Six and a half minutes of the hunter

I’m one more movie closer to death, since I saw The Night of the Hunter last night. And it’s at least a dozen kinds of awesome.

A movie like this is really difficult for me to describe. Something like His Girl Friday is easy: it’s timeless, just as cool today as it was 67 years ago, so no qualifications are necessary. The Killers feels undeniably dated, but it’s still undeniably cool, and it has shots that are just perfectly composed. And Ace in the Hole (now available on DVD!) is over-the-top early 50s style, but is full of brilliantly unforgettable dialogue.

But how can you explain in words the genius fever dream that is Night of the Hunter? I submit that you can’t. So I pulled together brief bits of the most inspired moments, because I say the only way to believe it is to see it for yourself.

Edit: I had a six-minute clip included here, but thought better of it. I realized that it gives too much of the movie away, both in terms of copyright infringement and in terms of ruining the movie for people who haven’t seen it. It was a well-intentioned but misguided case of getting carried away with iMovie and thinking, “This is the best part of the movie, you’ve got to see this! No wait, this is even cooler!”

If I can pick a single favorite scene, I’ll put that one up. Until then, just see the movie. It’s sustained brilliant wackiness on a scale I never expected.

What do you think of that compromise, Ms. Winters?