Orson Welles has taken up permanent residence in the hearts and minds of movie lovers due to the hugely influential works he leaves behind and the sort of larger-than-life persona of which Hollywood legends are made. Of course, Citizen Kane is his undisputed masterpiece, though nipping at its heels could very well be 1946’s The Stranger. The film stars Edward G. Robinson as Mr. Wilson, a determined member of the United Nations War Crimes Commission who goes on the hunt for Franz Kindler (Welles, who also directed) — a former Nazi who has Edward G. Robinson started a new life as “Charles Rankin,” a professor at a prep school in Connecticut. As “Rankin” prepares to marry the beautiful daughter (Loretta Young) of a Supreme Court Justice, Wilson begins to close in on him by utilizing the war criminal’s love of clocks to bring him to justice in the most timely manner possible.
The cat-and-mouse aspect of the film paired with the film’s discussion of Holocaust themes makes The Stranger a must-see. Long in the public domain, a new release of the film on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films offers the definitive presentation of this engaging thriller whose twists and turns remain a post-noir delight.
Have you seen The Stranger? Share your thoughts on it and stars Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson in the comments below.