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The Stranger [DVD]

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Philip Merivale, Richard Long
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Jan. 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LOTY06
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,049 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Orson Welles directs and stars in this noir tale of Nazi war criminals hidden away in small-town America. Officer Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, is on the trail of Franz Kindler, a Nazi leader responsible for the atrocities of the Holocaust. Following Kindler's former associate Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) to Harper, Connecticut, Wilson thinks he's found his target adopting the new identity of Charles Rankin (Welles), a local school teacher with plans to restore the town clock to its former glory. Wilson stays around to investigate, while Rankin's wife Mary Longstreet (Loretta Young) becomes increasingly distrustful of her partner's suspicious behaviour...

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The legendary story that hovers over Orson Welles' The Stranger is that he wanted Agnes Moorehead to star as the dogged Nazi hunter who trails a war criminal to a sleepy New England town. The part went to Edward G. Robinson, who is marvellous, but it points out how many compromises Welles made on the film in an attempt to show Hollywood he could make a film on time, on budget and on their own terms. He accomplished all three, turning out a stylish if unambitious film noir thriller, his only Hollywood film to turn a profit on its original release. Welles stars as unreformed fascist Franz Kindler, hiding as a schoolteacher in a New England prep school for boys and newly married to the headmaster's lovely if naive daughter (Loretta Young). Welles, the director, is in fine form for the opening sequences, casting a moody tension as agents shadow a twitchy low-level Nazi official skulking through South American ports and building up to dramatic crescendo as Kindler murders this little man, the lovely woods becoming a maelstrom of swirling leaves that expose the body he furiously tries to bury. The rest of the film is a well designed but conventional cat-and-mouse game featuring an eye-rolling performance by Welles and a thrilling conclusion played out in the dark clock tower that looms over the little village. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
THE STRANGER [1946 / 2015] [Blu-ray + DVD] The Most Deceitful Man A Woman Ever Loved!

Having directed two undisputed masterpieces like ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘The Magnificent Ambersons,’ Orson Welles delved into the suspense film, crafting a post-war, psychological noir that laid the foundations for his later “film noir” classics, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ and ‘Touch of Evil.’

Edward G. Robinson stars as a government agent tracking down a sadistic Nazi officer Franz Kindler [Orson Welles], who has evaded justice for running Nazi extermination camps. Rankin has crafted a new identity for himself in a quaint Connecticut town by marrying Mary Longstreet [Loretta Young], the daughter of a local judge, but as his past begins to catch up with him will his wife side with the investigators or her husband…

Circulated in poor versions for decades, this edition of ‘THE STRANGER’ was remastered in HD [1080p] from an original 35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress and this special edition to celebrate the 100th year of the birth of Orson Welles is accompanied by a wealth of extras including “Death Mills” documentary by director Billy Wilder. Original Theatrical Trailer and an excerpt from the TV series: “Around the World with Orson Welles,” plus the radio broadcasts by Orson Welles.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 19th Academy Awards®: Nomination: Screenplay for an Original Motion Picture Story for Victor Travis.

Cast: Edward G.
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2 Comments 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: 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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Format: 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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