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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangers in the Flight
Orson Welles was a class act back `int day. He may have been a bit eccentric, but he could knock out a decent film noir when he wanted to. He may be famed for `Citizen Kane', but he did make other noir, including `The Stranger', a film he also directed and starred in. Welles plays Professor Charles Rankin an upstanding new member of a small town community, but are...
Published on 13 Feb 2012 by Sam Tyler

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "In Harper there's nothing to be afraid of,"
One of Orson Welles' periodic attempts to prove he could be commercial, The Stranger casts him as a pillar of small town Harper, Connecticut's community, a history teacher, son-in-law of the local judge and also the local Nazi war criminal being tracked down by Edward G. Robinson's Nazi hunter (who susses Welles' true identity when he refuses to acknowledge Karl Marx as a...
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Trevor Willsmer


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangers in the Flight, 13 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Stranger [1946] [DVD] (DVD)
Orson Welles was a class act back `int day. He may have been a bit eccentric, but he could knock out a decent film noir when he wanted to. He may be famed for `Citizen Kane', but he did make other noir, including `The Stranger', a film he also directed and starred in. Welles plays Professor Charles Rankin an upstanding new member of a small town community, but are there hidden depths to him? He does appear to have forthright opinions on certain political issues. He is to marry local women Mary Longsheet, the daughter of the Town Judge, but then Mr Wilson comes along. Wilson is on the hunt for a man believed to have escaped from Germany during the recent war - his path leads to the same small town as Prof Rankin.

`The Stranger' is basic film noir in that it does not try to do anything particularly new within the genre, but it does it well. The story is not the strongest element; you pretty much know what is going to happen, but this does not matter when you have some great performances at the centre of the film. Welles is excellent as the mysterious Prof Rankin. He is not an out and out ogre, as a lesser actor would play him. Welles gives him some much needed human elements. As the detective foil Edward G Robinson is brilliant in his `Colombo' style role as the untidy looking detective who actually knows a lot more than he is letting on. As the case draws to an end cracks start to appear in all the characters and the film rises to a nice boil.

Like so many noir films there are one or two elements that let it down. The female characters are underdeveloped and, as mentioned, the plot is a little threadbare. However, strong male leads and decent direction from Welles makes this a better slice of noir pie.

The version I watched was a good clean transfer, but did not have any extras of note.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "In Harper there's nothing to be afraid of,", 15 Sep 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] (DVD)
One of Orson Welles' periodic attempts to prove he could be commercial, The Stranger casts him as a pillar of small town Harper, Connecticut's community, a history teacher, son-in-law of the local judge and also the local Nazi war criminal being tracked down by Edward G. Robinson's Nazi hunter (who susses Welles' true identity when he refuses to acknowledge Karl Marx as a German and dismisses him as a Jew). Robinson underplays his role well and provides a good contrast to Welles' slightly broader portrait (leaving his own wedding reception to bury a body and later doodling a swastika during a phone call), while Loretta Young goes impressively through a nervous breakdown as his unknowing wife.

For the most part eschewing the more expressionistic lighting of film noir for a clean, open-air look (most of the film takes place in bright daylight), the film is in many ways similar but superior to Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt in its portrait of evil hidden in the midst of a respectable and decent community ("In Harper there's nothing to be afraid of," a character notes). It's not Welles at his very best, but it does very nicely all the same.

Not so nice is the job you'll have finding a decent DVD copy: since falling into the Public Domain the film has been released by dozens of different labels in prints vary from poor to terrible. MGM/UA's French PAL DVD release is one of the better ones, but it's not so easy to find so you might end up having to take pot luck and hope for the best with one of the many UK budget releases.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stranger is wonderful, 7 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Orson Welles directed this film shortly after Kane to help finish his 3 contract deal at RKO studios. Aalthough not as good as Kane or The Magnificent Ambersons, it contains a well directed finishing scene in the clocktower and Welles delivers a menacing performance as a Nazi on the run. This is a must have for anyone who appreciates the brilliance of Orson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They searched the woods. I watched them, here, like God looking at little ants., 4 July 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] (DVD)
We are in the college town of Harper, Connecticut, one day a man known only as Wilson arrives, he's a member of the War Crimes Commission, in short he's a Nazi Hunter. On his radar is the man thought to have invented the Nazi Death Camps, Franz Kindler, surely such a despicable and low human being is not residing in this lovely little place?

The Stranger finds director (and star) Orson Welles fusing two rather interesting facts, fact one is that this picture, coming at a time when Welles was really struggling as a viable artist, is one of his most conventional pictures, fact two is that it's also one of his finest achievements. All Welles' traits are here, the expert use of shadows and lights, tricksy camera angles, buildings carrying auras. A clock tower at the centre of the piece is a foreboding character all by itself, listen out for the clock tower dongs and I swear to you they sound like a death knell beckoning us in to its belly, this is Welles crafting wonderful atmospherics to enhance the mood in this small and picturesque town.

Yet it's probably with his acting performance that he achieves the best rewards, it's made clear to the viewers from the off that Welles is the villain of the piece, it's not in question, the issue is if he can avoid and escape the clutches of Edward G Robinson's determined Wilson? Here Welles excels because this is no cartoon cut out Nazi portrayal, this is cold and calculating stuff, cynical with devilment seeping from his pores, he arrogantly believes that he is just and correct at every turn. Loretta Young (Mary Longstreet) plays off of Welles very well, on the surface it looked like she wasn't being asked to be anything more than a foolish love interest, but as the last quarter arrives she gets some meat to chew on and aided by Robinson in perfectly restrained form, gives us a finale that in true Welles tradition is as memorable as it is unfeasibly gorgeous.

It's a fitting end to a truly great picture, highly recommended viewing, tight, tense and terrific. 9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor DVD from Network of good Orson Welles film, 8 May 2014
By 
J. King - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] (DVD)
The Stranger is a great film... The DVD from Network is of quite poor quality, the image is considerably fuzzy and the contrast of the black and white is low compared to the region 1 MGM DVD and the blu-ray...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror at Trumpton, 26 May 2010
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Nazi-hunter Edward G Robinson (Wilson) tracks former Nazi bad guy Orson Welles (Franz Kindler) to a small town called 'Harper' where he is living under an assumed name of Charles Rankin. Welles is a teacher with a passion for clocks and Robinson arrives on the day of Welles's marriage to Loretta Young (Mary). Robinson sets about trying to prove Welles's true identity to those around him. Does he succeed or can Welles outwit him.....?..

The film plays out at a good pace with a good cast. A special mention must go to Edward G Robinson as the likable Nazi-hunter and Billy House as Mr Potter, the general store manager whose main obsession is beating his customers at checkers. These two have some amusing scenes together as they pit their wits against one another although we know that Robinson isn't at all interested in winning the game of checkers. The scene is repeated again with House and Orson Welles to good dramatic effect as we know that Welles also isn't bothered about winning.

There are a couple of stupid moments. The first being a scene at the beginning of the film where a group of grown-up schoolboys run around littering the woods with paper. It seems slightly strange for young men of this age to get so excited by playing paperchase. It's a bit gay and the comment to a woman who walks past is utterly unconvincing as these young men dressed in their gym outfits begin to run around the park chasing each other. They are NOT heterosexual males so don't try to fool us that they are. The second stupid moment is when Robinson sets up Loretta Young to be murdered by Welles. He does this and then tells Philip Merivale, who plays her father, who doesn't seem to mind! What!!! OK - set up my daughter to be killed....thank you. Unbelievable. Still, it progresses the storyline.

However, there are some good, tense scenes, including the murder at the beginning of the film and especially towards the end with the dialogues between Loretta Young and Orson Welles. The film is worth keeping and watching again. Check out the Tower Clock.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality DVDbe this, 26 July 2012
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The film is interesting and is very cheap but for a reason. It is a very poor quality copy it is in the wrong ratio, it looks like it is on zoom and the lighting is far to bright it looks like a video taped from the telly then transferred to dvd? I wouldn't have purchased it if I had known the quality was going to be this poor.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Waiting in the Wings, 18 May 2010
"The Stranger" is more interesting for what came three years after - "The Third Man" - than for what it contains. Briefly, it deals with the hunt for a Nazi war criminal (Welles) by an F.B.I agent (Robinson), the ensuing psychological games to get the Nazi's new young wife (Loretta Young) to realise who and what he really is, and the final chase and denouement.

The film gives the impression of hasty formulation and preparation. Made in 1946, it deals with the subject of Nazi criminals hiding out under assumed identities. We are asked to believe that this Nazi, in a film made barely a year after the end of the war, has so thoroughly insinuated himself in the life of a small American town that no-one suspects who he is, although if we accept the real timescale of the events he can only have been there for a few months at most. Some of the dialogue is a little confused (though the soundtrack quality on my VHS video didn't help with this) and occasionally the actors stumble over each other's lines. Robinson seems uneasy, fine actor though he was, and Loretta Young looks positively anorexic. Some of the second-string actors are very wooden, and the German-style Impressionist photography sometimes seems stilted and self-conscious.
However, view it as a precursor to "The Third Man" and you will find it much more interesting than if you watch it purely as a thriller. The photography, used to such good effect in "The Third Man", was I think tried out to some extent here - witness the moody camera angles and threatening shadow effects which, though not new, had yet to reach their apogee in the American Noir Cinema of the 40's and 50's. Also, and particularly interesting, is the climax of the film, where the Nazi fugitive is cornered in a clock tower. At one point he looks down from the tower at the townsfolk milling below and refers to them as "ants" - much as Harry Lime did a few years later in his Viennese Ferris wheel. I half-expected him to make a reference to cuckoo clocks, though I was disappointed in this. Interestingly enough, though, the Nazi character is obsessed with clocks, which is one of the things that helped give his real identity away.
So, as an entertainment, a reasonable pot-boiler. As a piece of fascinating film history, priceless.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Enemy Within, 16 Feb 2006
By 
Paul D "Paul" (Darwen, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
Orson Welles plays the Stranger of the title, a wanted Nazi war-criminal now living in a small American town, a highly respected and well-liked man, now working as a school teacher and about to be married to the daughter of a local judge. Hot on his heals is Edward G. Robinson as the government agent intent on tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Welles gives a well-judged depiction of restrained evil, sinister and malevolent like the spider at the centre of a web. His ordered life in the town begins to fall apart with the arrival of an old ally, who has now found forgiveness in religion, and whom he now finds himself compelled to murder. Gradually, the net closes in until a tense finale and a satisfying denouement. Praise must also go to Robinson for his performance as the dogged agent, persistent upholder of right and justice. The film contains a strong sense of American wholesomeness, beneath which lurks something dark and terrifying.
This was regarded as the film which saved Orson Welles’s career. He starred and directed and ensured that the result was a superior thriller that would resonate down the years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Nazi melodrama, 11 Jun 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] (DVD)
The Stranger was made by International Pictures, and released by RKO in 1946. The copyright belonged to The Haig Corporation, but the film is now in the public domain, since its copyright was not reviewed in 1973.
Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), who works for the UN War Crimes Commission, searches for Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a Nazi war criminal. Kindler has covered his tracks, taken the name Charles Rankin and become a teacher in a small town. He is married, to Mary Longstreet (Loretta Young), whose father is a Supreme Court Justice. Wilson hopes Meinike (Konstantin Shayne), a former associate of Kindler, will lead him to his quarry. Wilson follows Meinike but loses him. before he meets with Kindler. Meinike, who has realised the evils of Nazism, tries to persuade Kindler to give hiself up and Kindler murders him rather than risk being betrayed by him to the authorities.
The film is strongly anti-Fascist. Welles was, apparently, very keen that it should contain actual footage of the concentration camps and got his way. In one scene, Mary Longstreet is shown watching the footage in shocked silence. Welles believed that Nazism had only gone underground after WW2 and would raise its head again, causing further wars, and Kindler/Rankin asserts this n the film. The aim was to alert America to this danger.
The story is powerful, if a little melodramatic, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Orson Welles was a terrific actor, but in this film he is relatively inexperienced and neither he nor Loretta Young give their best performances. It has been remastered and the quality is pretty good
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Stranger [Blu-ray] [1946] [US Import]
Stranger [Blu-ray] [1946] [US Import] by Orson Welles (Blu-ray - 2013)
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