Stranger, The

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Stranger, The


English   Country: USA   Year: 1946

Stranger, The


Orson Welles


Edward G. Robinson; Loretta Young; Orson Welles


DramaFilm NoirThriller


The American War Crimes tribunal is seeking Franz Kindler, a mastermind of the holocaust. The tribunal sets Meinike, a Nazi, free in the hopes that he will lead them to Kindler who is secretly living in Connecticut. Black & White.


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User Reviews


(Average=3.00 out of 5; Total Number=2)

Grat Film, Below Average DVD Quality (rating=2)

As with all the releases from laserlight, gotham, or alpha you can expect horrible picture and sound quality and a low,low price. So once again if you've never seen this film before orsimply just want a version for real cheapit is quite worth it to pick this up. If however, you're anal about sound and picture fidelity just do yourself a favor and wait until someone releases a cleaned up, remastered version of this fine film.

The Stranger (rating=4)

"You can threaten me with the bottom pits of hell," Edgar G. Robinson as War Crimes Commissioner Mr. Wilson exhorts a roomful of tired old Europeans, "this obscenity must be destroyed."
The "obscenity" is former Nazi Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a death camp mastermind who disappeared shortly after the war. Wilson wins his argument and Konrad Meinike, one of Kindler's Nazi subalterns, is allowed to escape, hoping that he'll lead Wilson to Kindler.
Like the best film noirs, this is a handsome movie of shadows and sunlight. Meinike does make a shadowy escape, and Wilson follows him to the bucolic town of Harper, Connecticut. The stakes are implied but clear - Kindler and his ilk are malignant cancers, and Harper is pure and uncorrupt. Evil can't be allowed to sink its rotted tendrils into Harper. Harper with its ivied walls and paper chases, with the boys whistling at pretty blondes and new brides hanging new curtains.
Meinike does find Kindler, now Dr. Charles Rankin, early on in the movie. Evil needs shadows and dark places to grow. "We must stay hidden 'til the day we strike again." Kindler/Rankin is hunted, he knows it, and Meinike is an unwelcome intrusion. The last thing he needs is an old army buddy with the thick German accent hanging around.
Kindler makes and shallow plants the first corpse of the film, and so we're off.
THE STRANGER is a slick little suspense movie that really shouldn't be subjected to intense scrutiny. For instance, it's probably better we believe that Kindler was able to "disappear" into Smalltown, USA so smoothly. It's best we ignore the nagging question of how Rankin was able to woo and win the heart and hand of the beautiful daughter of a liberal Supreme Court Justice so quickly. And, later on in the movie, it's better not to snort at Wilson's rationalization for putting Mary Longstreet Rankin's (Loretta Young) life in danger. And it's definitely better not to wonder how a woman who is astute enough to question someone's advocacy of a "Carthaginian peace" can be so blind to her husband's dark secrets.
Young is wonderful as a young woman who has to journey from na´ve young bride to a confused woman torn between love and terror. Robinson is just right as the driven Nazi hunter. Welles, in the lead role, is another story. He's too much the ham for a role like this. He's a little too over the top. Rankin/Kindler is a man who is living a great lie, and the penalty is great if he's found out. The role calls for someone who can internalize dread and terror, and Welles was never a great internalizer. Gregory Peck probably would have been perfect in the role - Peck was always better at repressing, rather than expressing, emotions.
Quibbles aside, I strongly recommend THE STRANGER. There's enough going on here to forgive its minor excesses and inconsistencies. Besides, it LOOKS so darn good. Welles' movies always have something visually interesting going on.
This IS a budget dvd, so the print and sound quality are less than pristine. I've seen worse, and frankly I didn't notice the scratches and splotches and such until I started looking for them.