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Information

Year
1955
Runtime
92 min.
Director
Charles Laughton
Genres
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Film-Noir
Rating *
8.0
Votes *
66,977
Checks
13,687
Favs
1,836
Dislikes
116
Favs/checks
13.4% (1:7)
Favs/dislikes
16:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. ckane7's avatar

    ckane7

    I'll never ever be able to understand the unremittingly harsh backlash this movie receives.
    Take a movie like "Interstellar" with such nauseatingly lachrymose lines of dialogue like: "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space," and everyone ejaculates semen buckshot in their pants and never questions its authenticity but take a movie with some of the most stark and poetic photography ever and some of the most unforgettable scenes and characters and everyone thumbs their noses at it like they have some kind of axe to grind.
    Truly, truly disheartening...
    4 years 9 months ago
  2. Aissi's avatar

    Aissi

    Brilliant. Robert Michum oozes evil and the soundtrack is hauntingly sinister. 8 years 9 months ago
  3. Lumen's avatar

    Lumen

    A lot of mixed reviews about this movie. I personally love this movie for many reasons. The first time I saw it I was almost alone in an old small cinema in Toulouse. I think it set the mood right. The place could have been part of the film. There might be some spoilers...
    What makes the movie so strong for me is basically the photography, the wonderfull shots, surprising angles, use of light and shadows... The decors are amazing, an ode to (the then already very dated) German expressionists (Murnau, Wiene, Lang...). Some moments are genuinly brilliant: the scary looking love bed, that soon becomes a death bed, the whole enchanting river that Tim Burton would love too much. Details such as the children filmed through a spider web (same kind of shot in Ivan's childhood), the frog and other hunting (or guarding?) animals mixed with a couple of cute bunnies. The appearance of Pearl, who looks more like her rag doll than a real child keeps with her the biggest treasure.
    Most criticism seems to be about the acting. While all forms of art have many equally valid genres and standards, the art of acting only seems to have one: realism. And I completely agree that if we expect realistic acting, this movie is terrible. But I think our expectations are more to blame than the film. The acting fits very well in the tradition of, once again, German expressionism. Furthermore, they all seem more dreamlike than we are used to in cinema. The characters are both ridiculous and nightmarish, and nightmares have nothing to do with reality (Mitchum is anyway too good an actor to have such a strange 'off performance' if he didn't do it on purpose).
    I think he does a wonderful job, his stiff body seems like a machine that is out of control. His voice that will haunt you, "chiillllldren" and his hunting song "leaning on Jesus" combined with his shadow/silhouette play make him really scary. The switchblade game, the mixing up with the left and right hand when he tries to tell the story once more, the scene just before the murder where he keeps his head tilted to be perfectly two-faced. I know it is all very obvious, but I still think it is incredibly good.
    In many ways I have to agree that the movie is dated, profanity and stuff don't shock anybody anymore, and the morality of protecting the children, the fight of good and evil, and watch out for charming speakers are even too much for my grandmother. One thing that did shock me was the song the town kids sang to John and Pearl after the execution of their father "hing-hang-hung". So cruel!
    Finally this film offers a curious experience of Americana, horror, comedy, Capra-esque sentimentality and redemption (yuck). I was raised with tales and fables. This film is a wonderful extension!
    4 years 1 month ago
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In 31 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #2 in Cahiers du Cinéma's 100 Films for an Ideal Cinematheque
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    2
  2. This movie ranks #6 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
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    Roger Ebert's Great Movi…

    6
  3. This movie ranks #9 in IMDb's Film-Noir Top 50
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    IMDb's Film-Noir Top 50

    9
  4. This movie ranks #14 in Spike Lee's Essential List of Films for Filmmakers
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    Spike Lee's Essential Li…

    14
  5. This movie ranks #19 in Arts & Faith's Top 100 Films
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    19
  6. This movie ranks #34 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
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    AFI's 100 Years...100 Th…

    34
  7. This movie ranks #38 in Taschen's 100 All-Time Favorite Movies
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    38
  8. This movie ranks #39 in François Truffaut's The Films in My Life
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    François Truffaut's The …

    39
  9. This movie ranks #43 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
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    43
  10. This movie ranks #53 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
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    Sight & Sound's The Grea…

    53
  11. This movie ranks #61 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
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    TSZDT's The 1,000 Greate…

    61
  12. This movie ranks #71 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
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    Empire's The 500 Greates…

    71
  13. This movie ranks #74 in Rotten Tomatoes's Top 100 Movies of All Time
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    Rotten Tomatoes's Top 10…

    74
  14. This movie ranks #90 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
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    Library of Congress's Na…

    90
  15. This movie ranks #91 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
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    Jennifer Eiss's 500 Esse…

    91
  16. This movie ranks #93 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
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    TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films

    93
  17. This movie ranks #93 in TSPDT's 100 Essential Noir Films
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    TSPDT's 100 Essential No…

    93
  18. This movie ranks #113 in Butler's Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
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    113
  19. This movie ranks #173 in 366 Weird Movies
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    366 Weird Movies

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  20. This movie ranks #206 in Reddit Top 250
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    Reddit Top 250

    206
  21. This movie ranks #221 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
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    Halliwell's Top 1000: Th…

    221
  22. This movie ranks #233 in FOK!'s Film Top 250
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    FOK!'s Film Top 250

    233
  23. This movie ranks #244 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
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    244
  24. This movie ranks #292 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    292
  25. This movie ranks #363 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
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    Emma Beare's 501 Must-Se…

    363
  26. This movie ranks #389 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
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    Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ess…

    389
  27. This movie ranks #508 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
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    David Thomson's Have You…

    508
  28. This movie ranks #604 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
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    The New York Times's Boo…

    604
  29. This movie ranks #621 in The Criterion Collection
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    The Criterion Collection

    621
  30. This movie ranks #631 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
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    The Guardian's 1000 Film…

    631
  31. This movie ranks #653 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
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    Time Out's 1000 Films to…

    653
View all lists this movie is in