The Stranger

The Stranger

DVD - 1999
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An ex-Nazi is allowed to escape from a German war crimes prison after WWII to lead the Allies to a notorious spy planning to revive the Third Reich. The trail leads to a small Connecticut town where intrigue and murder combine for a tense situation.
Publisher: Charlotte, NC : Ovation Home Video, c1999
Description: 1 videodisc (95 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN: 9780769408804
Branch Call Number: DVD Stra


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Jan 18, 2019

The Stranger is the only one of Orson Welles's movies that was a commercial success on its first release, earning three times its cost in 18 months. It's also by far the most regularly plotted of his films, the story of the hunt for Franz Kindler, an escaped Nazi mass murderer who has all but covered his trail and surfaced in a small Connecticut, where he's become prep-school teacher Charles Rankin (Welles). The war crimes commission in Europe allows Kindler's closest henchman to escape, feeling (accurately) that he will lead them (in the person of an American sleuth identified only as Mr. Wilson [Edward G. Robinson]) to their quarry. Patsy and predator arrive in town on the same day, same bus. And then, the pace, already brisk, picks up and carries on, with only a few brief, always relevant let-ups, to a climax reminiscent of one of Hitchcock's landmark-clambering endings. The relentless pacing is admirably suited to the clipped, witty (but not always funny) dialogue; the highly dramatic, high contrast lighting in the preponderance of shots; and sharp, quick editing--though The Stranger also includes one of the longest takes in all of Welles's films, the first and final encounter of Rankin with his former adjutant--and odd-angle compositions a la German expressionism and Russian constructivism of the 1920s. The only actor to carp about may be Richard Long as the young brother of Rankin's new bride Mary (Loretta Young), who seems stiff; then again, he's supposed to be 18, and on second viewing, comes off better than at first. Young as Mary has a lot of set-up characterization for her part deleted, so that she is very curtly introduced; fortunately, the mounting unease unto hysteria of her role is something she suggests immediately in a steadily more exacting role. Robinson's Wilson is of necessity less domineering than the parts for which he is most famous, but he is especially adroit in his interchanges with Potter, the proprietor of the town drugstore and soda bar, which are self-service to assure that Potter need never rise from his catbird seat at the front door. That set was Welles' s invention that he uses with cool bravura, exploiting simultaneously different areas of action in it, a mirror to show the back of a character while he faces the camera, and a receding perspective (along the soda counter) for eye-catching deep focus shots, a Welles specialty. The actor he chose for Potter, Billy House, is another personal touch; House was a former vaudeville star whose face and manner chameleonically flicker from folksy to sinister as quickly as, if needed, from one second to the next, and Welles, who said that The Stranger was really House's movie, supposedly was seeking an opportunity to feature him. That fine composer Bronislau Kaper, contributes a dramatic but never pushy score. The Stranger may not be a transcendent film masterpiece, but it is Hollywood entertainment as artfully made as any thriller of its time, which was the beginning of film noir's domination of the crime thriller genre. Indeed, although not a noir, The Stranger looks more noir than almost all the real noirs. --Ray Olson

Jan 07, 2017

This was ok. I felt the villain in this film would have been a little more cautious with his actions. For a nazi who was able to hide for so long, his actions were impulsive and not calculative. I also found that the sharpness of the blade on the clock tower remarkably sharp for a statue. Interesting story, but the end was overdramatized.

Apr 11, 2015

This is a 1946 American film noir directed by Orson Welles.
It was the third feature film completed by Welles as a director.
A war crimes investigator tracks a high-ranking Nazi fugitive to a New England town.
It is quite suspenseful, but the villain seems more like a psychopath than a political fugitive.

Veepea Sep 30, 2011

This was quite a good movie with lots of suspense and good acting.

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