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April 12th, 2008

GET YOUR GISH ON @ FILM FORUM: 4/13/8 + 4/14/8.

by John Coakley

The other hand says ‘HATE;’ not the turn-the-other-cheek kind of preacher.

Film Forum is celebrating United Artists’ 90th anniversary with a retrospective of some its most notable films. Night of the Hunter is among them, and if you haven’t seen this film you really need to cancel whatever plans you have for Sunday or Monday and go. Robert Mitchum plays the archetypal charming religious fanatic with all of the suave menace he can muster – and no one mustered menace like Mitchum. Say that ten times fast. Hunter is also the only film to have been directed by Charles Laughton, an accomplished actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of Quasimodo in 1939’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He mixes film noir, the Brothers Grimm and German Expressionism with amazing skill, and all in the service of telling one hell of a gripping suspense tale. Stellar performances are also given by Shelley winters and Lillian Gish.

It’s silent, so you won’t hear a horrible impersonation of an Asian accent, a la Mickey Rooney in Breakfast of Tiffany’s.

Gish is the star of Broken Blossoms, also on this double bill. This 1919 DW Griffith melodrama – I know, who thought he directed anything but epics – takes place in London, where Gish’s waif, the victim of her father’s physical abuse, is befriended by Richard Barthelmess’ Chinese outsider. Is it racist? Well, yes. But not in the same vitriolic way as Birth of a Nation. This actually may be the first example of the minority-as-virtuous-defender-of-white-person stereotype, and there is much to be learned from seeing where these cinematic patterns originated. Live piano accompaniment helps make it seem less like homework and more like a swell day at the pictures.

Film Forum
209 W Houston St
New York, NY
(212) 727-8110

Night of the Hunter – 4/13/8 + 4/14/8
SUN 1:30, 5:10, 8:50
MON 1:30, 5:10, 9:30*
*Note: 9:30 Show On Monday Is A Single Feature

Broken Blossom – 4/13/8 + 4/14/8
SUN 3:20*, 7:00*
MON 3:20*
*Live Piano Accompaniment By Steve Sterner At 3:20 And 7:00 On Sunday
*Musical Soundtrack At 3:20 Show On Monday

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York





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