The Stranger | Chicago Reader

The Stranger

Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller. FBI investigator Edward G. Robinson tracks a Nazi war criminal (Welles) to his lair, a small town in Connecticut where he lives with his unknowing American wife (Loretta Young) and teaches at a prep school. Welles rolls out all his technical thunder for the chase finale, but the most impressive scenes in the film may be those that depict daily life in the village; wrapped in snow, the setting has the magic hush of The Magnificent Ambersons. Welles has said that he made the film to prove he could shoot a conventional Hollywood feature; the proof is there but it did him no good. With Billy House; John Huston contributed, anonymously, to the script.

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