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  • I saw this as a fan of Agatha Christie and I'd see any film adaptation of her work. Not all the adaptations of her work have been successful, there are some truly great ones out there but there are some that just don't work. A Stranger Walked In doesn't fit in either of these categories, it's not a bad film but it's not a good one either. It does look good, it is lavishly photographed and the period detail is evocatively and beautifully rendered. The music has the romantic melodrama feel but also a psychologically haunting quality, not an amazing score by all means but one that fits within the film. Sylvia Sidney gives a poignant performance while bringing some edge to her role, and Ann Richards plays it straight very effectively. John Hodiak however overacts quite badly particularly in the latter part of the film, more subtlety was needed, and his chemistry with Sidney never convinces. The script is trite and does get very overwrought, again it could've done with more subtlety, a little less talk and more of Christie's writing style which would have given that. The story and pacing were also major issues. The story feels very undercooked dramatically as well as dull, and the psychological aspects that would have added to any suspense was on mute, as was the suspense. The pacing is also very pedestrian, making some of the less eventful scenes a bit hard to sit through. And the ending is more ridiculous than it is satisfying, I wasn't surprised by the outcome, it was underdeveloped and it also felt unnecessarily melodramatic. All in all, not terrible not a disappointment. 5/10 Bethany Cox
  • In 1937 Basil Rathbone and Ann Harding were directed by Rowland V. Lee in the film LOVE FROM A STRANGER, based on a short story turned into a play by Agatha Christie. Set in contemporary England, Rathbone played a "gallant" type who sweeps the recently enriched Harding into a sudden marriage, and then plots to kill her. She gradually realizes her danger, and at the last moment turns the tables on him. It worked well, and so it was re-shot in 1947. Now it is John Hodiak and Sylvia Sidney who play the ill-fated couple, with John Howard as Sidney's one ally on the outside trying to help her.

    It is odd for two reasons. First it was reset into late Victorian, early Edwardian England. The reason seems to have been based on the success in the last few years of Victorian melodramas at the box office (GASLIGHT, THE LODGER, HANGOVER SQUARE, THE VERDICT, THE WOMAN IN WHITE). This should not have been too difficult to do, for murders for profit has occurred in every time period and era. But it leads to a bit of historical theft (see below). The other reason is that the end was altered. The Harding/Sidney character's last trick was weakened in the remake, and Hodiak did not meet quite the same just deserts that Rathbone did. In fact, it becomes something of a steal from Robert Louis Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND in the end.

    The bit of historical theft was concerning Hodiak's background. Like Rathbone, he is a serial killer of wives (usually wealthy ones). In the earlier film, it turns out that Rathbone's earlier career was written up in a book of true crimes, including a photograph of him (with a beard), that was subject to his character trying to get possession of the book before a crime connoisseur could see the picture and go to the authorities. The same plot twist is in this film, but the picture is a newspaper drawing of Hodiak with a beard. But it mentions his earlier crime as being in South Africa (Hodiak's character is given a Spainish name). The possibility exists that Agatha Christie or the screenplay writers were acquainted with the late 19th Century career of wife murderer Frederick Bayley Deeming. Deeming murdered (as far as we know) two wives, and his four children in Liverpool, England (in 1891), and Melbourne, Australia (in 1892). Although money was not involved in either case, he was a con-man, who was extradited from Uruguay in South America in 1890 to serve time for fraud in England. He also tried to confuse witnesses at his murder trial in Melbourne by first shaving off his mustache, and then growing a beard at his trial. It did not work - he was hanged in Melbourne in May 1892. Not quite a fit, but close enough to make one wonder.
  • m0rphy29 September 2003
    As an admirer of Jennifer Jones (JJ) who has collected all her films and read all her biographies etc, I wanted to see an example of one of my heroine's idols of the stage and screen - Sylvia Sydney who plays "Cecily Harrington".I looked up this film on the Imdb and noticed another actress who had worked with JJ - Ann Richards who played Dilly Carson in "Love Letters" (1945).They appear together in this film, "Love from a Stranger" from 1947 opposite John Hodiak.Incidentally, I was very impressed with the speed of dispatch of this video to London from Amazon.com in the U.S.A. considering they acted as agents for my American vendor.Fortunatly my vcr is adapted to play both NTSC & PAL video formats so I can also obtain and enjoy films from the States which never seem available here in the U.K.

    Considering Sylvia was born in 1910 in the Bronx, NYK from foreign parents i.e. not native born Americans (which I only discovered after watching this film), I marvelled at her English accent and only suspected she could be American when she uttered a short "a" instead of the longer English vowel towards the end of the film.I could well see how Sylvia could have been an influence on JJ in her portrayals of English ladies, e.g. in "Cluny Brown" from (1946).Once again Ann Richards plays the best friend role but here she is only required to do a straight reading of her undemanding part.This is one of those films where you find yourself screaming at the screen "Don't do it"!!!! when she is obviously ditching her regular fiance (no attempt at an English accent here) and goes for the "Bluebeard" she has just met (John Hodiak) whose provenance is unknown and who is obviously intent to everyone except Cecily Harrington, on relieving her of her recent Calcutta Sweep winnings of £50,000 (a National Lottery type fortune in 1901).Will he just be content with that?

    I could not help thinking that with a story by Agatha Christie, what Alfred Hitchcock could have done as director if he had been given this film, (probably substituted brunette Sylvia with his usual cool blond for starters) as the direction was very average and I felt there were many points where more suspense could have been engendered into the plot than was the case in the direction by Richard Whorf.The denoument at the end had all the hallmarks of an amateur dramatic performance when the goodies arrive just in time to save the heroine.

    So I agree 5.1/10 is a fair rating but it was my first opportunity to study Sylvia Sydney's work and was gratified she had such a long life, only dieing in 1999, so she was 89, and apparantly was working professionally towards the end - read her biography.Finally I try to spot jobbing actors, in this case Ernest Cossart who plays "Billings".He played the hilarious reverse snobby butler in "Cluny Brown" and a bishop in "Love Letters".
  • jcoppeto00113 March 2006
    This was a rather pedestrian version of the Agatha Christie short story thriller (Philomel Cottage). Of course, the original short story confined itself to the time the couple spent on their honeymoon, although the subsequent adapted theater play expanded on the plot. Sylvia Sidney came off as a kind of Betty Davis type with a distracting edge to her delivery. John Hodiak's performance started off with subtlety but towards the end it deteriorated into melodrama. I agree with another reviewer that I couldn't help thinking that this would have gotten a much better treatment from Alfred Hitchcock. The plot development was implausible at times. Although the beginning was cogent and mood-setting, I was disappointed by the lack of subtlety in the ending, which differed from the Christie ending. The story should have been about the psychology of predator and prey, but that aspect was muted. I have not read the theater play, so I don't know how its ending compared to the wonderful Christie ending.
  • Hodiak overacts and Sidney does an adequate job in this dark Franju remake of 1937 movie (based on a play based on an Agatha Christie novel). Overstuffed with English local color & symbolic stormy weather. Entertaining.
  • The short lived Trans-Atlantic studio Eagle-Lion produced this film for British and American audiences about a serial killer of wives, his own. His latest victim is Sylvia Sidney who has inherited a windfall and she's a target for fortune hunters.

    Coming from America is John Hodiak playing Manuel Cortez who has already murdered two wives after draining them of their assets. His sights are set on Sidney.

    I'm at a loss as to why Eagle-Lion did not cast a Latin charmer like Gilbert Roland, Cesar Romero or best of all Anthony Quinn in the lead. Saying that though Hodiak exudes a menace throughout the film. Unfortunately I mean that literally as we know from the beginning that Hodiak is up to no good and is the serial killer.

    Menace we have, but suspense is flattened somewhat as we know from the beginning exactly what Hodiak's character is. Still Love From A Stranger is a good thriller
  • This movie "Love From a Stranger" is based on a story written by Agatha Christie. It is similar to "Love From a Stranger" made in black and white in 1937 starring Basil Rathbone and Ann Harding.

    This one is from 1947 black and white. The stars of this movie are John Hodiak as Manuel Cortez and Sylvia Sidney as Cecily Harrington.The premise is the same in both movies.

    A woman wins a sweepstakes/lottery, drops her boyfriend, and meets Mr Wonderful who sweet talks her, marries her in a short time and prepares to kill her at sometime in the near future at 9:PM.

    Cecily is the target. She finds out more about Manuel her husband while he is away one night and gets scared. She sees a hole like a burial hole down in the cellar where no one is allowed to go. I like the ending in this one too is was like a bar fight but much better. The one with Basil Rathbone had a ironic ending too. You can watch this with John Hodiak on this IMDb site http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039586/ which will link you to Hulu.

    You can download the one with Basil Rathbone at Archive.org for free or watch it on line with the same name. http://www.archive.org/details/LovefromaStranger
  • LOVE FROM A STRANGER is a typical version of the popular 'Bluebeard' type tale and indeed Bluebeard himself, the famous wife killer, is referenced at one point. It bears the usual stylistic similarities to the likes of Hitchcock's REBECCA although it has more of a B-movie look and feel than that film. The film was made as a British-American co-production and is set largely in the UK.

    Sylvia Sidney stars as an heiress who breaks off her long-term engagement with the nice but dull John Howard to hook up with the exotic John Hodiak. The problem with this set-up is that she has zero sympathy for the viewer so it's hard to get worked up about her subsequent plight. The couple move to the English coast where Sidney begins to suspect that her new husband's motives might not be all they're cracked up to be.

    After a somewhat muddled opening, there's some mild atmosphere building here and the usual fun with weather machines supplying storms and the like. Hodiak is a fan of his basement which leads to some fun macabre moments which reminded me of THE 'BURBS, of all things. The film only really gets going in the last twenty minutes or so, and before that the first hour is a little slow. But the show-stopping climax is definitely worth the wait.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1947, the period of this film was nearly 50 years ago, and modern people became quite fascinated by it, copying its fashions and decor. In fact, the fashions and interiors are the best thing about this film. A lot must still have been around, as people changed their houses less (or couldn't afford to), and people in the 30s and 40s often lived surrounded by - what I almost called Victorian tat. We get a good look at Sylvia Sydney's flat - full of furniture and china and knicknacks. When she marries the charming Manuel Cortez they move to a perfect cottage in the country - more knicknacks and a convincing kitchen with oil lamps and a Welsh dresser.

    Sylvia's clothes when she first comes into money are deliberately tasteless - the huge hat with feathers and the sequined evening dress.

    Anyway, back to the plot... Yes, we know about Cortez' evil intentions far too soon, and Sylvia's discoveries are very slow and clunky. Cortez leaves evidence strewn around and jokes about being a Bluebeard. And he keeps disappearing down to the cellar! The dialogue (not Christie's) is pedestrian and expository, and it all becomes very melodramatic ("We're going on a long sea voyage, my dear - cackle!"). But the moment when she discovers her brooch in a box of unfamiliar jewellery is quite chilling, as is their tense "last supper". There's an attempt at Christie's resolution of the plot, but then the cavalry come thundering into view.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A newly rich woman meets a suavely charming man, and marries him. Idyllically, they go off to a remote honeymoon cottage. It all seems ideal, but is it.

    The Gothic material would have made an excellent entry in The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962- 65). As an 80-minute movie, however, there's too much repetition long after we've gotten the idea. In fact, this may be the "clinch-i-est" movie I've seen, seems like they're embracing every few minutes. Yes, we know she's enamored, while he's leading her down a one-way road. The premise, of course, is a perennial one, as others trace out, and a hard one for audiences to resist. The suspense is built in even though we know how Hollywood will end it, especially with dewy-eyed Sylvia Sydney in the feminine lead. That suspense would have really mounted had we discovered Manuel's true intentions at the same time Cecily does. I agree with others, that he was exposed much too early.

    On the other hand, the production is very well staged, with particular attention to detail. Also eye-catching are the photography and art direction. So when the narrative dawdles, the visuals help compensate. But what's with that aircraft-carrier hat topped by feathers that Cecily wears. I'm surprised it didn't eat her head. Frankly, I thought Hodiak was quite good as the charmer. With his dark good looks, I can see women falling for him at first glance. More importantly, he plays the ruthless schemer in aptly subtle fashion. Too bad the actor died young (41). Anyway, I wish the screenplay had been either trimmed or fleshed out with less redundancy. Still, there are compensations.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While this story came out long before,the stage play "Angel Street"' filmed as "Gaslight", it is not nearly as well known. A 1937 version introduced the world to this very familiar melodramatic plot, while this version, made 10 years later perhaps seemed old hat by the time it was made. Yet, with Gainsborough making a series of period melodramas, it seemed perfectly natural for this story to be re-told.

    Sylvia Sidney takes over the heroine role, and is perhaps a bit mature for the naive woman who falls pretentious to a psychopathic stranger whom she rents a room to after winning a lottery. Turning down a marriage proposal from a worthy suitor. John Hodiak is all good looks and charm as the newcomer who gets instant distrust from the people in Sylvia's life but gets her to marry him regardless. It is then that his initial charm begins to be replaced by bizarre behavior, and it appears to be too late as her suspicions grow.

    Fine period detail helps a familiar story move along with decent performances that don't bring on any surprises but are well planned none the less. With American leads and British supporting players, casting choices seem odd, but their sincerity ultimately makes it work. Suspense grows as the danger becomes more real, resulting in an acceptable thriller that keeps your attention.