Charles Laughton, 1955, bw (9.0*)
This is one of the creepiest, most blood-curdling films ever made, and the best from actor Robert Mitchum. Oscar-winning actor Charles Laughton directed his one and only film and it's a film noir masterpiece. Mitchum plays a convict who finds out about a woman alone with her kids who may have money stashed from another criminal's robbery. When Mitchum gets out of prison, he poses as the most evil preacher in history, with 'love' and 'hate' tatooed on his hands, one letter per finger, and he tells the kids they go hand in hand.
Robert Mitchum actually seems semi-passionate about something in a film for once - money in this case. A young Shelly Winters plays the mother, and Mitchum stops at nothing to terrorize her (and Lilian Gish later) and the kids just to get the money, especially the kids (this is not for the squeamish!) This is full of eerie and unforgettable shots: a victim gently floating underwater in the current, an interior lit like to appear like a church (see above), and some dreamy yet nightmarish images of shadows creeping in the night. The only negative here is that Laughton didn't make any more films as director! One of the best black-and-white films made as well, nearly every shot is a work of art.