PROS: ~Orson Welles plays perfectly Charles Rankin, a former nazi criminal who tries to hide the cruelties of his past. He captures perfectly the duplicity and later the paranoia of his character with his bright glance. The conversation in the dinner is terrific and he gives keenly his point of view about the the restoration of post-war Germans. ~Loretta Young knocks it out of the park as the wife of Rankin. She is unwilling to accept the truth about her husband at first because she loves him passionately but in the end she realizes that he has no limits and is the pure evil (he even attempts to kill her). Edward G. Robinson is adequate as detective Wilson and knows that he should be several steps ahead of Rankin if he wants to catch him. Billy House as the store keeper stands out and he is the perfect comic relief. ~There are many scenes in the film that create suspense. The anxiety of Rankin's associate in case of being caught (the shot in the photo shop is tremendous) and the long-take shot in the woods where he is assassinated while some boys are wandering over there, are few of them. Furthermore, the clock tower is a great place for the ending of the film. ~Orson Welles does a masterful work from the chair of the director as well. The use of lighting is amazing and specifically the shadow camera angles are terrific showing the hidden and mysterious aspect of Rankin. The scene where Rankin confesses his wife his true identity while his face is half shadowy shows that he is a limitless and unhesitating man. Moreover, Welles makes a bold choice by showing footage from the Holocaust for the first time after the war. ~The use of clock throughtout the movie is a smart choice to heighten the tension. We are closer to the inevitable confrontation with every ticking. The obsession of Rankin with fixing the clock is a subtle metaphor for his desire to control the environment around him. However, in the end he is impaled by an angel artifact of the clock as a contrast to his dark nature.
~After a compelling beginning, the plot gets too straightforward. The only question that remains is when the villain will be caught. As a result despite some suspensful sequences the cat and mouse game isn't effective enough.
~There are some desicions that are only made for the sake of advancing the plot. For example, it is questionable why Young's character is offered as a sacrificial lamb just to expose her husband's true identity when other methods could have been used.
~There are also some editing issues. For example, the detective's dream is an unfitting way to move the plot forward.
3 out of 3 found this helpful