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Having already written extensively about the movie in my review of Kathy Hepinstall's Absence of Nectar, I'll only add a few more comments here.  The inspiration for this book, and for the character of Harry Powell, was Harry Powers, known as the Bluebeard of Quiet Dell, who was hanged on March 18, 1932, at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.  Powers was convicted of killing Asta B. Eicher. a widow, along with her three children, and another widow, Dorothy Lemke.  He may also have killed a traveling salesman.  The story would have been sensational at any time, but to a nation deep in the Depression, it offered welcome diversion.  Grubb, like Powers, was a resident of Clarksburg, and it's easy to imagine the grip the story must have exerted on the mind of a teen boy.

At any rate, the novel he wrote has surely captivated the rest of us. Charles Laughton used it as the source for the only movie he ever directed, the failure of which was apparently a devastating personal blow to him.  It can be difficult to find the book these days, but it's well worth the effort.  And the film is now acknowledged as a true cinema classic.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Book-related and General Links:
    -Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library : Authors from the Marshall County Area : Davis Grubb
    -BOOK SITE : Fools' Parade : A Novel by Davis Grubb (UT Press)
    -ESSAY : "Thy Brother's Blood": Capital Punishment in West Virginia (Stan Bumgardner and Christine Kreiser)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Andrew Wells, Go Go Magazine)
    -REVIEW : of The Weird Tales of Davis Grubb (Jessica Amanda Salmonson)

    -FILMOGRAPHY : Davis Grubb (
    -FILMOGRAPHY : Charles Laughton (Imdb)
    -BUY IT :   The Night of the Hunter (1955)  DVD (
    -INFO : Night of the Hunter (1955) (
    -ESSAY : Why I love Night Of The Hunter (Margaret Atwood, The Guardian, March 19, 1999)
    -ESSAY : Text and Texture: A comparative analysis of The Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear (1962) and Cape Fear (1991) (Harvey O'Brien)
    -ESSAY : NEW YORK STATE WRITERS INSTITUTE : Film Notes : The Night of the Hunter
    -ESSAY : Long shadows (New Statesman, April 02 1999 by Jonathan Romney)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter by Simon Callow (Complete Review)
    -REVIEW : A magnificent and lonely masterpiece :  The failure of his film 'The Night of the Hunter' broke Charles Laughton's heart.  Only now, says his biographer Simon Callow, can we see its genius (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH,  March 27, 1999)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Tim Dirks, Film Site)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (TV Guide)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Film Written)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Scott Renshaw's Screening Room)
    -REVIEW :  (Bob Banka, The Big Review)
    -REVIEW : (Philip French, The Observer uk)
    -REVIEW : of Night of the Hunter (Jerry Renshaw, Austin Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : Feb 15, 1990 James Harvey: Quasimodo in America, NY Review of Books
       Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor by Simon Callow
    -PROFILE: The Last of the Iron-Assed Loners (Brad Darrach, September 1972, Penthouse)