IMMERSIVE FILM SERIES
Films are, by their nature, immersive experiences. For this brief series, Curator (and film buff) Laura Burkhalter invited participating artist Matthew Willie Garcia and Dina Smith, a film scholar and associate professor of English at Drake University, to select movies that explore immersion through genre, aesthetics, and methods of worldbuilding.
The Night of the Hunter, 1955
Charles Laughton, director
Not rated / 93 minutes
Post-film commentary by Dina Smith, film scholar and Associate Professor of English at Drake University
The Night of the Hunter— the only film actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. It stars a sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil. This early independent film was produced by Des Moines native and Drake University graduate Paul Gregory, and had its 1955 world premiere in Des Moines.