Robert Mitchum’s turn in the only film directed by Laughton is a towering achievement. An expressionist, southern gothic noir, The Night of the Hunter (adapted by James Agee from Davis Grubb’s novel) tracks the devious exploits of self-styled reverend and serial killer Harry Powell (Mitchum) as he gets out of jail and sets out to wed Willa Harper (Shelley Winters), the widow of his deceased cellmate, and murder her for her hidden fortune; it falls to her children to stop the madman living in their house. Mitchum is the charismatic monster lurking at the center of Laughton and Agee’s lyrical nightmare (one of only two films completed from an Agee script), and it ranks among cinema’s greatest and most chilling performances.