The Stranger (4 stars)

The Stranger

(PG) 95min (Eureka)


Having failed to turn a profit on either Citizen Kane or its follow-up The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles directed this relatively conventional film noir for RKO in 1946. In the process, he proved to the studio that had butchered Ambersons in the editing suit that he was capable of completing a picture on time and budget that would make money. Shot immediately after WWII – and featuring the first footage of the German concentration camps used in an American film – The Stranger is a cat and mouse thriller in which Edward G Robinson’s FBI investigator tracks Welles’ Nazi war criminal to a sleepy Connecticut town.

Although it was the great filmmaker’s least favourite film, it’s a solid picture that boasts some fine Wellesian flourishes (despite producer Sam Spiegel’s re-cuts). Victor Trivas received an Oscar nomination for his script (upon which an uncredited Welles and John Huston also worked) and Welles himself received a Golden Lion nomination for his directing at the Venice Film Festival. No extras.