Would you like an invitation to our beta?
|Robert Mitchum||Harry Powell|
|Shelley Winters||Willa Harper|
|Lillian Gish||Rachel Cooper|
|James Gleason||Birdie Steptoe|
|Evelyn Varden||Icey Spoon|
|Peter Graves||Ben Harper|
|Don Beddoe||Walt Spoon|
|Billy Chapin||John Harper|
|Sally Jane Bruce||Pearl Harper|
"The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife, BUT ABOVE ALL...THE SUSPENSE!"
"The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife, BUT ABOVE ALL... THE SUSPENSE!"
The film is set in 1930s West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Ben Harper is sentenced to hang for his part in a robbery in which two men were killed. Before he is caught he hides the stolen money, trusting only his son John, the film's protagonist, with the money's location. John has a much younger sister, Pearl. Reverend Harry Powell, a serial killer and self-appointed preacher with the two words "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed across the knuckles of his right and left hands, shares a prison cell with Harper. He tries to get Harper to tell him where he hid the money before his execution, but the only clue he gets is a Bible verse Harper mutters in his sleep: "And a little child shall lead them."
Convinced that Harper told his children the secret, Powell woos and marries Harper's widow, Willa. Willa does not know her new husband's motive and believes her marriage will lead to her salvation. Powell asks the children about the money when they are alone, but they reveal nothing. John is suspicious of Powell and protective of his sister. One night Willa overhears her husband questioning the children and she realizes the truth. As she lies in bed that night in their attic bedroom, Powell leans over her and slits her throat.
Powell dumps Willa's body in the river. He finally learns the money's location from Pearl by threatening John. However, just after he finds out the location of the money, the children manage to flee with the money down the river by momentarily incapacitating Powell by John knocking him on the head. They eventually find sanctuary with Rachel Cooper, a tough old woman who looks after stray children. Powell eventually tracks them down, but Rachel sees through his false virtue. After a climactic standoff, in which Rachel protects the children with a shotgun but sings hymns through the night with Powell, he is arrested by the police, tried, and, apparently, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Willa and for the crimes against the children. Towards the end of the film, Rachel declares that "children are man at his strongest. They abide." The film ends with her speaking directly to camera: "They abide and they endure."
Theatrical : 1955-07-26 : United States of America
DVD : 2000-01-25
DVD : 2001-05-15