A moderately entertaining mystery flick (the story of which was better served when it was originally filmed in 1937), Love from a Stranger is an adequate but unexciting way to spend an hour and a half or so. Stranger wants to be a clever thriller, and it starts out well. Unfortunately, about halfway through it becomes rather obvious, and so the necessary suspense is simply lacking. Blame both director Richard Whorf and scenarist Philip MacDonald for this; the former's work is simply too pedestrian and the latter's simply too mechanical. Fortunately, Tony Gaudio's camerawork adds some polish and atmosphere, and Hans Salter's score is appropriately moody and evocative. Stranger also benefits from a fine performance from Sylvia Sidney, who makes the most of the material and helps the film over some of its bumpy spots. For his part, John Hodiak never finds the right tone. When he's trying to underplay, he bores; when he tries for menace, he goes much too far. The supporting cast is good, and the basic story keeps the viewer's attention, but Stranger as a whole is only mediocre.
by Craig Butler review