The Stranger (1946)
February 9, 2024 8:46 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Immediately following World War II, ex-Nazi Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) is living under a false identity as a teacher in a small Connecticut town, and has even married the headmaster's daughter (Loretta Young) as part of his cover. But when one of Kindler's old German associates (Konstantin Shayne) arrives unexpectedly in town, bringing in his wake a sly federal investigator (Edward G. Robinson), Kindler resorts to desperate measures to preserve his secret.

Directed by Orson Welles. Written by Anthony Veiller (screenplay), Victor Trivas (adaptation), Decla Dunning (adaptation). Uncredited writers: Orson Welles, John Huston. Story by Victor Trivas. Produced by S. P. Eagle for RKO.

Cinematography by Russell Metty. Edited by Ernest J. Nims. Music by Bronisław Kaper.

97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

In the public domain, with many options on JustWatch. I haven't checked them all, but you should be able to tell very quickly if you got the "good" version (grainy, some scratches and pops) or the badly "restored" version (gauzy, overly processed, no grain, zero depth, unwatchable).
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you watch a decent version (see notes in the post), this is a fun watch.

There's a sort of myth that Welles had the marginalized career he did because he was simply incapable of turning in a mass market hit on time and on budget. But this movie was big hit, with Oscar nominations. Everyone involved was pleassed.

Still didn't help him.

Some Wellesian brilliance here and there, but it's mostly a nice post-war noir/Nazis thing in the not quite top tier for thjat subgenre. Enjoyable, though.

If you get a physical copy, get the Kino Lorber edition, which is made from a print in good condition. The editions by Film Chest and Olive are processed within an inch of their lives and are just shitty, shitty, shitty. That sounds like something a fussy film nerd would say and not something a regular person would care about, but I bought the Film Chest Blu Ray and it's a fucking coaster.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:49 AM on February 9

I honestly don't remember which version I saw - because I was too unexpectedly amused by the fact that this was purportedly happening in Eastern Connecticut.

I grew up in Eastern Connecticut - in a town located in the county that was named the least likely to suffer natural disasters and home to a man who was statistically proven to be the most average man in the nation. My teenage complaint that "nothing ever happens around here" was therefore scientifically supported.

So the thought of my home town having something like this happen in it made me burst into random laughter in the middle of the film a couple times.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

The part where Rankin gives what he positions as a hardline speech against Nazis, but then gives himself away at the suggestion that Karl Marx was German ("He wasn't a German; he was a Jew") is pretty amazing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:43 AM on February 20

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