Talk About a Stranger

Watch Talk About a Stranger

  • Passed
  • 1952
  • 1 hr 5 min
  • 6.2  (727)

In the 1952 suspense thriller, "Talk About a Stranger," George Murphy stars as Pete Sandidge, a small-town newspaper editor who becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery. When a young boy named Arnold (Billy Gray) goes missing, suspicions begin to swirl around a newcomer to the town, a wealthy businessman named John Joseph Mantee (Kurt Kasznar). Mantee is a reclusive figure with a shady past, and his interactions with Arnold have raised the ire of some of the townspeople.

As Pete investigates the case, he finds himself drawn into a web of deceit and danger. His wife, Jean (Nancy Reagan), is initially skeptical of his involvement, but as the stakes become higher and more lives are put in danger, she becomes an unlikely ally in the fight to solve the mystery.

With its small-town setting and cast of eclectic characters, "Talk About a Stranger" is a classic example of the suspense thriller genre of the 1950s. The film captures the post-war fears and anxieties of a nation grappling with Cold War tensions and the specter of Communist infiltration. As the mystery deepens and the tension escalates, the film ratchets up the suspense, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats until the final reveal.

Murphy delivers a solid performance as the savvy newspaper man who must balance his journalistic duties with his concern for the safety of the townspeople. He brings a rugged, everyman charm to the role, making it easy for viewers to root for him as he battles against the forces of darkness. Reagan, in one of her earliest film roles, displays plenty of poise and grace as Jean, providing a welcome counterbalance to Murphy's more hard-edged persona.

But it is Gray who steals the show as Arnold. The young actor, who would go on to find fame as one of the stars of the popular 1950s sitcom "Father Knows Best," imbues the character with a mix of vulnerability and toughness that makes him an endearing and compelling figure. Gray's scenes with Murphy are particularly effective, showcasing the bond that can form between two people who are united in the face of danger.

Director David Bradley, who also wrote the screenplay, maintains a steady hand throughout, keeping the pacing tight and the twists and turns coming at a regular clip. The film is shot in a noirish style, with moody, atmospheric lighting and plenty of shadows, adding to the sense of unease that pervades the story.

One of the film's most notable aspects is its exploration of the dangers of mob mentality. As tensions mount and suspicions grow, the townspeople become increasingly fearful and paranoid. The film portrays this phenomenon with nuance and sensitivity, showing how easily prejudice and mistrust can take hold, even in a close-knit community.

Ultimately, "Talk About a Stranger" is a classic slice of 1950s suspense, a gripping mystery that keeps viewers guessing until the very end. With its strong performances, moody visuals, and thoughtful exploration of contemporary themes, it remains a standout of the genre, and a reminder of the enduring power of classic Hollywood cinema.

Talk About a Stranger
Talk About a Stranger doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 5 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (727)