I See A Dark Stranger


1h 52m 1946
I See A Dark Stranger

Brief Synopsis

An Irish woman who hates the English turns Nazi spy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adventuress
Genre
Drama
Thriller
War
Release Date
1946

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Determined, independent Bridie Quilty comes of age in 1944 Ireland thinking all Englishmen are devils. Her desire to join the IRA meets no encouragement, but a German spy finds her easy to recruit. We next find her working in a pub near a British military prison, using her sex appeal in the service of the enemy. But chance puts a really vital secret into her hands, leading to a chase involving Bridie, a British officer who's fallen for her, a German agent unknown to them both, and the police...paralleled by Bridie's own internal conflicts.

Film Details

Also Known As
Adventuress
Genre
Drama
Thriller
War
Release Date
1946

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

I See a Dark Stranger aka The Adventuress


Bridie Quilty (Deborah Kerr) has been raised on her Irish father's fire and brimstone speeches about the malfeasance of the British. So in 1944 when she reaches 21, the naive but spunky Bridie leaves her Southern Ireland town of Ballygarry and is off to Dublin to launch her own campaign to drive every last Brit from her homeland by joining the IRA. She begins by defacing a statue of British military leader Oliver Cromwell, but finds little receptivity to the Irish cause in Dublin. While working as a barmaid in a pub, however, Birdie finds German spy J. Miller (Raymond Huntley) very receptive to her anti-British sentiment. Miller is willing to use her as a pawn to help spring a Nazi spy from a British prison. Poor Bridie becomes embroiled in a nasty espionage plot, but is helped to extricate herself by a love struck British intelligence officer Lt. David Baynes (Trevor Howard) who recognizes just what a lamb amidst wolves Bridie is and intervenes before she can reveal the details of the D-Day landings.

I See a Dark Stranger (1946) is a unique combination of thrills and farcical comedy that was, no doubt, meant to temper any anti-British sentiment. The filmmakers elicit significant dramatic tension from the tightening noose around Bridie's neck, but also glean laughs from the various oddball types the Irish lass encounters on her travels including the two bumbling, incompetent policemen poorly defending the homeland -Captain Goodhusband (Garry Marsh) and Lieutenant Spanswick (Tom Macaulay). The film moves between the murky shadows and psychological darkness of film noir, especially when Bridie attempts to dispose of a fellow spy's body, and the wry humor of the Ealing Studios comedies (Katie Johnson, star of the 1955 Ealing Studios comedy classic The Ladykillers (1955), even appears briefly in the film).
< br> I See a Dark Stranger was shot in Ireland, around Wexford following World War II as the country was still recuperating from the deprivations of war time. But in Ireland, the cast and crew found unlimited amounts of Irish whisky and unrationed clothing. In Vivienne Knight's Trevor Howard: A Gentleman and a Player the author recounts how Howard managed to pass through customs despite being loaded down with contraband. Released in America as The Adventuress, the film was never a box office sensation though it was well received by critics. Knight notes that New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called it "keenly sensitive and shrewd."

I See a Dark Stranger was the first release of the Individual Pictures company, formed in 1945 by playwright-turned-screenwriter Frank Launder and assistant director-turned-screenwriter Sidney Gilliat, the writing team behind Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938), which boasts a similarly dark comic tone. The pair decided to take turns as director on Individual Pictures projects, with Launder directing this first go-around.

Though only 24 when she made I See a Dark Stranger, the film was Kerr's fifth feature film and it earned her, along with Black Narcissus (1947) a New York Film Critics Award.

Director: Frank Launder
Producer: Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat
Screenplay: Sidney Gilliat and Wolfgang Wilhelm from story by Frank Launder
Cinematography: Wilkie Cooper
Production Design: Norman G. Arnold
Music: William Alwyn
Cast: Deborah Kerr (Bridie Quilty), Trevor Howard (Lt. David Baynes), Raymond Huntley (J. Miller), Michael Howard (Hawkins), Liam Redmond (Uncle Timothy), Brefni O'Rorke (Michael O'Callaghan).
BW-112m.

by Felicia Feaster
I See A Dark Stranger Aka The Adventuress

I See a Dark Stranger aka The Adventuress

Bridie Quilty (Deborah Kerr) has been raised on her Irish father's fire and brimstone speeches about the malfeasance of the British. So in 1944 when she reaches 21, the naive but spunky Bridie leaves her Southern Ireland town of Ballygarry and is off to Dublin to launch her own campaign to drive every last Brit from her homeland by joining the IRA. She begins by defacing a statue of British military leader Oliver Cromwell, but finds little receptivity to the Irish cause in Dublin. While working as a barmaid in a pub, however, Birdie finds German spy J. Miller (Raymond Huntley) very receptive to her anti-British sentiment. Miller is willing to use her as a pawn to help spring a Nazi spy from a British prison. Poor Bridie becomes embroiled in a nasty espionage plot, but is helped to extricate herself by a love struck British intelligence officer Lt. David Baynes (Trevor Howard) who recognizes just what a lamb amidst wolves Bridie is and intervenes before she can reveal the details of the D-Day landings. I See a Dark Stranger (1946) is a unique combination of thrills and farcical comedy that was, no doubt, meant to temper any anti-British sentiment. The filmmakers elicit significant dramatic tension from the tightening noose around Bridie's neck, but also glean laughs from the various oddball types the Irish lass encounters on her travels including the two bumbling, incompetent policemen poorly defending the homeland -Captain Goodhusband (Garry Marsh) and Lieutenant Spanswick (Tom Macaulay). The film moves between the murky shadows and psychological darkness of film noir, especially when Bridie attempts to dispose of a fellow spy's body, and the wry humor of the Ealing Studios comedies (Katie Johnson, star of the 1955 Ealing Studios comedy classic The Ladykillers (1955), even appears briefly in the film).< br> I See a Dark Stranger was shot in Ireland, around Wexford following World War II as the country was still recuperating from the deprivations of war time. But in Ireland, the cast and crew found unlimited amounts of Irish whisky and unrationed clothing. In Vivienne Knight's Trevor Howard: A Gentleman and a Player the author recounts how Howard managed to pass through customs despite being loaded down with contraband. Released in America as The Adventuress, the film was never a box office sensation though it was well received by critics. Knight notes that New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called it "keenly sensitive and shrewd." I See a Dark Stranger was the first release of the Individual Pictures company, formed in 1945 by playwright-turned-screenwriter Frank Launder and assistant director-turned-screenwriter Sidney Gilliat, the writing team behind Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938), which boasts a similarly dark comic tone. The pair decided to take turns as director on Individual Pictures projects, with Launder directing this first go-around. Though only 24 when she made I See a Dark Stranger, the film was Kerr's fifth feature film and it earned her, along with Black Narcissus (1947) a New York Film Critics Award. Director: Frank Launder Producer: Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat Screenplay: Sidney Gilliat and Wolfgang Wilhelm from story by Frank Launder Cinematography: Wilkie Cooper Production Design: Norman G. Arnold Music: William Alwyn Cast: Deborah Kerr (Bridie Quilty), Trevor Howard (Lt. David Baynes), Raymond Huntley (J. Miller), Michael Howard (Hawkins), Liam Redmond (Uncle Timothy), Brefni O'Rorke (Michael O'Callaghan). BW-112m. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

You should visit England one day. You may change your mind.
- J. Miller
There's no need. I've an aunt there who has told me all about it. She says the upper classes are cringing and always moaning about their troubles, and the lower classes are arrogant and think they own the Earth.
- Bridie Quilty
I thought it was the other way round.
- J. Miller
My aunt runs a servants' registry office.
- Bridie Quilty
Ah!
- J. Miller
I'm 21; I'm me own mistress.
- Bridie Quilty
That's an occupation that could change hands overnight.
- Woman
You've got your papers for England, I take it?
- Man in Bookshop
Yes, I've an Argentine passport. I'm going to Britain to buy bulls, apparently. I could have thought of happier excuses; I don't like bulls.
- J. Miller
Bulls will be the easiest part of your business. Did you ever meet Oscar Pryce?
- Man in Bookshop
Yes, in Leipzig last autumn.
- J. Miller
Did you know that he was in England?
- Man in Bookshop
We don't get many young people here these days. They, they seem to prefer the pictures. Old Tim Kelly there, he, he was a great one for the pictures, until they started talking. So now he comes here for his nap.
- Usher
His hair is going grey, but it looks very nice the way he has it brushed. He's a faraway look in his eyes... a poet maybe. No, he's much too clean. And he puts his trousers under the mattress like Terence Delaney. Hasn't he the lovely nails? He's a gentleman, I think. I don't like being alone with a strange man at this time of night. He doesn't look that sort of man, of course, but how can you tell? Mr. McGee didn't look that sort of man, and Mr. Clogherty... was a terrible shock to me. Hmm, he's a traveller from abroad. Miller, Miller, that can't be an Irish name... he's English! Of all of the compartments of this train, I have to get into one with an Englishman. Why, I might have known it! Will you look at him, will you look at the cruel set of his jaw! You could mistake him for Cromwell!
- Bridie Quilty

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1946

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States 1946

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival (Pre-Millenial Tension) September 26 - October 12, 1997.)

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival (Pre-Millenial Tension) September 26 - October 12, 1997.