The Stranger (1946)

dir. Orson Welles. After World War II, investigators from the Allied War Crimes Commission are on the hunt for war criminals. Lead investigator, Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) gambles that releasing a particular criminal, will allow them to follow his trail, and flush out an even greater villain. This quest leads them from war-torn Europe to a small town in Connecticut, USA. After flying too close to the sun with his first two directorial efforts, Welles is constrained in scope and scale, but still delivers a thrilling and entertaining film, not to mention on time and under budget. The story is reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (released three years prior), which interestingly starred Welles’s regular actor Joseph Cotton as the villain. One striking scene involves Edward G. Robinson’s investigator explaining the horror of Holocaust by projecting actual newsreel footage of concentration camps onto the wall of a study. This footage is still shocking and must have been even more so when this film was released less than a year after the end of the War.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.