With one performance, as the homicidal preacher Harry Powell, Mitchum changed the perception that a clergyman in a film was someone the audience could trust to do the right thing. He might instead be the person who will do the very worst thing.
From these two films, one might get the impression that ministry and killing always go hand in hand. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in all of Robert Mitchum’s filmography, so we’ll be looking at clergy and churches in Robert Mitchum films to see if there are more pleasant ecclesiastical outcomes. (Spoiler, Deborah Kerr, as a nun in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, doesn’t go on a deadly killing spree. She’s rather nice, in fact.) Look for a new Mitchum Movie Church every Friday this month.