The Stranger (1946) [Film Noir]

“The Stranger” (1946) is an American film noir directed by Orson Welles and starring Welles, Edward G. Robinson, and Loretta Young. The film was based on an Oscar-nominated screenplay written by Victor Trivas. Sam Spiegel was the film’s producer, and the film’s musical score is by Bronisław Kaper. It is believed that this is the first film released after World War II that showed footage of concentration camps. The film was made by International Pictures, and released by RKO Radio Pictures.

In 1946, Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) of the United Nations War Crimes Commission is hunting for Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a war criminal who has erased all evidence which might identify him. He has assumed a new identity, Charles Rankin, and has become a prep school teacher in a small town in the United States. He has married Mary Longstreet (Loretta Young), daughter of Supreme Court Justice Adam Longstreet (Philip Merivale).

Wilson releases Kindler’s former associate Meinike (Konstantin Shayne), hoping the man will lead him to Kindler. Wilson follows Meinike to the town of Harper, Connecticut, but loses him before he meets with Kindler. When Kindler/Rankin and Meinike do meet, Meinike, who is repentant, begs Kindler to confess his crimes. Instead, Kindler strangles Meinike, who might expose him. Eventually, Wilson deduces that Rankin is Kindler, but not having witnessed the meeting with Meinike, he has no proof. Only Mrs. Rankin knows that Meinike came to meet her husband. To get her to admit this, Wilson must convince her that her husband is a criminal – before Rankin decides to eliminate the threat to him by killing her. Rankin’s pose begins to unravel when Red, the family dog, discovers Meinike’s body. To protect his secret, Rankin poisons Red.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Rankin begins to suspect her husband, but is too blinded by love to accept the facts. She is torn between her desire to learn the truth about him, and the idea of helping him create his new life. Mr. Wilson shows her graphic footage of Nazi concentration camps, and explains how Kindler/Rankin developed the idea of genocide. But not until Mary discovers Rankin’s plot to kill her does she finally break down. In a tense moment, she dares Rankin to kill her. Rankin tries to, but is prevented by Wilson and Mary’s brother Noah. Pursued by them, he flees into a church belfry, and falls to his death.

Directed by Orson Welles, produced by Sam Spiegel (as S. P. Eagle), written by Anthony Veiller, Victor Trivas, Decla Dunning, John Huston and Orson Welles, starring Orson Welles, Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson.

Source: “The Stranger (1946 film)” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 6 July 2012. Web. 9 July 2012.


23 Replies to “The Stranger (1946) [Film Noir]”

  1. You should place a "spoiler alert" statement in the description before giving away the film ending! I read it heedlessly before watching! But otherwise thanks for posting such wonderful classics.

  2. At 21:25: Billy House (as Mr. Potter) says, "oh, antique [sic] dealer?" Did Welles intend that he should sound illiterate, or was Welles the one who didn't know the difference between the plural noun that means a type of merchandise–antiques–and "antique," the verb, singular noun or adjective? And at 37:36, Eddie G. makes the same blunder. Pack of tin-eared dunces!

  3. Well, all the gang here like Edward G Robinson, Orson Welles, [who played Mr Potter?], Loretta Young & etc.. But the one who stole the show was Loretta Young. Love her!!!

  4. This was a great old black & white thriller. With Loretta Young, E. G. Robinson, Orson Wells, and an eighteen year old Richard Long the cast was excellent!!! Don't forget the dog! I enjoyed the New England town with the church on the square.

  5. This is a great classic ORSON WELLES movie! Full of suspense & action! In essence,it is your typical film -noir movie! Yet,with Welles…the absolute genius that he was,I believe he takes it a step further! SEE FOR YOURSELF! Also: Someone needs to upload THE THIRD MAN,on YouTube…FOR FREE! Not to bitch & moan,yet this site needs to stop charging people money to see great cinema & TV! It's highway robbery!

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