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The Stranger

A sadistic Nazi-killer is posing as a professor at a small American college. This is one of Orson Welles' best films as a director.
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Rating 4.1
105 ratings
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Item:  ALP 6103D
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 35 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1946
  • Label: Alpha Video
Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
Packaging: Keep Case
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Audio - English Mono

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , &
Performer: , , , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenplay by , &
Composition by
Art Direction by
Story by , &
Produced by &
Director of Photography:

Entertainment Reviews:

Film Comment - 03/01/2011
"Refreshingly minor, the film is an auteurist's dream, developing some of Welles's signature themes and moods without smothering you with its Greatness."
New York Times - 10/24/2013
"The famous Welles attention to texture and detail, long missing from THE STRANGER, is back with a vengeance..."

Description by OLDIES.com:

This film noir classic features Orson Welles in one of his best thrillers and expertly creates white-knuckle suspense out of ordinary situations like a dog digging in the leaves, college boys on a paper chase, and a broken clock. Edward G. Robinson is Wilson, a detective in the War Crimes Commission seeking the mastermind of the Holocaust, blood-thirsty Franz Kindler (Welles). Kindler has erased his identity so successfully that only his former ally, Meinike, can identify him. Wilson and Meinike both trace Kindler to Harper, Connecticut, where Meinike is murdered. Kindler's new wife (Loretta Young) has no clue as to her husband's past evil deeds and comes within an inch of her own life when Kindler suspects her of knowing too much. The film's climactic scene is one of the most memorable in cinema history.

Product Description:

THE STRANGER: Orson Welles directed and starred in THE STRANGER, a tense black-and-white thriller that Welles made for maverick producer Sam Spiegel. Welles portrays Charles Rankin, a respected academic at a prominent Connecticut college. He seems to have the perfect life: a beautiful new wife, Mary (Loretta Young); and a charming home in a small town that holds him in high esteem. Enter Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), a detective on the hunt for Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler. The appearance of Mr. Wilson threatens to reveal that underneath this idyllic veneer is a secret that could tear everything apart.

Although many of Welles's most interesting scenes wound up on the cutting-room floor when Spiegel reedited the film, THE STRANGER is still multilayered, complex, and fascinating. The scenes between Welles and Robinson are intellectually gripping, leading up to the stylized, shocking conclusion. As with so many of Welles's films, he was unhappy with the final result, but the viewer won't be. It would be most interesting to see the film as Welles intended it to be, but in the meantime, this version of THE STRANGER is a marvel.

Plot Synopsis:

A Nazi war criminal is hounded across America by a federal agent after he assumes a false identity.

Plot Keywords:

Deception | Film Noir | Nazis | Suspense | Theatrical Release | Thriller

Production Notes:

  • Theatrical Release: July, 1946
  • An uncredited John Huston had a large hand in the development of the script.
  • The producers, led by Sam Spiegel, cut many of Welles's favorite, more complex scenes. Welles was never happy with the final cut.
  • THE STRANGER was the first Hollywood film to use real footage from World War II concentration camps.
  • Welles originally wanted Agnes Moorehead to play the character eventually played by Edward G. Robinson.
  • THE STRANGER was the only Welles-directed film to show a profit upon its initial theatrical release.
  • THE STRANGER is perhaps the most mainstream of Welles's films; he shot it within the studio system, shooting it by the book.
  • Konstantin Shayne (Meinike) was Akim Tamiroff's brother-in-law; Tamiroff starred in Welles's MR. ARKADIN.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.1
Based on 105 ratings.
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Rating 4.5 Economical Thriller Movie Lover: from Trumbull, CT US -- September, 26, 2006

From its beginning, "The Stranger" relentlessly builds in tension as we witness the hunt for a Nazi war criminal in a sleepy little New England college town. Welles plays the object of Edward G. Robinson's relentless investigation, and Loretta Young is Welle's naive, well-connected wife who, ultimately, is shocked out of her denial about whom and what her husband really is. Masterfully directed by Welles, who manages to sustain the suspense even though we know early on who the bad guy is.


Rating 4.5 Economical Thriller Movie Lover: from Trumbull, CT US -- September, 26, 2006

From its beginning, "The Stranger" relentlessly builds in tension as we witness the hunt for a Nazi war criminal in a sleepy little New England college town. Welles plays the object of Edward G. Robinson's relentless investigation, and Loretta Young is Welle's naive, well-connected wife who, ultimately, is shocked out of her denial about whom and what her husband really is. Masterfully directed by Welles, who manages to sustain the suspense even though we know early on who the bad guy is.


Rating 5.0 THE STRANGER Movie Lover: from clamart, Hauts-de-Seine FR -- November, 21, 2004

I agree with the previous reviewers comments. This is Orson Welles best film. It is so much better than "Citizen Kane"(why all the fuss?) and "The Magnificent Ambersons". Intriguing, suspensful and well acted. Nice, comfortable small college town put on edge by a murder and mystery that follows. Great Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young and Welles performances. Really one of Hollywoods best postwar thrillers!


Rating 5.0 Forget Citizen Kane, This Is Orson Welles Best Movie! Movie Lover: from Baltimore, MD US -- April, 27, 2004

I cannot say enough about this movie!

"The Stranger" has everything. A terrific cast, a totally engrossing story full of nail-biting suspense.

Orson Welles is a perfect villain. Edward G. Robinson the perfect cop. Loretta Young plays the faithful and naive fiance and wife. A very young Richard Long plays her loving and protective brother.

The town of Harper (New England) is a safe and tranquil place. A college town in post-war America that that is safe and secure and bubbling with anticipation of the future. Peace has come to America and to Harper. But so has a monster!

The dramatic ending of this movie is one of the greatest ever filmed!

Forget ?Citizen Kane?! Forget ?The Magnificent Amberson?s? ! This is Orson Welles best film!

This DVD is the best copy I have ever seen and I have owned this movie several times in different formats!

Treat yourself to 95 minutes of film making perfection and see the picture!



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  • Sales Rank: 6,872
  • UPC: 089218610393
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.