlum friends, would simply sit through dark weekend hours enjoying the vicarious fear offered up by a seemingly endless series of horribly bad "Dracula" movies starring Christopher Lee and/or Bela Lugosi. I can't remember if Boris Karloff (as Frankenstein's monster) and Lon Chaney, Jr. (as The Wolfman) came out during that period, before, or later. In any event, all that really classic horror/fantasy stuff sort of blends together in my memory. But for sure, Night of the Hunter stands out all by itself, for legitimate reasons of quality film-making.Here in Kaohsiung, we can buy really inexpensive DVDs of all those classic black-and-white movies; and Carol has taken to stocking up on every Alfred Hitchcock film she can get her hands on. She just loves them. For some reason, though, we don't have much in the really-scary-lady genre except for Kathy Bates in Misery and Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.
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