Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 3rd, 2005
The Film :
A former Nazi sympathizer Konrad Meinike is let out of prisoner in hopes that he will lead Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) to Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) one of the ring leaders responsible for the holocaust. After the war Franz Kindler changed his name and erased his identity with the only clue that can link him to his past being his obsession with antique clocks. Mr. Wilson’s leads quickly dry up when Konrad Meinike’s strangled corpse is found. His investigation are impeded when the towns folk accuse Mr. Wilson the stranger of killing the main he was supposed to keep an eye on. Will Mr. Wilson unveil the new identity of Franz Kindler or has he slipped through his hands forever?
Both releases are very close framing wise with minor instances of more info available at times present in each. Brentwood’s release looks murky and details look too soft which takes away from the films beautiful light & shadow photography. Roans will come as a revelation to fans of this film who have suffered through countless sub par versions. Their transfer boasts natural looking flesh tones and the amount of detail present in every frame perfectly captures the look of the film. Outside some minor grain and specs this transfer which was sourced from original film elements is nearly flawless.
Brentwood’s release sounds thin most of the time and is also suffers from hiss, distortion and other audio defects. Now for Roan’s release sports an audio source that is free of any hiss or distortion. For a mono track the mix is more then adequate and it more then gets the job done. Listening to these two releases audio mixes was like night and day as Roan’s audio mix is vastly superior to Brentwood’s.
Both the Roan and Brentwood releases for The Stranger come with extra content, just nothing in regards to the actually film like a trailer or documentary. The Brentwood release is part of their film noir ten pack which includes the following titles Borderline, He Walked by Night, Call It Murder, The Red House, D.O.A., Kansas City Confidential, Detour, The Second Woman and Scarlet Street. All of these films like Brentwood’s The Stranger release vary in quality and they appear to be sourced from video. The Brentwood release also comes with several film noir trailers that are spread out over the collection. Roan’s The Stranger release is part of a double feature with the film Cause for Alarm, which also stars Loretta Young. Overall extras wise both releases are a mixed bag with the slight edge going to Roan because the superior image quality for both films included on their double feature release.
Roan’s The Stranger release is the clear winner as it has superior audio/video and until Warner Brothers who owns The Stranger release their own version the Roan release is hands down the best available option.