What should one watch if they want to know about Nuremberg? Which films best capture the essence of the tribunal? We continue with our series of recommendations from famed film aficionado Lydia Maslova, who has collected a unique list to accompany the "Nuremberg: Casus Pacis" project.
"The Stranger" (1946, USA)
Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles
The first film noir directed by Orson Welles, who himself plays a fugitive Nazi criminal. He appears to be a charming schoolteacher in a small Connecticut town who just married the chief justice's daughter, and who is madly in love with him.
But behind this cute facade, there is a "young protégé" of the Nazi Party, who was involved in the development of the theory of genocide in the occupied countries – according to him, whoever won the war, Germany would still remain the strongest nation in Western Europe from a biological point of view. When a war crimes commissioner picks up his tracks, he has to take the most brutal measures to cover it up and eliminate witnesses.
Film scholars don't usually include "The Stranger" in the list of Welles' best movies, but in fact, the film is much deeper than it may seem at first glance: behind the veil of traditional film noir, the director explores the eternal theme of the attraction of evil and the psychology of the fascist executioner, whose conscience is useless to appeal to: he will never plead guilty, the same as many other Nazi criminals who lived a long and prosperous life without the slightest spiritual discomfort.