Welcome to this week's "Movies... For Free!" column, where we showcase classic movies freely available in the public domain (with streaming video!). Read the article and watch the movie right here!
The Stranger, 1946.
Directed by Orson Welles.
Starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, and Orson Welles.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the United Nations War Crimes Commission – including investigator Mr. Wilson (Robinson) - are on the trail of Nazi fugitives who have dispersed across the globe. Their number one target is the monstrous Franz Kindler, mastermind behind the concentration camps, who has managed to erase his identity and flee from custody.
Wilson tracks Kindler to a small town in Connecticut, where he has assumed a new identity as Charles Rankin (Welles), a college professor who is set to marry Mary Longstreet (Young), the daughter of a U.S. Supreme Court Judge. As Wilson’s suspicion grows, he starts to fear for Mary’s safety and must set about proving Rankin’s guilt and bringing the war criminal to justice.
The Stranger features a chilling performance from Orson Welles as the manipulative, evil antagonist Franz Kindler, and is notable for being the only of his directorial efforts to make a profit at the box-office upon release. The timely subject matter (Hitchcock was busy filming Notorious, which also deals with the hunt for Nazi war criminals) may have helped the film to achieve such success, and it is also believed to be the first movie released after World War II to feature actual concentration camp footage.
Although it lacks the depth of some of his other cinematic works, The Stranger is a slick and suspenseful film-noir which builds to a thrilling conclusion, and features excellent performances from each of the leads, in addition to Welles’ signature directing style.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
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