The Law of Contact

The Stranger (May 26, 1946)

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Orson Welles and Loretta Young in The Stranger
 

Released on May 26, 1946: The most deceitful murderer a woman ever loved! His name is false, his background is phony, and he wants to marry the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice.

Produced by Sam Spiegel

Directed by Orson Welles

The Actors: Edward G. Robinson (Mr. Wilson), Loretta Young (Mary Longstreet), Orson Welles (Professor Charles Rankin), Philip Merivale (Judge Adam Longstreet), Richard Long (Noah Longstreet), Konstantin Shayne (Konrad Meinike), Byron Keith (Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence), Billy House (Mr. Potter, merchant and town clerk), Martha Wentworth (Sara the housekeeper), David Bond (student), John Brown (passport photographer), Neal Dodd (the Minister), Ethan Laidlaw (Todd, the customer in Potter's store), Isabel O'Madigan (Mrs. Lawrence), Gerald Pierce (little kid throwing newspaper shreds), Johnny Sands (student jogging in woods), Erskine Sandford (party guest), Pietro Sosso (Mr. Peabody), Brother Theodore (Fairbright)

 

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Son of Hitler, His Bride, and the Body in the Woods

I wasn’t born until long after World War II had ended, but even as a youngster I remember the hunt . . . . It seems that several devoted followers of Hitler fled Europe before being caught, with the hopes of continuing their passion to rid the world of religions and peoples that they felt were inferior to them. As a youngster I remember several news events where some of these men were captured in a South American country as far away from Europe as was possible.

In this post-war thriller Edward G. Robinson is a detective on the search for one of these men. As the story opens the detective is arguing with prison officials in Czechoslovakia and demanding that they release the man in charge of a war concentration camp. This man is the only man in the world who knows the identity of the infamous Franz Kindler, mastermind of the brutal death of many innocent citizens. The detective follows the man who was allowed to escape from prison . . . . He follows the man across Europe and he follows the man as he boards a ship for America. The detective follows the escaped war criminal to a very small town in Connecticut. Here is where this suspense drama turns a very different corner for 1946 . . . . We, the audience, will be shown who the bad guy is, and we will watch as the terror begins.

The detective soon discovers who the bad guy is, and the bad guy knows why the detective is sticking around this small town in New England, and we know. . . . . But nobody else in quiet Harper, Connecticut knows what is going on under their noses. How does terror grow in a small, friendly village in New England? What will it take to bring the goosebumps to our flesh? We already know who is who, and we know that in Hollywood the good guy always wins, but what could complicate this cat-and-mouse thriller between these two men? The lovely, innocent beauty of actress Loretta Young. . . . Caught between the Devil and Death.

As our detective arrives in the small peaceful village he discovers that it is the wedding day of young Mary Longstreet. She is getting married to the handsome young professor at the college in town . . . The new young professor of German heritage who settled in Harper just after the end of the war. Tension will mount as the detective tries to prove that the professor is Franz Kindler, and even when the professor confesses to his young wife that he has killed her beloved dog, she will stay loyal to him because of his lies about why he killed the old man who came to town looking for someone. He tells his beautiful young bride that murder is like a chain . . . One link leading to another link until it circles one’s neck . . . . And then we watch as he determines to add one more link to his chain of murder . . . . He decides that he must murder his young wife before he flees the small town, and we are helpless as we watch. . . . . As helpless as his young unsuspecting bride . . . . Ahhh . . . . You tell me that I haven’t mentioned the actor who plays the part of the bad guy? You would be correct . . . I have not mentioned the legendary Orson Welles, and I haven’t mentioned that Orson Welles also directed the terror that will unfold so quietly and subtly and pervasively as each minute passes. Terror that will slowly build until the Angel . . . The Avenging Angel made of iron in the church clock will do what must be done to relieve our terror. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Billy House
Billy House
Billy House
Billy House
Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young
Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
John Brown
John Brown
Konstantin Shayne
Konstantin Shayne
Konstantin Shayne and John Brown
Konstantin Shayne and John Brown
Konstantin Shayne and Orson Welles
Konstantin Shayne and Orson Welles
Konstantin Shayne and Loretta Young
Konstantin Shayne and Loretta Young
Konstantin Shayne
Konstantin Shayne
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Martha Wentworth and Loretta Young
Martha Wentworth and Loretta Young
Martha Wentworth
Martha Wentworth
Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Orson Welles and Billy House
Orson Welles and Billy House
Orson Welles and Byron Keith
Orson Welles and Byron Keith
Orson Welles and Byron Keith
Orson Welles and Byron Keith
Orson Welles and Loretta Young
Orson Welles and Loretta Young
Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Philip Merivale and Richard Long
Philip Merivale and Richard Long
Philip Merivale
Philip Merivale
Richard Long
Richard Long