The Stranger Reviews

  • Jan 04, 2021

    After seeing this film years ago and coming away disappointed I figured maybe it needed another chance. For Wells fans and film geeks, this is supposedly a "great" movie but for those with an eye for film greatness - it's simply a rampant melodrama - overflowing with half-baked ideas and ridiculously unbelievable situations. If examined intelligently, it's impossible to take seriously any of the stories characters – as all fit a stereotypical clichéd mould. While it starts out interestingly, with a couple of visually well set-up scenes it quickly becomes tiresome. In the early stages, Wells walks through a wooded part of town with schoolboys running around everywhere and murders a man in broad daylight...without even checking to see if anyone might be looking, this is just one of many glaring weakness that pepper this strained production. Acting runs the gamut between intense and laughable. Edward G. Robinson takes all honours with his performance as the high profile investigative officer hunting a prominent Nazi death camp criminal...a mass killer, who just months after the war, happens to fit neatly into a provincial Connecticut town teaching in the local college (with no hint of a German accent!) Good work if you can get it. Loretta Young does what she can with a weakly written part. Director of photography Russell Metty (The Misfits), a reliable general all-rounder, adds the best touches to this messy picture with nice moody B/W shots - in an attempt to add some class to otherwise sub-standard work. He is aided with interesting work from production designer Perry Fergusson (The Best Years Of Our lives '46). Wells tackles his character with badly measured, overacted bluster, often looking laughably silly and displaying glaringly obvious signs of guilt with every move he makes. One scene, at a dinner table, where he delivers a monologue about the German ‘character' is good but then that's it for him. As with most works coming from those with inflated egos, they blame studio interference (sometimes rightly but never always) or those they worked with - then head downhill. Mr Wells' post ‘Kane' fans will last the distance, some others may run screaming from the room (as with much of his later works). This man rose to fame on the super talented back-up support he received from the dedicated professionals he was fortunate to have assigned to him at RKO for ‘Kane', then went rapidly to the bottom as soon as he lost their creative assistance. Those who like movies that feature style over substance won't understand many of these comments - while many other viewers may shake their heads in disbelief throughout (and this is supposed to be one of the better later works)

    After seeing this film years ago and coming away disappointed I figured maybe it needed another chance. For Wells fans and film geeks, this is supposedly a "great" movie but for those with an eye for film greatness - it's simply a rampant melodrama - overflowing with half-baked ideas and ridiculously unbelievable situations. If examined intelligently, it's impossible to take seriously any of the stories characters – as all fit a stereotypical clichéd mould. While it starts out interestingly, with a couple of visually well set-up scenes it quickly becomes tiresome. In the early stages, Wells walks through a wooded part of town with schoolboys running around everywhere and murders a man in broad daylight...without even checking to see if anyone might be looking, this is just one of many glaring weakness that pepper this strained production. Acting runs the gamut between intense and laughable. Edward G. Robinson takes all honours with his performance as the high profile investigative officer hunting a prominent Nazi death camp criminal...a mass killer, who just months after the war, happens to fit neatly into a provincial Connecticut town teaching in the local college (with no hint of a German accent!) Good work if you can get it. Loretta Young does what she can with a weakly written part. Director of photography Russell Metty (The Misfits), a reliable general all-rounder, adds the best touches to this messy picture with nice moody B/W shots - in an attempt to add some class to otherwise sub-standard work. He is aided with interesting work from production designer Perry Fergusson (The Best Years Of Our lives '46). Wells tackles his character with badly measured, overacted bluster, often looking laughably silly and displaying glaringly obvious signs of guilt with every move he makes. One scene, at a dinner table, where he delivers a monologue about the German ‘character' is good but then that's it for him. As with most works coming from those with inflated egos, they blame studio interference (sometimes rightly but never always) or those they worked with - then head downhill. Mr Wells' post ‘Kane' fans will last the distance, some others may run screaming from the room (as with much of his later works). This man rose to fame on the super talented back-up support he received from the dedicated professionals he was fortunate to have assigned to him at RKO for ‘Kane', then went rapidly to the bottom as soon as he lost their creative assistance. Those who like movies that feature style over substance won't understand many of these comments - while many other viewers may shake their heads in disbelief throughout (and this is supposed to be one of the better later works)

  • Jul 11, 2020

    Franz Kindler (Welles) is a Nazi who conceived of the WWII concentration camps who, improbably, almost no one ever heard of who reinvents himself as mild-mannered teacher and clock repair wizard immediately after the war in Harper Connecticut. He marries the daughter, Mary (Loretta Young) of a Supreme Court Justice. All is swell until the Nazi hunter Mr Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) shows up and blows his cover. The movie is beautifully shot, as we would expect. Welles is excellent as the Nazi, and Loretta Young's acting is a bit hysterically overwrought - well, after all, she is playing a hysterical woman until she turns the tables on Welles. It's that hysterical woman bit that doesn't age so well nowadays. There's also a bit too much of stale psychologizing that doesn't age well. Still, Johnny C. sez give it a go. PS - weirdly enough, Mary calls her dad Adam and he calls her Sister. Doesn't make sense unless you want to go the Freudian route.

    Franz Kindler (Welles) is a Nazi who conceived of the WWII concentration camps who, improbably, almost no one ever heard of who reinvents himself as mild-mannered teacher and clock repair wizard immediately after the war in Harper Connecticut. He marries the daughter, Mary (Loretta Young) of a Supreme Court Justice. All is swell until the Nazi hunter Mr Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) shows up and blows his cover. The movie is beautifully shot, as we would expect. Welles is excellent as the Nazi, and Loretta Young's acting is a bit hysterically overwrought - well, after all, she is playing a hysterical woman until she turns the tables on Welles. It's that hysterical woman bit that doesn't age so well nowadays. There's also a bit too much of stale psychologizing that doesn't age well. Still, Johnny C. sez give it a go. PS - weirdly enough, Mary calls her dad Adam and he calls her Sister. Doesn't make sense unless you want to go the Freudian route.

  • Jun 04, 2020

    A MASTERPIECE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT MOVIE!!A film of such talent and interest not seen in decades!

    A MASTERPIECE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT MOVIE!!A film of such talent and interest not seen in decades!

  • May 22, 2020

    I noticed many of the same visual tricks that are highly praised in Citizen Kane also showed up in The Stranger, so it is a film that looks amazing, and this is a plot that appealed to me much more. Orson Welles is a master of tension, and I loved how he created pressure in the most mundane conversations. There’s a moment in this film when a simple dinner conversation becomes something more, and I was ready for characters to jump up at any moment and attack each other or run away. I adore when a thriller is so effective that I’m actually experiencing the tension myself while watching. The script in The Stranger is brilliant because it not only keeps the characters in suspense, but it keeps the audience questioning them and their true motivations throughout. It also challenges us to look at the harshest of crimes and ask if there is any chance at atonement or forgiveness for those things, particularly if you fell in love with the person before you knew. There was a great small-town charm to Harper, Connecticut. I thought the casting of the townspeople felt just right, and contrasted nicely with the horrible things that were going on around them. Edward G. Robinson is a perfect choice to play the investigator desperately seeking his nemesis. He has a kindness that you can see connecting with people, but also a harder edge to make it clear he will leave no stone unturned to reach his quarry. Orson Welles is also great, as I would expect. I think my one complaint in the cast was Loretta Young. I haven’t seen enough of her performances to rate whether this was a fluke or not, but she seemed a bit weak and I never believed for a moment she’d be able to keep her husband’s secrets. Perhaps it’s just the way the character was written. There were a couple of confusing parts in the script, or at least improbable, but otherwise I found The Stranger to be a great film and my favorite of Welles’ directorial works.

    I noticed many of the same visual tricks that are highly praised in Citizen Kane also showed up in The Stranger, so it is a film that looks amazing, and this is a plot that appealed to me much more. Orson Welles is a master of tension, and I loved how he created pressure in the most mundane conversations. There’s a moment in this film when a simple dinner conversation becomes something more, and I was ready for characters to jump up at any moment and attack each other or run away. I adore when a thriller is so effective that I’m actually experiencing the tension myself while watching. The script in The Stranger is brilliant because it not only keeps the characters in suspense, but it keeps the audience questioning them and their true motivations throughout. It also challenges us to look at the harshest of crimes and ask if there is any chance at atonement or forgiveness for those things, particularly if you fell in love with the person before you knew. There was a great small-town charm to Harper, Connecticut. I thought the casting of the townspeople felt just right, and contrasted nicely with the horrible things that were going on around them. Edward G. Robinson is a perfect choice to play the investigator desperately seeking his nemesis. He has a kindness that you can see connecting with people, but also a harder edge to make it clear he will leave no stone unturned to reach his quarry. Orson Welles is also great, as I would expect. I think my one complaint in the cast was Loretta Young. I haven’t seen enough of her performances to rate whether this was a fluke or not, but she seemed a bit weak and I never believed for a moment she’d be able to keep her husband’s secrets. Perhaps it’s just the way the character was written. There were a couple of confusing parts in the script, or at least improbable, but otherwise I found The Stranger to be a great film and my favorite of Welles’ directorial works.

  • May 18, 2020

    This is my first Welles film, and even though his first foray into film noir is sometimes thought of as his weakest movie, it's clear to me that he was a genius. This is an electrifying film about the terrors of history encroaching on small-town America. The use of light and shadow is the most impressive I've ever seen. Despite the fact that the film is damaged, on a technical level it is nearly perfect. Welles as an actor conveys a real sense of menace, which is enhanced by the way his face is often cast half in shadow. A pitch-perfect melodrama with a cathartic ending. I think it's possible that the ending set-piece of this film inspired Disney movies, which have a similar way of disposing of their villains.

    This is my first Welles film, and even though his first foray into film noir is sometimes thought of as his weakest movie, it's clear to me that he was a genius. This is an electrifying film about the terrors of history encroaching on small-town America. The use of light and shadow is the most impressive I've ever seen. Despite the fact that the film is damaged, on a technical level it is nearly perfect. Welles as an actor conveys a real sense of menace, which is enhanced by the way his face is often cast half in shadow. A pitch-perfect melodrama with a cathartic ending. I think it's possible that the ending set-piece of this film inspired Disney movies, which have a similar way of disposing of their villains.

  • May 01, 2020

    Time doesn't always passes. The obsession of the protagonist (Charles Rankin/Franz Kindler) for the clocks is one of the two brilliant, even if evident, symbols openly spread by the director (Orson Welles) in a film that, although often undervalued by both the critics and the public, as well as by its own director, has undoubtedly hold on very well and is still perfectly enjoyable even after many years since its release in 1946, representing an excellent example of American film noir, a genre derived from the bitter awareness, arrived also in the Tinseltown with WWII, that evil is amongst us and to exorcise it are not enough the movies of Frank Capra, who anyhow directed It's a Wonderful Life in the same year. The repair of the turret clock, the ultimately Sisyphean and symbolic attempt of Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler to avoid the crystallisation of time, and hence of his crimes, goes hand in hand with the second symbol scattered along the movie, the checkers game, which should have probably been more evocative as a chess game (which timing though would have though clashed with the required and appropriate pace of the film), suggesting the transversal cat (detective Wilson excellently played by Edward G. Robinson) and mouse (Orson Welles's Franz Kindler) game where eventually the mouse, after sacrificing, either physically (Red the dog and the repented and remorseful Nazi Konrad Meinike, nervously played by Konstantin Shayne) or morally (Mary the bride, an unassuming Loretta Young, the character probably more difficult to play), all his pawns and other pieces, is given check mate in the final duel between the two kings of this dark tale, Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson. Three years before the Mephistophelian Harry Lime of Carol Reed's The Third Man, Orson Welles crafts here a character that never hides from the audience his cruelty, wickedness and double-dealings, thus directly directing the attention from the binary film characters (only Mary's evolves during the movie) to the confrontation between Evil (Franz Kindler), trying to hide in the small-town America and criminally self-acquitting through the marriage with a Supreme Court judge's daughter, and Good (Mr. Wilson, cleverly deprived of a first name in the movie), relentlessly chasing it. Directed after the commercial and reputational disaster of masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) and the tensions and difficulties that plagued in 1942 The Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger was regarded by Orson Welles as one of his less personal movies. However, the script shortcuts are almost always made up for by the very good pace and filmic structure as well as by the sophisticated cinematography that meaningfully utilises the juxtaposition of lights and shadows, a tribute to the German expressionist cinema's use of shadows and their projections. The final result is a movie at the forefront of films noir, still one of the genres for which the American movie industry deserves to be thanked.

    Time doesn't always passes. The obsession of the protagonist (Charles Rankin/Franz Kindler) for the clocks is one of the two brilliant, even if evident, symbols openly spread by the director (Orson Welles) in a film that, although often undervalued by both the critics and the public, as well as by its own director, has undoubtedly hold on very well and is still perfectly enjoyable even after many years since its release in 1946, representing an excellent example of American film noir, a genre derived from the bitter awareness, arrived also in the Tinseltown with WWII, that evil is amongst us and to exorcise it are not enough the movies of Frank Capra, who anyhow directed It's a Wonderful Life in the same year. The repair of the turret clock, the ultimately Sisyphean and symbolic attempt of Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler to avoid the crystallisation of time, and hence of his crimes, goes hand in hand with the second symbol scattered along the movie, the checkers game, which should have probably been more evocative as a chess game (which timing though would have though clashed with the required and appropriate pace of the film), suggesting the transversal cat (detective Wilson excellently played by Edward G. Robinson) and mouse (Orson Welles's Franz Kindler) game where eventually the mouse, after sacrificing, either physically (Red the dog and the repented and remorseful Nazi Konrad Meinike, nervously played by Konstantin Shayne) or morally (Mary the bride, an unassuming Loretta Young, the character probably more difficult to play), all his pawns and other pieces, is given check mate in the final duel between the two kings of this dark tale, Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson. Three years before the Mephistophelian Harry Lime of Carol Reed's The Third Man, Orson Welles crafts here a character that never hides from the audience his cruelty, wickedness and double-dealings, thus directly directing the attention from the binary film characters (only Mary's evolves during the movie) to the confrontation between Evil (Franz Kindler), trying to hide in the small-town America and criminally self-acquitting through the marriage with a Supreme Court judge's daughter, and Good (Mr. Wilson, cleverly deprived of a first name in the movie), relentlessly chasing it. Directed after the commercial and reputational disaster of masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) and the tensions and difficulties that plagued in 1942 The Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger was regarded by Orson Welles as one of his less personal movies. However, the script shortcuts are almost always made up for by the very good pace and filmic structure as well as by the sophisticated cinematography that meaningfully utilises the juxtaposition of lights and shadows, a tribute to the German expressionist cinema's use of shadows and their projections. The final result is a movie at the forefront of films noir, still one of the genres for which the American movie industry deserves to be thanked.

  • Mar 30, 2020

    Orson Welles definitely made movies that were ahead of its time. Just like Citizen Kane, The Stranger has amazing uses of lighting and camera work. Characters have great dialogue, depth, and acting performances. The use of music is also great. It does a bit short on some elements of the story. It isn't pushed to its limit. It's still a great time though. Being made only a year after WWII ended definitely made this movie more powerful at the time.

    Orson Welles definitely made movies that were ahead of its time. Just like Citizen Kane, The Stranger has amazing uses of lighting and camera work. Characters have great dialogue, depth, and acting performances. The use of music is also great. It does a bit short on some elements of the story. It isn't pushed to its limit. It's still a great time though. Being made only a year after WWII ended definitely made this movie more powerful at the time.

  • Mar 22, 2020

    A: 3/5 E: 3.5/5 R: 7.5/10

    A: 3/5 E: 3.5/5 R: 7.5/10

  • Mar 22, 2020

    Strong cast kept me going, Enjoyed it and looking forward to season 2

    Strong cast kept me going, Enjoyed it and looking forward to season 2

  • Feb 27, 2020

    Welles as a charismatic, intelligent, and remorseless villain attempting to maintain a harmless facade as the net closes around him sets up an entertaining, if not particularly innovative, premise. (4/5)

    Welles as a charismatic, intelligent, and remorseless villain attempting to maintain a harmless facade as the net closes around him sets up an entertaining, if not particularly innovative, premise. (4/5)