Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The official credits for the Italian-made Stranger on the Prowl read: "written and directed by Andrea Forzano." In truth, Andrea Forzano was two people: screenwriter Ben Barzman and director Joseph Losey, both of whom had been blacklisted by Hollywood and were forced to work under pseudonyms. Essentially a two-person character study, the film stars Paul Muni as a down-and-out crook on the lam. Muni befriends a young street urchin (Vittorio Mazzunchelli, billed as "Manunta" in many prints) in an Italian port city. At first amused that the boy is a sneak thief, Muni tries to deflects the kid from a life of crime. Tipped off by a woman anxious to collect the reward for Muni (who is wanted for murder), the police pursue the two lost souls. Muni sees to it that the boy manages to escape, but is himself gunned down. A weak-tea imitation of the Italian neorealist movement, Stranger on the Prowl was cut by 18 minutes for its English-language release (in Britain it was titled Encounter). The full, original 100-minute Italian version, released in 1951, was known as Imbarco a Mezzanote.
Italy, street-kid, thief, friendship, fugitive, accident, chase, on-the-run, police