Starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, and Orson Welles. It was Welles’s third completed feature film as director. A drama about a war crimes investigator who tracks a high-ranking Nazi fugitive to a New England town
After having made three commercial disasters in a row Orson Welles was badly in need of a hit that would right him in the eyes of Hollywood. The result was The Stranger, the most restrained and conventional of Welles’s films, but still a thrilling entertainment. Set shortly after WWII, the film casts Edward G. Robinson as Wilson, a Nazi hunter assigned
the task of finding the infamous Franz Kindler, Wilson traces Kindler to the sleepy college town of Hartford,Connecticut, where he comes to suspect that Prof. Charles Rankin (Welles) is actually Kindler hiding behind a new identity.
Though not as grand a statement, the The Stranger is every bit as stylistically Wellesian as Citizen Kane. The deep focus, the chiaroscuro lighting and silhouettes, the elaborate tracking and crane shots—it’s all here, evidence of a director who knew exactly what he wanted on screen.