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Talk About a Stranger (1952)

In an idyllic setting, a likable but dangerously volatile twelve-year-old boy tries to settle a score with his disagreeable, mysterious neighbor.

Director:

David Bradley

Writers:

Margaret Fitts (screenplay), Charlotte Armstrong (story "The Enemy")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Murphy ... Robert Fontaine Sr.
Nancy Reagan ... Marge Fontaine (as Nancy Davis)
Billy Gray ... Robert Fontaine Jr.
Lewis Stone ... Mr. Wardlaw
Kurt Kasznar ... Matlock
Anna Glomb Anna Glomb ... Camille Wardlaw
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Storyline

When his dog dies, apparently from being poisoned, the young son of the owner of a small orange orchard in California immediately suspects an unfriendly, mysterious stranger who has just moved into the area, who recently had a quarrel with the boy's father. The boy's suspicions grow and also influence other townspeople who begin to believe that the stranger may also be a wanted killer. Unwarranted assumptions and wild speculations lead to several problems before the truth is revealed. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It Sends Chills Down Your Spine!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 April 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Stranger in the House See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$481,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the beginning of the film, Bright's disease is mentioned. This is the original medical term for the kidney disease now known as nephritis, first described by the English physician Richard Bright in 1827. See more »

Quotes

Talmadge: Something doesn't stand up. A guy like Matlock who lives like a pig and dresses like a hobo, drives a nicer car than I do and has a $500 watch!
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User Reviews

 
Offbeat story elevated by John Alton's magical camerawork
24 September 2001 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

An old dark house in a California orange-growing community gains a mysterious tenant, and, scared on Halloween, the kids take an instant dislike to him. When the mutt belonging to one of them, Bud (Billy Gray), is later found poisoned, Bud fixes on the strange neighbor as its killer. With a November freeze threatening the crop, already restive townsfolk start to gossip, egged on by the implacable Bud. His parents, George Murphy and Nancy (Reagan) Davis -- both actors to become major forces in California and national politics in the next decade -- find him careening out of control. The story starts out as a fairly routine thriller based on a courageous (for its time) caution against McCarthyist hysteria. But then it turns into something more complex and memorable. When Bud sets off to find incriminating evidence, the tone and the images grow more gothic and evocative. John Alton's superb cinematography conjures up masterful effects from the smoke rising from the smudge-pots, the twisted branches and dark foliage, and the beclouded moonlight. (There's much in this movie that steals the thunder from Charles Laughton's solo masterpiece, the 1955 Night of the Hunter). The script deserves credit, too, for resolutely retaining the young adolescent's point of view while never stooping to condescend.


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