The Stranger (1946)

Film review: The Stranger (1946), directed by Orson Welles

thestranger1946Mr Wilson (Edward G Robinson) works as a detective, tracking wanted war criminals and bringing them to justice. When on the trail of a prominent Nazi Franz Kindler, he follows a man called Konrad Meineke (Konstantin Shayne) to a town in Connecticut, USA, and suspicions fall on history professor, Charles Rankin (Orson Welles), because he’s a relative stranger to the town – and today he’s getting married to Mary (Loretta Young).

Meineke goes missing, and the plot thickens. Who was he, and what was he doing in town? And isn’t it curious that Rankin’s hobby is tinkering with clocks? A hobby he has in common with Franz Kindler …

Also starring Philip Merivale as Judge Longstreet, Richard Long as Noah, Byron Keith as Dr Lawrence, Martha Wentworth as Sara the housekeeper, and Billy House as Mr Potter.

I willingly admit that I was sold on watching this film based entirely on the fact that a 1940s handsome Orson Welles is in it (in a moustache, sadface), and I knew very little else about it. The Stranger turned out to be a thriller about an escaped Nazi. At first, I thought it was something to do with Communism, as I kept hearing the word “comrade”, but apparently not.

Acting is really good, although I wasn’t keen on what happened to the dog, and the story is intriguing. It starts out a bit slow, perhaps, but I didn’t really notice, because I was rolling out pieces of dough at the time. The pace then picks up and keeps going all the way to the end. There are some very un-subtle parts (doodling a swastika while on the phone? Come on), but all in all, it’s a genuinely well-made film. Surprisingly so. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did! Should you come across it, give it a chance. It would be worth your while. 🙂

4.5 out of 5 abandoned suitcases.

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