The Stranger (1946) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Wilson of the War Crimes Commission is seeking Franz Kindler, mastermind of the Holocaust, who has effectively erased his identity. Wilson releases Kindler's former comrade Meinike and follows him to Harper, Connecticut, where he is killed before he can identify Kindler. Now Wilson's only clue is Kindler's fascination with antique clocks; but, though Kindler seems secure in his new identity, he feels his past closing in.

  • Charles Rankin is a professor in a respectable Connecticut town about to marry the daughter of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. But his name is fake and his past is filthy. An earnest convert to Christianity, who once ran a Nazi concentration camp, is capable of exposing him. So "Rankin" kills this little old man and buries his body in the forest. But he isn't safe because an investigator from the War Crimes Commission is on his tail. Rankin will need his own wife to help him elude capture. But his fascination with the local clock tower may prove his undoing.

  • An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • War crimes commissioner Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) has a mission to track down the errant Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. One way is to use Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) as bait by freeing him and following him to his contacts. Meinike, driven by guilt over his actions during the war has become a Christian. Once free he immediately goes to a small Connecticut town and makes contact with his former Nazi associate Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) who is posing as Professor Charles Rankin. Kindler is hiding out as a teacher with a lovely new wife Mary (Loretta Young). When Meineke arrives in town to appeal to Kindler to give himself up, the professor responds by strangling his old associate and hiding the body in the nearby woods. Kindler believes himself safe because no one has an idea of his former identity. Wilson arrives in town following Meinike, posing as an antiques dealer, and starts sniffing out the dangerous Kindler and a confrontation of wills and cunning ensue.

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