|Year Released||1946||Commentary Tracks||None|
||Other Extras||Biographies - Cast|
|Starring||Edward G Robinson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 224 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Stranger is a story very much rooted in the time it was made. Wilson (Edward G Robinson) is a member of the War Crimes Commission that is searching for the very elusive mastermind of the Nazi extermination camps, Franz Kindler (Orson Welles). It is decided that to track down Kindler, another war criminal Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) be granted a pardon as long as he seeks out his former comrade. After a global journey, Kindler is tracked down to the small country town of Harper, Connecticut where he is living under the name of Charles Rankin. In order to preserve his freedom, Kindler marries society girl Mary Longstreet (Loretta Young), the daughter of Judge Longstreet (Philip Merivale). No one will suspect him as being a Nazi war criminal with the family he has married into, until his former comrade arrives with Wilson in hot pursuit. As the pincers close in on Kindler, he succumbs to the pressure whilst his wife tries to ignore the evidence against her husband. Eventually the pressure tells on both her and her husband for a climatic scene in the tower of the local church.
This is a quite well crafted story, which garnered an Academy Award nomination in 1947. But story is one thing, bringing that story to life is another and Orson Welles is quite superb as the nazi war criminal, effectively counter pointed by the dogged war criminal tracker portrayed by the fine Edward G Robinson. The rest of the cast lacks just a little in comparison, but overall this is a fine story well brought to the screen by the talented Orson Welles.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
Overall, the general transfer is quite soft and lacks somewhat in the definition stakes. This is compounded further by the inevitable soft focus used when Loretta Young is on screen, making the general focus very soft indeed. Clarity is quite poor at times, although there is quite a degree of variability to the transfer, which is also a quite dark transfer. Shadow detail at times is quite appalling, and the picture seems to be almost totally black at times. Even for a film of this age, this is a little disappointing, although it may of course be a reflection of the way Orson Welles shot the film.
This is a quite murky black and white transfer which at times lacks a lot of depth to the black and white tones, although it has to be said that some parts of the film do come up very well in comparison to others.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts during the film. Video artefacts were also not especially noticeable during the film. There were however plenty of film artefacts, and they were at times very noticeable and quite distracting. There were however the inevitable patches where the film artefacts were relatively non-existent and the film was certainly easier to watch during these sections.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.
There did not appear to be any significant audio sync problems with the transfer.
The score is provided by Bronislaw Kaper, although it is not an especially memorable score, at times sounding very clichéd.
The soundtrack is obviously very much front and centre and in its own way is quite acceptable, if a little raw. The distinctive voice of Orson Welles though shines through in a suitably chilling way.
The overall video quality is reasonable for a film of this vintage.
The overall audio quality is reasonable for a film of this vintage.
The extras still need a little more effort.
© Ian Morris
27th November 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|