Davis Grubb and Charles Laughton discovered that they were of very similar wavelengths throughout the making process. By An article about TCM, Laughton thought of “Night of the Hunter” as a fairy tale from the very beginning. “It’s a really nightmarish Mother Goose story we’re telling,” he said. In the 6th Edition of “The New Biographical Film Dictionary,” David Thompson claimed Laughton’s contributions to the “Hans Andersen-like clarity of vision” and “extraordinary legendary precision” of “Night of the Hunter.” Meanwhile, while writing “Heaven and Hell to Play With”, Davis notes his interest in Grubb’s children’s song “London Bridge is Falling Down”. Grubb read in “The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes” that the song derives from the “ancient custom” of burying children alive by the riverside to appease the river’s gods before building a bridge.
Like Grubb, James Agee was born in the South, although he was in Tennessee rather than West Virginia. He profiled white Alabama sharecroppers in “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” and won a Pulitzer Prize for his posthumous novel “A Death in the Family” set in Tennessee. Michael Sragow says Agee, like Laughton, is “trying to reinvigorate the fearless creativity of DW Griffith.” criterion. Griffith criticized for directing today “The Birth of a Nation” A revisionist Civil War history that positions the Ku Klux Klan as the last line of defense between free Black slaves and white women of the United States. Writers and activists at the time the film was released in 1915 disgusted by racism. Both Agee and Laughton were inspired by Griffith’s vision of a mythical larger-than-life South, whether or not it existed outside of books and movies.