Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

I’m multi-tasking tonight — writing and watching the BCS National Championship (I’m pulling for Alabama, only partly because half my cousins live in Alabama). So blame any errata in tonight’s post on SEC football.

And tonight we have a nomination from fellow writer, musician and noir lover Steve Losey. I’ve posted a good deal about the movie division of the redneck noir category, because there’s a lot of it, and the genre translates well from print to screen.

Steve recommended the Robert Mitchum movie, The Night of the Hunter (1955). I had to admit that I was not familiar with the movie, except to say that it sounded slightly familiar to the other Robert Mitchum ’50s thriller, Cape Fear (based on a novel written by the ultimate pulp fiction writer and major influence, John D. MacDonald and a neat little Stanley Kubrick film (and noir original), The Killing.

The Night of the Hunter, both the Davis Grubb novel and the movie, ” … draw on the true story of Harry Powers, hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The film’s lyric and expressionistic style sets it apart from other Hollywood films of the 1940s and 50s, and it has influenced later directors such as David LynchMartin ScorseseTerrence MalickJim Jarmusch, the Coen brothersRob Zombie, and Spike Lee.” (Wikipedia)

Like I said, I don’t know this movie, but I soon will, thanks to the magic of Netflix. If you know it, vote in the comments section — or, better yet, nominate your own best redneck noir movie. If  you don’t, well, watch it.

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