'Best in Blu-ray' is a weekly column that runs on Tuesday and examines the week's new Blu-ray releases while focusing on recommending titles for both the Blu-ray veteran and newbie.
For Blu-ray Vets:
'The Night of the Hunter' (The Criterion Collection)
Twitter Tag Line: Robert Mitchum is the personification of evil in Charles Laughton's allegorical classic about the glories of innocence.
New Special Features: Almost everything is new, including an audio commentary and 2 1/2 hours of outtakes, "rushes" and behind the scenes footage, as detailed at DVD Beaver. Another important note: the aspect ratio is correctly rendered.
Transfer/Audio:Our own David Ehrlich feels that the visual presentation, with a veritable "grainstorm ... really toes the line between respectful and distracting.' He reports, however, that the audio is "flawless." (See his article for more preliminary notes.)
Replay Value: The first and only film directed by the great Charles Laughton is an allegory about good vs. evil and innocence vs. corruption. Robert Mitchum is, by turns, charming (in a greasy sort of way) and menacing (in a "wet your pants" kind of manner). The first couple of times through, it's easy to be distracted by a first-time director's inexperience, notable especially with the inexpert child acting, and the narrative bumps and bruises. Once you've absorbed those points into your subconscious, however, it's easier to take flight with the film's many virtues.