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Archive for August 17th, 2008

“Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil?”

In Depression-times, a man robs a bank out of desperation to provide for his family in the long-term.   Having killed two men doing so, he is immediately hunted down by the police, but not before he hides the money he stole.   Knowing that the only two other people, his children, are aware of the location of the money, he extracts an oath from them both that neither will tell a soul about the money – not even their own mother.

The father is hauled off to jail and while he awaits execution for his crimes, a strange man comes to share his cell.   Preacher Harry Powell, a man who knows that the Lord “don’t mind the killins” but hates “other things, lacy things…things with curly hair” is a fire and brimstone type of preacher, a man who has the words “LOVE” and “HATE” tattooed on his knuckles, but one who was nonetheless caught with a stolen car.   Upon finding out his new cellmate’s crimes, Powell attempts to worm out the secret of the hidden money, but all he gets are some mumbled words from his cellmate in his sleep.

So, upon his release, Harry Powell tracks down the man’s widow – Willa – and promptly marries her, hoping to leverage his position into forcing the children, John and Pearl, into revealing the location of the money.  The children refuse, and Willa eventually begins to put the pieces together.   Upon revealing that she knows that he’s hounding the children about the money, Powell kills her and tells the town people that she ran off after he found her drinking.

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