Sunday, November 22, 2009

Underrated Orson Welles thriller

The Stranger (1946)
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, and Loretta Young
Director: Orson Welles
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

A US government agent, Wilson, (Robinson) is on the trail of Franz Kindler, a psychopathic genius who made the Nazi concentration camps the efficient centers of death they were. No pictures exist of him, but when Wilson traces Kindler to a small Connecticut town, clues start mounting that well-liked newcomer to town college professor Charles Rankin (Welles) who just married the beloved daughter of the town's leading citizen, Mary (Young), is in truth Kindler.

"The Stranger" is a greatly underrated Orson Welles movie. It's a little slow in the wind-up, but once it gets gong, it moves along its suspenseful story-track with great deliberation and all of the elements working together in perfect time, just like the mechanisms of the clocks that Rankin and Kindler both enjoy working with.

Full of great acting, great camera work, and a perfectly paced story that first keeps the audience guessing and then keeps them on the edge of their seats as it builds toward its spectacular finale high atop the town's clock tower. Welles is in top form here, both as an actor and a director, and if you are a fan his work, of "film noir", or if you enjoyed recent films like "A History of Violence", you need to track down a copy of "The Stranger."

(Trivia: This was the only film Orson Welles produced/directed that turned a profit, primarily because he stayed on schedule and under budget for this one and only time.)

1 comment:

  1. Under-rated? I'll say. One of his best, and its bad reputation totally baffles me. Full of great moments and touches.