The movie simply looks different from a lot of other movies of the day, with shots framed with a still-photographer's eye, unusual use of angles, overly stylized dialogue, and a general feeling of a stage play to the proceedings. None of that is a criticism. Quite the opposite.
|don't mind me, I'm just here for a small bit a crazy|
While its filmed in the 1950's, the movie clearly takes place during the Depression. Peter "Mission Impossible" Graves has a small role as the father of two children and the husband of Shelley Winters. He steals $10,000 from a bank and kills two men in the process, but his intention was to get enough money to feed his community.
In jail, Ben Harper (Graves) is bunked with Powell (Mitchum) who is in on a stolen car rap. When Harper is executed and Powell is released, Powell heads to find Harper's family and the $10,000 that was never recovered, knowing Harper's widow (Shelley Winters) and her children are left behind.
|Shelley Winters is wooed by Mitchum|
Mitchum is amazingly effective in the over-blown role of Harry Powell, a handsome minister with "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on his fingers. And the movie has quite a bit to say about keeping one eye open with those we're trained to trust, and the wolf in sheep's clothing, and blindly following the expectations of those we look up to. But it also doesn't cynically attack the idea that there is goodness, and it doesn't shy away from a childrens' storybook feel as the plot turns to children evading capture and finding a safe-haven.
|Mitchum explains how he's a-gonna kill himself a widow|
Anyhow, I obviously liked it.