Orson Welles’s first thriller, The Stranger, is the story of a ruthless Nazi war criminal (Welles) hiding as a teacher at a New England prep school. War-crimes investigator Edward G. Robinson trails Welles around the world until he uncovers the monster living quietly among the white clapboard churches and village greens, and preparing to be married.
Robinson gets to Welles through a former associate, released by the tribunal to unwittingly guide the search for Welles. The former Nazi strangles the man as Robinson gets closer to his quarry, eventually convincing Welles’s bride (Loretta Young) of his crimes.
This exhibits wonderful Wellsian touches, including an over-the-top finale on a church tower, and has great performances from Welles and Robinson. Director John Huston had an uncredited hand in the screenplay.
The Stranger was the first film on which producer Sam Spiegel is credited as S. P. Eagle, an attempt by the Polish-born Spiegel to give himself a properly American name and avoid any unwanted antisemitism.
Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Story.
Cast: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Billy House, Richard Long,
Director: Orson Welles
Producer: Sam Spiegel
Original Story: Decla Dunning, Victor Trivas
Director of Photography: Russell Metty
Editor: Ernest Nims
Composer: Bronislau Kaper
Screenwriters: Anthony Veiller, Orson Welles
Art Director: Perry Ferguson
USA / RKO / 95 minutes / 1946