Orson Welles’ 1946 film-noir “The Stranger” is one of Welles’s greatest works. Besides directing, he co-stared in this great suspense thriller. This movie has a top notch cast, especially with Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young. “The Stranger” was the only film made by Welles to have been a bona fide box office success on its first release (Citizen Kane had made back its budget and marketing, but not enough to make a profit). It earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
"Prior to the production of The Stranger, Welles had shown an interest in the nature of Fascism and, especially, the documentary footage of the liberation of the concentration camps; writing in his column for The New York Post, Welles stated that this documentary footage 'must be seen' as an index of the 'putrefaction of the soul, a perfect spiritual garbage' associated with what 'we have been calling […] Fascism. The stench is unendurable'’
In 1946, Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) of the War Crimes Commissionis hunting for Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), who has effectively concealed all evidence which might positively identify him. He has secretly assumed a new identity, Charles Rankin a professor in a respectable Connecticut town he marries Mary Longstreet (Loretta Young), the daughter of a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Wilsonreleases Kindler's former associate Meinike (Konstantin Shayne), hoping the man will lead him to Kindler. Wilson follows Meinike to the town of Harper, Connecticut, but loses him before he meets with Rankin. When Rankin and Meinike do meet, Rankin realizes that his secret is threatened by Meinike's presence and strangles him and buries his body in the forest.
Eventually, Wilson deduces that Rankin is Kindler, but without having witnessed the meeting with Meinike, he has no proof. Mrs. Rankin is the only person who knows that Meinike had come to meet with her husband. To get her to admit what she knows, Wilson must convince her that her husband is a war criminal — before Rankin decides to do her in to eliminate the last remaining threat to him.
One of the great lines delivered by Welles in the movie: “Murder can be a chain, Mary, one link leading to another until it circles your neck.”
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