This summer, Nashville’s one-and-only Belcourt Theatre offers an awesome opportunity for fans to join in “Robert Mitchum: 100 Years.” Films include Cape Fear and El Dorado, welcome big-screen events. For noir lovers, it’s even grander, including Saturday and Sunday screenings of Out of the Past, Angel Face, and The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Even more wonderful for me, they’re also showing a noir I’ve never seen: Macao — costarring Jane Russell (so we know Russell-fan Movie Movie Blog Blog will know the flick!).
The series started off on July 1 and 2 with Night of the Hunter (1955), a film I’ve seen five times already, but still enjoyed immensely on the big screen.
The best part of the experience was definitely the audience, who got all the jokes, from Icey Spoonisms to incredible facial expressions. As always, my pet peeve was Pearl, especially when she’s supposed to be singing in the skiff. It was a grand day out, to be sure, as I and two friends basked in the glory of Mitchum’s preacher man. This time, I particularly enjoyed his knife erection ripping open his pocket over and over as well as looking to see which hand (LOVE or HATE) was emphasized when he spoke and moved. Yet, I do still find the Xmas scene and Gish’s final speech sickening. Yes, children do abide, but they also suffer PTSD and many die in the streets. Anyhow, I paid attention once again to the Old Testament (Harry Powell) vs. New Testament (Rachel Cooper) perspectives presented, with emphasis on Moses as the precursor to Jesus for Christians. Finally, I loved Poor Uncle Birdie Steptoe and John Harper extra hard. The two of them should’ve left town together.
Note: I hate to remember that the first time I saw the film was after I was just out of graduate school, and my superficial feminism led me to hate the film because its images of women weren’t strong: passive Willow Harper, gossipy ignorant Icey Spoon, and maternal Rachel Cooper. As if we admire any of the men more. Ah well, we live and we grow and we learn.
Thanks, Charles Laughton, for directing this film; and thanks Belcourt, for showing it.