"These Two Pretty Children / Flew Away": Myth and Migration in the Night of the Hunter
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
South Atlantic Review
Charles Laughton is said to have described his 1955 directorial debut, The Night of the Hunter, which was to have the only films he ever directed, as "a nightmarish sort of Mother Goose tale." The narrative of this atmospheric and under-appreciated film focuses on the flight of two children from a corrupt preacher stepfather, evoking mythological and fairy tale tropes of quest, trial and heroism. The result is an evocative piece of filmmaking that haunted its makers, defied its critics, and emerged as a southern gothic film noir masterpiece. The most memorable sequences draw sharp attention to the movement of John and Pearl Harper as they proceed on their poignant journey. Exiled from home and family, and indeed any safe refuge, Joh and pearl flee in an expedition rife with archetypal overtones that mesh with Laughton's eerie visual conceptions.
Santos, M. (2015). "These Two Pretty Children / Flew Away": Myth and Migration in the Night of the Hunter. South Atlantic Review, 80 (1-2), 82-95. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/shss_facarticles/406