01/07/15 12:17pm
01/07/2015 12:17 PM |

Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young and Orson Welles in Welles' TH

The Stranger (1946)
Directed by Orson Welles
Time and Edward G. Robinson’s bullheaded Nazi hunter press in on small, standstill New England town, host to a cast of stock, quaint characters, a broken clock tower, and one fugitive Nazi holocaust mastermind (a grimacing, twitchy-eyed, lusterless Welles). Stylish, well paced, and touched with some terrific, craggy faces, not to mention a standout, fall-down ending, The Stranger is great as portrait of pressure and the violence it does—to bodies, hearts, and minds. Less and less Welles’s unknowing wife, Loretta Young flakes off in batty, delicious pieces. Too bad a mechanical plot and some middling performances chill the film from greatness, but that didn’t stop people from seeing it. In fact, The Stranger turned a profit when it hit theaters, a feat no other film the great auteur directed would ever again achieve. Jeremy Polacek (Jan 9, 10, 9:45pm at Film Forum’s Welles centennial)