The Dark Knight of the Hunter

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Night of the Hunter (1955), films produced over 50 years apart, are similar in that they are tedious with predicable plot devices, populated with dull characters and saddled with stilted dialogue; in short, they are bereft of any effective story structure.dark-knight-rises-wall-streetThese films should instead be celebrated for the artistry of the cinematographers.

Stanley Cortez’s work on The Night of the Hunter, clearly inspired by the German Expressionists of the 1920s, is haunting in the framing and lighting. night-of-the-hunter-1Time and again, whether the underwater shot of a drowned woman still at the wheel of her car or the preacher looming over a bed, Cortez constructs shots that unsettle, reminding the viewer of the uneven landscape in our own heads. 039-the-night-of-the-hunter-theredlistWally Pfister’s cinematography for The Dark Knight Rises, although burdened with obsessive special effects, also resonates with this dark subterranean subconscious. darkknight460Inspired by a Wagnerian grandiosoty and the final macabre days of the French Revolution, Pfister does not allow the Batman, hence all of us, to escape this morass of humanity. dark-knight-prisonMore a collection of brooding images, these films are better in pieces, isolated fragments, allowing us the freedom to drift through our thoughts.968full-the-night-of-the-hunter-screenshot.jpg

8 thoughts on “The Dark Knight of the Hunter

  1. Sweet and haunting work of critiquing going on there Don. Now please pass the ketchup, as I can’t seem to decide if I need to shake it free or let it come free by some other blasting force to the container. This work does certainly pass the mustard. Ever think of being a cinematographer? Your images are true, honest and often original. – I Love the one that came this time, with the tree roots pushing up the (broken) cement block that allowed the nun to stand,.. on solid ground,..? Pure fun, now off for lunch.

  2. This is the dumbest criticism I have ever read about The Night of The Hunter. The film was a Christian fairy tale about false prophets and told in an operatic manner; such stories are blunt and lack subtlety on purpose. The attraction of NIGHT OF was the way the story was told and not how plausiable. I highly suggest staying away from the films of Sergei Eisenstein and FW Murnau, because you will hate them.

      • I thought about what I posted and I am sorry for being rude. I get emotional about film ! Anyway, I agree about Murnau and Eisenstein inventing the language of film and The Night of The Hunter took much of it’s inspiration from their work. TDK Rises was pure Hollywood so your criticism is more apt for that film. I think a much better comparison would have been some of the lesser Noir films shot by John Alton like He Walked by Night which was a routine police procedural yet it’s cinematography is gorgeous.

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