Bright Lights Film Journal

Peter Graves – The Night of the Hunter

In a film career that spanned more than half a century, the late Peter Graves (1926-2010) was a dependable leading man, often at his best in non-leading roles, who worked memorably with Billy Wilder (Stalag 17), John Ford (The Long Gray Line), Roger Corman (It Conquered the World), Otto Preminger (The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell), and the Zucker Brothers (Airplane). Along the way, he also co-starred with Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish in Charles Laughton’s masterpiece of American Gothic, The Night of the Hunter (1955, above), an independently produced gem recently voted No. 2 by Cahiers du Cinema in its poll of “The Most Beautiful Films Ever Made.” Graves’ part begins at 5:36.

ADDENDUM 3/18 – Friend of Bright Lights, Ecrans partagés d’Olivier E., takes a look at Night of the Hunter’s pervasive water imagery here. (You don’t have to read French to enjoy the screen caps.)