In The Night of the Hunter, Robert Mitchum needs to be mesmerizing—both to us in the audience and to his fellow characters, whom he charms with his fake-preacher shtick. Dressed up like a man of God, the despicable Harry Powell (Mitchum) is really a psychopath in search of some stolen loot. His trail leads to two small children, John and Pearl, who have the cash hidden in a toy doll—and Powell will stop and nothing to get his uniquely tattooed fingers on it. Employing a pleasant, sing-songy voice to lure in the confidence of his "flock," Powell's mood can turn fiery at the drop of a hat if he doesn't get what he wants. It's a chilling and suspenseful yarn up until the end, which contains a number of poorly conceived and bizarrely executed elements. Blame director Charles Laughton, whose only film as a director this was. But the rest of the movie is a fine thriller. Rating: 4/5.