Noirvember 2016, Episode 20: The Stranger (1946)

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The Stranger (1946) Orson Welles (2x)
(1:35)
Kino Lorber Blu-ray

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A member of the UN War Crimes Commission named Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) is convinced that WWII Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) is hiding out in America. Wilson sends Kindler’s former right-hand-man Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) to find Kindler with Wilson following closely behind. Meanwhile, Kindler has a new identity: a prep school teacher named Charles Rankin. Rankin is well-respected and is about to marry a young woman named Mary (Loretta Young), the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice (Philip Merivale).

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The Great Villain Blogathon 2016: Emmett Myers from The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Ida Lupino
Kino Classics Blu-ray (1:11)

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This post is part of The Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy. Thanks to all these ladies for accepting this post!

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The term “villain” implies that there must also be present within a story, a hero or heroes. The villain (other synonyms include scoundrel, reprobate, cur, miscreant, rogue, louse, brute, renegade, and significantly in our case – devil) is meant to be someone so diametrically opposite from the hero that he (or she) is immediately recognizable, yet completely foreign to the protagonist. How disconcerting to discover that the villain may, in fact, be someone very much like ourselves. This disturbing realization is part of what lies at the heart of Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker, brought about through its villain Emmett Myers.

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Fantômas (1913-1914) Louis Feuillade

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I don’t care that Fantômas is over 100 years old, that it’s silent, or that it’s in French (with English subtitles). You can tell me all day long about how it inspired Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse films (which I love), how the title character has come to be recognized as cinema’s first supervillain, and how influential director Louis Feuillade was to other directors. I knew everything I needed to know in the first scene from the first film: a montage of the villian Fantômas (René Navarre) going through a series of disguises, changing them effortlessly as if he’s shedding skin every few seconds. I knew from that opening that Fantômas was going to be a fun, wild ride, and that’s exactly what it is.

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