For Hicksflicks.com, Oct. 11, 2013

Kino, a DVD/Blu-ray label that specializes in golden oldies and has given us many high-quality versions of titles that have been in the public domain for so long that we don't know how they'd look without scratches, pops, muffled sound and soft images.

The latest title to be revived by Kino is "The Stranger," a 1946 film starring Loretta Young, Edward G. Robinson and Orson Welles, who also directed. This remastered print from the Library of Congress is without question the best version of this film ever released and includes an audio commentary, documentary featurettes and four of Welles' World War II radio broadcasts.

The film has Robinson as Mr. Wilson, an investigator for the United Nations War Crimes Commission trying to find a fugitive named Franz Kindler, who was a major figure behind the Holocaust. So Robinson releases and follows another Nazi criminal, Meinike, hoping he will seek out Kindler and in so doing reveal the former Nazi leader's adopted identity.

Wilson follows Meinike to a small town in Connecticut but loses him along the way, and then Meinike is killed by Kindler, who has become Professor Charles Rankin (Welles) and has married a judge's daughter (Young).

Eventually, Wilson deduces Kindler's new identity but has no proof. Finally he decides that his only hope is to convince Young to admit that Meinike showed up at their home, which she declines to do. Wilson is sure that if she doesn't give him the evidence he needs, Young will be Kindler's next victim.

"The Stranger" is a gripping film noir cat-and-mouse thriller with the stars in top form, an intelligent script and fine direction by Welles. And even if you've seen it before in its less-than-stellar public-domain form, this new print is so good it will seem as if you are seeing it for the first time.