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Stranger [Blu-ray] [Import]

 Unrated   Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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The legendary story that hovers over Orson Welles's 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 E.G. Robinson, who is marvelous, 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 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

Special Features

Audio commentary from filmmaker / historian / curator Bret Wood, Original Nazi concentration and prison camp footage (which are featured in the finalfilm) from filmmaker George Stevens, Original Theatrical Trailer.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Stranger April 19 2004
"You can threaten me with the bottom pits of hell," Edgar G. Robinson as War Crimes Commissioner Mr. Wilson exhorts a roomful of tired old Europeans, "this obscenity must be destroyed."
The "obscenity" is former Nazi Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a death camp mastermind who disappeared shortly after the war. Wilson wins his argument and Konrad Meinike, one of Kindler's Nazi subalterns, is allowed to escape, hoping that he'll lead Wilson to Kindler.
Like the best film noirs, this is a handsome movie of shadows and sunlight. Meinike does make a shadowy escape, and Wilson follows him to the bucolic town of Harper, Connecticut. The stakes are implied but clear - Kindler and his ilk are malignant cancers, and Harper is pure and uncorrupt. Evil can't be allowed to sink its rotted tendrils into Harper. Harper with its ivied walls and paper chases, with the boys whistling at pretty blondes and new brides hanging new curtains.
Meinike does find Kindler, now Dr. Charles Rankin, early on in the movie. Evil needs shadows and dark places to grow. "We must stay hidden 'til the day we strike again." Kindler/Rankin is hunted, he knows it, and Meinike is an unwelcome intrusion. The last thing he needs is an old army buddy with the thick German accent hanging around.
Kindler makes and shallow plants the first corpse of the film, and so we're off.
THE STRANGER is a slick little suspense movie that really shouldn't be subjected to intense scrutiny. For instance, it's probably better we believe that Kindler was able to "disappear" into Smalltown, USA so smoothly. It's best we ignore the nagging question of how Rankin was able to woo and win the heart and hand of the beautiful daughter of a liberal Supreme Court Justice so quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-paced thriller, atypical of Welles' style Oct. 18 2003
The quality of this DVD is adequate: more watchable than the other Welles "Laserlight Classics," but nowhere near as sharp as, say, the recent DVD releases of "Citizen Kane" or "The Third Man." The bizarro Tony Curtis introduction is perhaps worth the price of admission alone! The bonus documentary is fairly perfunctory, but does contain some interesting and rarely seen trailers of Welles films.
On to the movie itself: In a scenario reminiscient of (but far less effective than) Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt," Edward G. Robinson pursues the title character (Welles), who may or may not be an escaped Nazi, through a sleepy Connecticut town. Although "The Stranger" illustrates Welles' concerns that World War II did not spell the end of fascism, the film is by his own admission more of an attempt at profitable Hollywood product than an artistic statement. Despite this and the film's failure to live up to the inevitable comparison's with "Shadow of a Doubt," "The Stranger" remains a well-paced thriller, more enjoyable when considered apart from the rest of Welles' oeuvre. The trademark Welles style is evident in the South American prologue and the drugstore scenes, and the film achieves genuine suspense during the "paper chase" scene and the grand finale.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a serious movie Feb. 25 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie is not a classic by any means. It is not in the company of The Third Man or anything similar but it was soewhat fun to watch. No real suspense or mustery and a bit over the top in the spy genre.
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By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
RKO Radio Pictures presents "THE STRANGER" (25 May 1946) (95 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- The Stranger is often considered Orson Welles' most "traditional" Hollywood-style directorial effort --- Welles plays a college professor named Charles Rankin, who lives in a pastoral Connecticut town with his lovely wife Mary (Loretta Young) --- One afternoon, an extremely nervous German gentleman named Meineke arrives in town --- Professor Rankin seems disturbed, but not unduly so, by Meineke's presence --- He invites the stranger for a walk in the woods, and as they journey farther and farther away from the center of town, we learn that kindly professor Rankin is actually notorious Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler --- Conscience-stricken by his own genocidal wartime activities, Meineke has come to town to beg his ex-superior Kindler to give himself up.

The Stranger, while not too complicated, offers a thrilling, suspense-filled plot --- It must have been eerie to viewers who watched it when first released.

Oscar nominated for "Best Writing, Original Story" by Victor Trivas

Under the production staff of:
Orson Welles [Director]
Anthony Veiller [Screenplay]
Victor Trivas [adaptation]
Decla Dunning [adaptation]
Victor Trivas [Story]
Sam Spiegel [Producer] (as S.P. Eagle)
Bronislau Kaper [Original Music]
Russell Metty [Cinematographer]
Ernest J. Nims [Film Editor]

1. Orson Welles [aka: George Orson Welles]
Date of Birth: 6 May 1915 - Kenosha, Wisconsin
Date of Death: 10 October 1985 - Hollywood, California

2. Edward G.
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Welles made a little gem with this picture. He followed the lines about a nazi who assumes a new identity in a small town.
But Edward Robinson is ravishing when he reminds a wise statement of Ralph Waldo Emerson :Commit a crime and the world is made of glass .
Superb dialogues. Powerful intense with a gothic horror ending . As all the works of the Wisconsin's genius , unforgettable.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Aptly Titled
´¿The Stranger´¿ is certainly an appropriate title. The film IS a strange one for director/actor Orson Welles ´¿ it was uncharacteristically completed on... Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003 by A. Wolverton
2.0 out of 5 stars Grat film, below average DVD quality
As with all the releases from laserlight, gotham, or alpha you can expect horrible picture and sound quality and a low,low price. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by Rimbaud
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a mix
This particular DVD version of "The Stranger" would have been much better without several of the so-called "extras. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by jenbird
4.0 out of 5 stars Welles and Robinson shine
First of all, concerning the DVD edition of THE STRANGER -- the version I own and am reviewing is the Hollywood Classics release. Read more
Published on June 21 2001 by Andrew McCaffrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Great in it's simplicity.
Right off the bat don't buy this dvd go out and look for the Roan Group double dvd with The Stranger and Cause For Alarm on it. Read more
Published on June 14 2001 by A*
5.0 out of 5 stars CAVEAT EMPTOR - BUYER BEWARE.
For those who are going to buy this copy, beware. The transfer is a disappointment and there is a logo which pops up on the screen throughout the film. Read more
Published on April 28 2001 by Aric B. Cushing
4.0 out of 5 stars Welles At His Most Conventional, But Good All the Same
The recut and re-released TOUCH OF EVIL has revived interest in the work of director Orson Welles, and rightfully so. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 1998 by Bill Fleck
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