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Trailers from Hell: Joe Dante on Orson Welles' Thriller Noir 'The Stranger'

Photo of Trailers From Hell By Trailers From Hell | Thompson on Hollywood January 14, 2013 at 12:22PM

Orson Welles Week! begins at Trailers from Hell with director and TFH creator Joe Dante introducing thriller noir "The Stranger," starring Welles as a Nazi posing as a New England professor, and Edward G. Robinson as the shrewd War Crimes Commission investigator tailing him.
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Orson Welles, foreground, in "The Stranger"
Orson Welles, foreground, in "The Stranger"

Orson Welles Week! begins at Trailers from Hell with director and TFH creator Joe Dante introducing thriller noir "The Stranger," starring Welles as a Nazi posing as a New England professor, and Edward G. Robinson as the shrewd War Crimes Commission investigator tailing him.

Posing as a college professor in a small Connecticut town, a Nazi war criminal plots all manner of perfidy under the unsuspecting eyes of his bride-to-be. Orson Welles' work-for-hire thriller was aimed at proving he could make a mainstream Hollywood movie. Widely considered a second-tier title, it's actually quite Wellesian in its anti-Fascist concerns and works very well on a conventional thriller level despite the usual post-production alterations. The full film can be accessed in good quality here.

This article is related to: Video, Trailers, Trailers from Hell, Trailers, Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.