Director Charles Laughton Night Of The Hunter Set 1954-2014
David Lee Guss
Photograph - Photography
Director Charles Laughton on "The Night of the Hunter" set, 1954-2014.
The film noir is now considered a masterpiece. Initially it was scorned by the audience. Laughton never directed another film.
He is considered among the greatest actors ever.
The director of photographer on "Hunter" was Stanley Cortez (1908-1997) who worked on another film that also flopped when first released, Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons."
RKO Radio had such contempt for Welles and the movie that they threw into the trash 40 minutes of never recovered footage excised to trim the project into a feature ultimately released on a double bill.
Welles follow up to "Citizen Kane" got lost in the post Pearl Harbor war hysteria. As with "Hunter," it is now revered as great even in the truncated form. (A March 1942 preview audience in Pomona, California had laughed in the wrong places and talked back to the screen.)
"Hunter," now includes on Blue Ray footage of Laughton giving directions to his actors.
An 8 minute excerpt is on YouTube:
Cortez is interviewed for French TV about his close collaboration with Charles Laughton. The first 50 seconds are in French with the rest in English.
The interview was conducted in the American Society of Cinematographers headquarters, concluding with a series of displayed stills of great cinematographers. One mentioned is Bernard Guffey, whose portrait of mine on the set of "The Great White Hope" is included earlier in this gallery.
Ironically both "The Magnificent Ambersons" and the "The Night of the Hunter" were filmed at the RKO Radio Ranch.
Both films are particular favorites of mine.
Cortez's last film 1977's "Another Man, Another Chance" was shot at Old Tucson.
May 19th, 2014
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