The Stranger (1946): Jungian Noir

The Stranger (1946)

Nazi war criminal is stalked in a sleepy Connecticut town…

A strong thriller with Orson Welles directing and playing the lead in a screenplay by Victor Trivas. Edward G Robinson is solid – as always – as the investigator, with the beautiful Loretta Young perfect as the innocent and loyal wife. Welles’ deft direction and the camera-work of Russell Metty transform an over-the-top thriller into a moody and intelligent noir, where Jungian concepts of the unconscious are woven with a taut psychological study of the deranged mind of a desperate man.

Strong expressionist lighting make the visuals so compelling that dialog is not needed to propel the story at all – the essence of film art that was largely lost when the talkies arrived. This feat is achieved with particularly strong performances by the leads:

  • Robinson’s mannerisms and the clever use of his pipe as a prop,
  • Welle’s controlled demeanour with all the emotion subtly expressed facially, and
  • Young an emotional powerhouse portraying kinetically the full range of emotions from the joyous innocence of a bride-to-be to the hysteria of a woman clinging to her last shred of faith in the man she loves.

The Stranger (1946) The Stranger (1946)

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