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The Essential Orson Welles - The Stranger

Federal agent Edward G. Robinson — in a role Welles intended for Agnes Moorehead — is hot on the trail of a fugitive Nazi (Welles) living in disguise as a professor in a small Connecticut college town and married to an unsuspecting Loretta Young.

Orson Welles and Loretta Young in a scene from THE STRANGER, 1946.

Producer Sam Spiegel (The African Queen, Lawrence of Arabia) hired Welles to both direct and star in this suspense thriller, written by Anthony Veiller and an uncredited John Huston. In one of his few “for-hire” directorial efforts, Welles was under intense contractual pressure, for if he was replaced as director, he was still obligated to complete his role as actor. Spiegel’s final cut removed 20 minutes, including a lengthy sequence in Latin America, but the final result brims with Welles’s distinctive visual style, especially in a deadly pursuit through a forest and the climax in the clock tower, filmed on the tallest set built in Hollywood since 1916’s Intolerance. The film received an Oscar nomination for Victor Trivas’s original story.

1946, 95 minutes, black and white, 35mm | Written by Anthony Veiller; directed by Orson Welles; with Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Richard Long, Konstantin Shayne, Byron Keith, Billy House.

Screen legend Orson Welles was a pioneering filmmaker and raffish public personality, best known for the remarkable achievement of Citizen Kane. This series presented by the Academy will focus on Welles as a trailblazing director, presenting nine of the 11 films completed in his lifetime (several of them screening in brand-new restorations). As a body of work, these films – from the serene grandeur of The Magnificent Ambersons to the noir intrigue of The Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil – reveal the dexterity and inventiveness of Welles's craftsmanship. The series will offer examples of his dazzling technical expertise, such as overlapping dialogue, potent bursts of montage and bravura cinematography, and explore the themes that fascinated him, from anti-heroes corrupted by power to the dangers of pursuing uncomfortable truths. These films are a testament to Welles the tireless visionary, who, whether in the lap of studio luxury or exiled in Zagreb, approached each motion picture as a mystery that only he could unravel.

The series runs from May 3 through June 7. For more screenings, please visit our Events page.


Event Information

Saturday, May 17 at 9:10 p.m.
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

$5 general admission
$3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID.

*Admission to both screenings on May 17: The Magnificent Ambersons and The Stranger.
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