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Subtext in THE STRANGER (1946)

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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.

Feel free to have this whole thread moved to the appropriate LGBT sub-forum.  That is where this thread's wild-eyed conjectures and grasping-at-straws should have been in the first place.  One never knows........I might move over and I might not to further the "discussions".  Anything and everything is fair game in the appropriate sub-forum.  Therein feel free to discuss the "hidden" LGBT intentions/meanings/relevancy in any and all films ever made to your heart's desire.

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Feel free to have this whole thread moved to the appropriate LGBT sub-forum.  That is where this thread's wild-eyed conjectures and grasping-at-straws should have been in the first place.  One never knows........I might move over and I might not to further the "discussions".  Anything and everything is fair game in the appropriate sub-forum.  Therein feel free to discuss the "hidden" LGBT intentions/meanings/relevancy in any and all films ever made to your heart's desire.

There's a thread here in General called "Pre Code Fridays." Should that be moved to the "Pre Code Movies" thread in the genre forums? Should every thread that fits one of those categories be moved over there? 

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Feel free to have this whole thread moved to the appropriate LGBT sub-forum.  That is where this thread's wild-eyed conjectures and grasping-at-straws should have been in the first place.  One never knows........I might move over and I might not to further the "discussions".  Anything and everything is fair game in the appropriate sub-forum.  Therein feel free to discuss the "hidden" LGBT intentions/meanings/relevancy in any and all films ever made to your heart's desire.

Interesting :)  I just realized you're from Montrose, Colorado. My sister lives north of Grand Junction, so I definitely know where Montrose is located.

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Interesting :)  I just realized you're from Montrose, Colorado. My sister lives north of Grand Junction, so I definitely know where Montrose is located.

The Grand Junction area is a great place to live as Montrose is as well.  The awesomeness of the Four Corners area.  An outdoor enthusiast's heaven in all directions and in all seasons.

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There's a thread here in General called "Pre Code Fridays." Should that be moved to the "Pre Code Movies" thread in the genre forums? Should every thread that fits one of those categories be moved over there? 

The LBGT sub-forum was added recently as a special little place where the movie longings and movie lifestyles and movie insinuations and movie conjectures of an "offbeat" group could be discussed and thrashed and slobbered over and fantasized about in their own special world but one where anybody if they so desire can enter into.  If you want to add Pre Code Fridays into the Pre Code Movies sub-forum be my guest as I will find what I'm interested in no matter where it is started and I am very interested in pre code movies.  As I am not interested in fantastical homosexual conjectures then by putting them into the LGBT sub-forum you will get no comments from me.  Put them into general discussions and the fantastical conjectures of some minds are open game.  Back to today's NFL games for me now plus some tennis.  Go Denver Broncos later tonight!!

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"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? 

 

I'm not insulted by your insults and of course I already knew you wouldn't care if you insult people or not.    Just par for the course in my book.

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The LBGT sub-forum was added recently as a special little place where the movie longings and movie lifestyles and movie insinuations and movie conjectures of an "offbeat" group could be discussed and thrashed and slobbered over and fantasized about in their own special world but one where anybody if they so desire can enter into.  If you want to add Pre Code Fridays into the Pre Code Movies sub-forum be my guest as I will find what I'm interested in no matter where it is started and I am very interested in pre code movies.  As I am not interested in fantastical homosexual conjectures then by putting them into the LGBT sub-forum you will get no comments from me.  Put them into general discussions and the fantastical conjectures of some minds are open game.  Back to today's NFL games for me now plus some tennis.  Go Denver Broncos later tonight!!

If you think that the genre forums were created as sort of segregated places, so that the subjects there would never come up in General Discussion threads -- you are totally wrong. You, of course, are always welcome not to enter this thread, which is very specific.  

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If you think that the genre forums were created as sort of segregated places, so that the subjects there would never come up in General Discussion threads -- you are totally wrong. You, of course, are always welcome not to enter this thread, which is very specific. 

 

Of course he is totally wrong.    Come on he is a Denver Broncos fan.   The SeaHawks gave the Broncos one of the worst beatings in Super Bowl history. 

 

I'm going to find that Marty thread and ensure it remains on top 24 \ 7!   :)

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The discussion continues...I found this reply to stratorick's original comments at the IMDB:

 

Those are some great coinciding details you caught, Stratorick. You can add to them these three: 

1) Meineke and Kindler go into the woods to conduct their business, crouching down behind the bushes, afraid to be seen together by the other boys. 

2) Kindler thinks getting married to a pretty woman will camouflage his difference. 

3) When Loretta Young's character asks her husband to kill her but not to do it with his hands, "do it with this!" she looks to the, phallic-shaped and sounding, poker. 

On a tangential note, the 1970 movie "Il conformista" or "The Conformist" is about a fascist male spy who tries to be free of his past which includes killing his first sexual partner, another male. I'm sure Bertolucci was inspired by Welles' movie.

 

I haven't seen THE CONFORMIST, so I cannot comment on that film. Anyone have thoughts about it...?

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Arguments about Ye Subtexte aside, for those of you who haven't seen The Stranger (1946), I highly recommend checking it out tomorrow night. While it is in the public domain, most prints you'll find on youtube or cut-rate bin DVDs are not good and TCM usually shows the cleanest print with an audio track that doesn't hiss throughout.

 

It is easily the most conventional film Welles ever directed (replete with a very fantastic HOLLYWOOD finale that would fit just fine in a film made today)- and for that reason, I think it's been very unfairly ignored among his work- while not as visually dazzling or unique as Kane or Touch of Evil, The Stranger stands on its own merits just fine (and I'd watch it over The Magnificent Ambersons any day of the week.) It's Orson Welles' popcorn movie; and he does popcorn well.

 

The Stranger is also notable for being, perhaps, Loretta Young's finest hour- she handles the very demanding role quite well and plumbs her depths for the right emotions to convey someone caught in as awful a situation as she is- the panic, the doubt, the agony, and the guilt- and the scene where she hands the poker to Orson, demanding he not put his hands on her when he kills her is perfectly played (and being Loretta, she of course looks fabulous throughout.) Had 1946 not been such an outstanding year for lead performances by actresses, Loretta might've found herself in the Oscarrace (and I think her award the next year for The Farmer's Daughter was in part a recognition of the strides she made starting with The Stranger the year before.)

 

To take it back to the OP, I personally do not think that a gay subtext was intended by the filmmakers; but I do see how that translation could viably be made from the final film....and if I were a gay man looking to marry a woman, Loretta Young would be the perfect candidate. I see life with Loretta as an extended version of the Rainbow High number from Evita- "eyes, hair, shoes, magic, rings, glamour! Face....excitement!" 

 

Heaven.

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I personally do not think that a gay subtext was intended by the filmmakers; but I do see how that translation could viably be made from the final film....and if I were a gay man looking to marry a woman, Loretta Young would be the perfect candidate. I see life with Loretta as an extended version of the Rainbow High number from Evita- "eyes, hair, shoes, magic, rings, glamour! Face....excitement!" 

 

In addition to any ideas about a hidden gay subtext in THE STRANGER, we will also have Dr. Goldman's comments tonight about the Jewish portions of the text.

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In addition to any ideas about a hidden gay subtext in THE STRANGER, we will also have Dr. Goldman's comments tonight about the Jewish portions of the text.

even though- to the best of my recollection- there isn't a single Jewish character in The Stranger. it's kind of an odd choice for a film about "The Jewish experience" as such- but it's such a watchable film, I welcome any airing of it.

 

if they had wanted to do films about The Holocaust and Jews that were made during or immediately after the war years, I think The Seventh Cross might've been a somewhat better choice (or is it included too?)

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wow.

 

did loretta young employ joan crawford's make-up artist for this flick?        :D

 

those eyebrows were incredibly overemphasized.

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Achtung, possible spoilers below.

 

This movie is subtexts galore. Kindler's hobby is fixing c(l)ocks. Robinson

spends much of the movie sucking on a pipe. Mr. Potter, the checker-playing

five and dime owner, asks Robinson whether angels are male or female.

Got it. Kindler is stabbed by the phallic sword of one of the clock figurines,

but he is penetrated in the front, not the back. In his anger at this, he

throws the statue to the ground before following it himself. Case closed.

 

Dang dude. Way to unpack the subtext. Gold star for you.

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wow.

 

did loretta young employ joan crawford's make-up artist for this flick?        :D

 

those eyebrows were incredibly overemphasized.

 

 

I know, and I love it.

Seriously though, every time I see this film I am more and more impressed with Loretta's work in it. She is excellent.

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I love this movie, but I didn't pick up on a whit of gay subtext...

 

I will also add that (as much as I love it) The Stranger was a very poor choice for inclusion as part of "The Jewish Experience" and Dr. Goldman's rather unfocused remarks didn't do a thing to show why it should have been. There are no Jews in this film and to say it is a Jewish film simply because it has Nazis and/or Holocaust footage is a bit belittling to Jews and shallow in thinking- there is so much more in the definition and depiction of the culture and the people than that dark part of their history.

 

The Eddie Cantor Story which aired at 6 pm today- for all its numerous faults- was a better choice for inclusion in The Jewish Experience than The Stranger.

 

I also have to respectfully disagree with Osborne's opening remarks that there were no American films that showed Nazis in America- has he forgotten Saboteur, All Through the Night and Tomorrow: The World! ? (That last one is camp and a bit of a stretch, I admit.)

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Well, I don't see a gay sub-plot. I see images, symbols. But mostly I see it as a film made by a deeply progressive and liberal director, who fought against racism and for tolerance. I see The Stranger as his way of touching on the subject when it was current. 

 

In terms of symbols, I see the Nazi's death by the angel in the clock as a reminder of how the Nazis felt about gays as well; so the justice may be that the character was killed by a gay angel  (I'm referring the ambiguity proposed,  early in the film, when Mr. Potter says "is that angel male or female?") In a Welles film, that comment in connection with the fact that the angel actually kills the Nazi is of some (albeit perhaps small) significance. A nice touch.

 

I actually think the post-film remarks were to the point. This is a film that talks about Jews and deals with the holocaust in a manner that had never been done. So I think it was a good choice for this series. But I think the gay angle is only part of it indirectly, in the context of the Nazis feelings about anyone they considered "impure."

 

However, it's possible to look for clues that the Edward G. Robinson and Richard Long characters were gay. I need to watch it again to check that out!

 

So -- if there's anything remotely gay about this film, it has nothing to do with a Nazi being a surrogate for being gay!

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Lorna -- I think those other films you mention deal with Nazis as enemies of America but really don't go into the horrors of the inhumanities of the Nazis, which Edward G. Robinson relates in a way never before done. Powerful speech, it took me by surprise, in a Hollywood movie.

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A very good film but I too failed to find the gay subtext at least as far as the Rankin character is concerned- except for the brief scene in which the boys notice the blonde and the professor ignores her.  The only hint of bromance is between Mr Wilson and Noah- now if Rankin had spent more time fishing with Noah or hanging out with the good looking doctor who played his best man that would be another story- but seriously the movie to me seems like the closest thing Welles ever did to a horror picture - it was as if he had been studying the Val Lewton chillers- not only with the use of sound to create sudden shocks but the eerie  imagery- that haunting scene of Mary walking through the grave yard ( you expect her to run into a zombie) .    Rankin like Dracula has come to the new world in search for blood and like Frankenstein he is destroyed by the angry villagers and the hand of God.  Welles uses all that German expressionism angles and the shadowy atmosphere to create a sense of Evil- look at the scen in which his shadow  invades Mary's bedroom.  I wish Welle's had done a real horror movie- there is nothing gay about "The Stranger" but it's definetly chilling.

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Joefilmone: I love everything you wrote.

 

fyi- Welles did do the best interpretation of Dracula EVER- although it was as an hour long episode of his Mercury Theater Radio show.

 

It's really worth a listen:

 

 

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Lorna -- I think those other films you mention deal with Nazis as enemies of America but really don't go into the horrors of the inhumanities of the Nazis, which Edward G. Robinson relates in a way never before done. Powerful speech, it took me by surprise, in a Hollywood movie.

 

Good point. I can buy that.

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