While undercut by his intent to show studio execs his ability to keep budgets under control above all else, Orson Welles‘ 1946 thriller “The Stranger” remains quite a taut and entertaining genre entry. Starring Welles himself alongside Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young, at no point does the film reach the heights of other works like “Touch of Evil” (which DP Russell Metty also shot), instead going for a more staid brand of Wellesian tomfoolery, but now it’s been revealed that another genre director will attempt his own route with an update of the material.
Jack and Joseph Nasser‘s company NGN Releasing have announced a remake of the Welles-directed flick, and have brought on a well-versed champion of the genre, Joseph Ruben (“Sleeping With The Enemy”) to helm it as well. Screenwriter Alanna Belak wrote the script for the new offering, which will retain the original film’s central narrative — itself a reworking of Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” — which surrounds a reformed serial killer turned small-town history teacher tempted back into darkness by his former partner.
Ruben has been somewhat silent on the directorial front lately, one would think largely due to the critical and financial failure of his 2004 conspiracy mystery, “The Forgotten,” but the dual combination of his recently-wrapped indie, “Penthouse North,” combined with this remake, proves for him a major resurgence. It remains to be seen how many elements of the original will change for Ruben’s modern take — besides the Nazi-involved plot which seems an obvious alteration — but as the remake enters pre-production while we speak, let’s hope he finds a more satisfying process than Welles did with his publicly-disowned version. Curious about the original? Watch it in full below. [THR]