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Subtext in THE STRANGER (1946)

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Yes Swithin what you write may be true in some cases, HOWEVER, not in all films where someone is hiding their identity, that is a stretch. As you wrote comparing a gay person to a nazi war criminal would be pretty damning and I seriously doubt that was Welles intention. And that my friend, was also the subtext in my last post  :)

I'm obviously speaking from ignorance, since I haven't seen the film in years and may never have seen it in its entirety. I have read that Welles was extremely progressive, politically, and fought for liberal causes and against all manner of discrimination. The only way it would make sense for him to have the gay subtext would be if he were saying that society is so crazy and so hateful, that it equates homosexuality with Nazism. But that just doesn't make sense, in the context of what little I know about the movie. I look forward to watching the film -- which I would not have done, had it not been for this thread, so I am grateful that it has made us all think. Curious as to what my own reaction will be!

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I think it was actually about the secret infiltration of Republicans into small-town America.

 

Edward G. Robinson represented a volunteer Democrat investigator assigned to find them and track them one at a time, and root them out.

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Hmmm I will have to take a look at this one again- it's a very effective thriler Welle's variation on Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt".   Evil hiding in small town America- never thought it as gay subtext- well there is the scene of the young men running through the woods...

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    just watch the trailer- they are selling it as "strange love story" ?!  - to  a modern audience I can see implications- but in the movie Welles is just plain evil not gay. ;)

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Exactly, that comment about control was unecessary and incorrect.

 

 looking for sub-texts that aren't there to most is losing sight of what this excellent film was really about.

 

...Or in other words, you'd rather people not form opinions about The Stranger if they happen to be opinions that you don't agree with, and if they do, then it somehow denigrates the film- because you know what it's all about, not us.

 

PS- two n's in unnecessary. If we're going to be so critical, we really should use proper spelling.

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OH, you mean like that typo you had when you wrote
FOIST??  instead of first? awhile back. And no, read all my posts on this thread and anyone (else that is) can see I wrote TB and the imdb poster are entitled to think what they want. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, besides your obvious nastiness? At least 4 other posters do not see the gay subtext and have posted that on the bds. You haven't argued with them.You seem to have a problem with my posts. Try IGNORE then and don't read my posts if they bother you so much. And STOP putting words in my mouth. I never wrote anywhere that someone doesn't have the right to express an opinion. I disagree with the gay subtext in this film as most others here have and have every right to my opinion and feel everyone here also has that right. It seems that you are the one that has a problem with disagreement. ps- done with you on this thread.

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I think we all need to watch this film! On the one hand, it would seem very odd to me for Welles to use a Nazi to mask a theme, or even a sub-theme -- about homosexuality. On the other hand, sometimes the memory of a film's story isn't enough, when confronted with the possibilities of an alternate meaning, or one of its themes. We need to go back and look at everything again, in light of a possible different way of looking at a movie.

 

I saw High Noon many years ago; it wasn't until Maria Cooper Janis invited me to a screening of the restored print, with a panel, that my eyes were opened relative to its anti-McCarthyist message. Similarly, I'm sure many people could see Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, on the face of it about the persecution of witches in Salem, and not see the link to Miller's anti-McCarthyism message.

 

So -- keep an open mind, and watch the movie!  :)

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I think we all need to watch this film! On the one hand, it would seem very odd to me for Welles to use a Nazi to mask a theme, or even a sub-theme -- about homosexuality. On the other hand, sometimes the memory of a film's story isn't enough, when confronted with the possibilities of an alternate meaning, or one of its themes. We need to go back and look at everything again, in light of a possible different way of looking at a movie.

 

I saw High Noon many years ago; it wasn't until Maria Cooper Janis invited me to a screening of the restored print, with a panel, that my eyes were opened relative to its anti-McCarthyist message. Similarly, I'm sure many people could see Arthur Miller's play The Citadel, on the face of it about the persecution of witches in Salem, and not see the link to Miller's anti-McCarthyism message.

 

So -- keep an open mind, and watch the movie!  :)

I've seen THE STRANGER twice (good movie) and saw 0% homosexual overtones.  It's a movie about an evil hidden Nazi in the midst of an average nice small all-American town made a year after the most virulent horrifying war in history which was full of sadistic racist fascist murder.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Hidden Nazis have been searched for and found every year all across the globe and are still being found occasionally today nearly 70 years after VE Day.  Zero homosexual overtones.  Less than zero except in a few desperate minds.

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I've seen THE STRANGER twice (good movie) and saw 0% homosexual overtones.  It's a movie about an evil hidden Nazi in the midst of an average nice small all-American town made a year after the most virulent horrifying war in history which was full of sadistic racist fascist murder.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Hidden Nazis have been searched for and found every year all across the globe and are still being found occasionally today nearly 70 years after VE Day.  Zero homosexual overtones.  Less than zero except in a few desperate minds.

Well Rover, sounds like you've about covered it. But I'm still keeping an open mind, because even setting the gay theme aside, a great artist like Welles always presents a multi-layered movie with possibilities for interpretation. It must be about something else as well. A few years ago, I went to see Went the Day Well, a restored print of a 1942 British movie about Germans invading England. At the time -- it was made during the war -- it was seen as an effective piece of war propaganda. Upon re-release a few years ago, the NY Times critic wrote: "Home-front propaganda has rarely seemed so cutthroat or so cunning."  It turned out that the film also had a sub-theme, unnoticed in the heat of war, about how bloodthirsty the responses of the sweet English villagers could be.

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Sometimes it's good to step back and recall the words of Mark Twain, who wrote this in the introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:  "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

 

Of course, the more appropriate quotation for this thread is the one often attributed (correctly or not) to Freud, who allegedly said "sometimes a cigar ...," well, you know the rest.

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Sometimes it's good to step back and recall the words of Mark Twain, who wrote this in the introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:  "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

 

Of course, the more appropriate quotation for this thread is the one often attributed (correctly or not) to Freud, who allegedly said "sometimes a cigar ...," well, you know the rest.

Just so you know, I thought about using the cigar quote, but resisted!  :) But of course the people who think High Noon or The Crucible are just about their more surface themes would use Dr. Freud's quote.

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Just so you know, I thought about using the cigar quote, but resisted!  :) But of course the people who think High Noon or The Citadel are just about their more surface themes would use Dr. Freud's quote.

 

It's not "The Citadel", it's "The Crucible".

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It's not "The Citadel", it's "The Crucible".

Omigod, of course, sorry -- correction noted. I've got A.J. Cronin on the brain. There's the Hatter's Castle thread going; and I've just watched The Green Years for the umpteenth time.

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I saw High Noon many years ago; it wasn't until Maria Cooper Janis invited me to a screening of the restored print, with a panel, that my eyes were opened relative to its anti-McCarthyist message.

 

See this:

 

"I still believe High Noon was the best picture of 1952, but the political climate of the nation and the right-wing campaigns after High Noon had enough effect to relegate it to an also-ran status. Popular as it was, it could not overcome the climate in which it was released. Carl Foreman, who wrote it, had by then taken off for England under a cloud of accusations as a result of his political beliefs. Between the time he turned in the script and the time the Academy voted, we all learned that he had been a member of the Communist Party, but anyone who has seen the picture knows that he put no Communist propaganda into the story. If he had tried to do so, I would have taken it out."

 

By Scott McGee & Jeff Stafford"

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/24083/High-Noon/articles.html

 

Hey! It's just a MOVIE!

 

If anything, it might have been a slightly anti-American film, since no one in town would help the Sheriff, and even the Church men refused to help him. And his religious wife refused at first, but finally renounced her Quaker beliefs and decided to help him.

 

But lone brave men fighting alone to save a town was a very common Western movie theme in the old days, including the Zorro and Lone Ranger films.

 

:)

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and i'd bet my life this type of thing has been going on since adam (6000 years ago).

 

not really surprising at all.

 

and I think the likelihood that men were having sex with each other on the down-low in 1946 and entering into sham marriages with women as camouflage may be greater than actual Nazi war criminals taking up residence in America's towns.

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See this:

 

"I still believe High Noon was the best picture of 1952, but the political climate of the nation and the right-wing campaigns after High Noon had enough effect to relegate it to an also-ran status. Popular as it was, it could not overcome the climate in which it was released. Carl Foreman, who wrote it, had by then taken off for England under a cloud of accusations as a result of his political beliefs. Between the time he turned in the script and the time the Academy voted, we all learned that he had been a member of the Communist Party, but anyone who has seen the picture knows that he put no Communist propaganda into the story. If he had tried to do so, I would have taken it out."

 

By Scott McGee & Jeff Stafford"

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/24083/High-Noon/articles.html

 

Hey! It's just a MOVIE!

 

If anything, it might have been a slightly anti-American film, since no one in town would help the Sheriff, and even the Church men refused to help him. And his religious wife refused at first, but finally renounced her Quaker beliefs and decided to help him.

 

But lone brave men fighting alone to save a town was a very common Western movie theme in the old days, including the Zorro and Lone Ranger films.

 

:)

"Hey! It's just a movie" is of course an insult to a very powerful art form!  A movie can be as powerful as a book, or as a piece of music, such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring which caused riots.

 

"Actor John Wayne disliked the film because he felt it was an allegory for blacklisting, which he actively supported. In his Playboy interview from May 1971, Wayne stated he considered High Noon "the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life."

 

But of course it wasn't anti-American; it was only anti-Wayne's vision of America.

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possibly.

 

lighting those two cigs could imply that paul is intimating to bette that he is sexually omnipotent.

 

guns, knives and even cigarettes could be metaphorically used in motion pictures (as well as in precoded comic books) as phallic symbols.

 

Is there some subtext to Paul Henreid lighting a pair of cigarettes? 

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"Hey! It's just a movie" is of course an insult to a very powerful art form! 

 

I was making a joke. Sort of like, "Some times a cigar is just a good smoke." :)

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Thanks to TB for posting the original text.   Interesting POV.   But I do see a contradiction where the poster says he doesn't believe the subtext was intentional but then adds 'perhaps from Welles himself'.     I don't see anything written that backs up the 'perhaps from Welles himself' comment.  

 

Having said all this I do not believe the homosexual subtext was intentional but it is there none the less, perhaps from Wells himself.

According to the IMDB, five different people are listed as having contributed to the writing of the screenplay for THE STRANGER-- including John Huston and Welles himself. Of course, since Welles directed, he had the most influence over the shaping of the story (and what wound up on screen). Obviously, any one of these five men could have been adding extra layers or subtext into the narrative.

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I've seen THE STRANGER twice (good movie) and saw 0% homosexual overtones.  It's a movie about an evil hidden Nazi in the midst of an average nice small all-American town made a year after the most virulent horrifying war in history which was full of sadistic racist fascist murder.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Hidden Nazis have been searched for and found every year all across the globe and are still being found occasionally today nearly 70 years after VE Day.  Zero homosexual overtones.  Less than zero except in a few desperate minds.

 

People can often relate something in their personal lives with events, situations and characters in a movie,  even when these things were not done intentionally by the producer \ director.    How does that made them 'desperate minds'?     

 

You have different experiences than others so you can't relate to those things.   But why the need to insult others that do? 

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OH, you mean like that typo you had when you wrote

FOIST??  instead of first?

 

Well, no...not at all really.

 

I often deliberately write "foist" and "soitanly" as an homage to Bugs Bunny. It's a habit of mine, sort of like the habit of some to perceive an insult where none was meant in the foist place, and then proceed to fly all off the handle about it in a way that is downright pitiable.

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People can often relate something in their personal lives with events, situations and characters in a movie,  even when these things were not done intentionally by the producer \ director.    

And I think that is what makes people like certain films more than others-- because there are deeper truths they are responding to within the text. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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People can often relate something in their personal lives with events, situations and characters in a movie,  even when these things were not done intentionally by the producer \ director.    How does that made them 'desperate minds'?     

 

You have different experiences than others so you can't relate to those things.   But why the need to insult others that do? 

"Desperate minds" I meant and "desperate minds" I still mean.  If you are insulted so be it.  The homosexual community is in continual forlorn-hope maximum overdrive to find "desperate" signs and celestial displays and hidden icons in everything including movies.  There are plenty of movies with homosexual intent and partially hidden signs but 1946's THE STRANGER is not one of them and neither was/is MARTY.  Way to much grasping-at-"desperate"-straws out there.  Most of the time straw is actually just plain old straw.  By the way isn't there a new separate LGBT sub-forum to be used to discuss these longings and conjectures? 

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By the way isn't there a new separate LGBT sub-forum to be used to discuss these longings and conjectures? 

Good point. And when I created this thread, I considered that-- but since you are saying THE STRANGER is not a film that belongs to the LGBT community, then can't we say this thread does not belong there? And that it's fine where it's at?

 

I sincerely hope the LGBT sub-forum is not being regarded as a cyberia wasteland where unwanted discussions are placed out of sight and out of mind. It is meant-- like all sub-forums-- to house more specific, extended and in-depth conversations of topics that can easily be found under the general discussion category.

 

If we do arrive at a consensus that THE STRANGER is an example of quee-r cinema, then I am sure this thread can be moved over to the LBGT sub-forum-- but of course that means you would have to follow it over there, you would have to step into the alternative classic film disco for a few minutes and be gay-friendly.

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