The Stranger (1946)   Leave a comment

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A small New England town after World War II provides the backdrop for murder and betrayal as a Nazi war criminal evades capture and settles there. Posing as a history professor at an elite boys’ school, Orson Welles thinks he has it made until a former minion arrives in town with FBI agent Edward G. Robinson at his heels. Welles must silence his former cohort and elude Robinson all while proving to new bride Loretta Young that the agent’s allegations are false. Welles, influenced by German impressionist cinema and his own aesthetic directed The Stranger using shadows and camera angles to express confusion, fear, and anxiety in his characters. The idyllic New England village with its general store and bucolic scenery serve to heighten the suspense and disbelief that such evil could lurk beneath its picture-perfect setting.
The Stranger seldom makes it onto top noir lists but it should. Welles does menacing rather well and Robinson’s quirky, but smart Mr. Wilson is fun to watch.

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