I'm A Stranger

I'm A Stranger film poster


Morrissey highlights this film in Autobiography:

"Watch Charles Lloyd Pack in I’m a Stranger (1952) as Mr Cringle – who talks in order to rescue every moment from utterly sterile boredom. Without any effort whatsoever he is magnificent, and he knows his worth as a cast of confused spectators surround him (and surround him they do) in every scene. As with de Paris, it is only a matter of time waiting for Mr Cringle’s comeuppance, because that’s how society wobbles along – knocking whoever speaks up on the head.

GEORGE WESTCOTT: ... he is a police officer!
MR CRINGLE: [bored ] ... yes ... it leaps to the eye.

Mr Cringle is a solicitor wrapped in folds of heavy tweed, of funny spectacles, a persistently offending theorist. The dominant in his life is the essayist poetry of each uttered reply. He will not allow himself to be overlooked, and he understands the value of effect more than anyone else. He is, of course, Oscar Tame, living on a planet unworthy of himself, yet rapidly game for a laugh. Everything he says might sound like grammatical malice, but he certainly has a heart even if there is rarely cause for it to be used. He only hurts people’s feelings by being persistently right. Around him, the cast of James Hayter, Patric Doonan and Greta Gynt are frozen in dullness each time Mr Cringle speaks – which is often. Each scene gives center stage to Mr Cringle – mainly because he is interesting, but mostly because he says things that the other characters do not expect to hear. The smile is used to emphasize the most unpopular part of his commentary – almost as if waiting for a punch in the face. The pleasure of I’m a Stranger is the intensity of Mr Cringle’s brilliance, because he certainly knows better, and he can rest forever on whatever it is he has just said. Others may have good looks and sexual success, but Mr Cringle’s weapon of words carries enough punch to alter the texture of every life around him, partly because, as a fanatic of himself, he has suffered enough to know better. Absurdly miscast, Patric Doonan has supposedly just landed from his home in Calcutta, ‘I’m a stranger here,’ he says, ‘I don’t really understand the ways of this country,’ and he delivers these lines in a very precise British accent that is eight parts Notting Hill and two parts Derbyshire. He has landed in London to claim his inheritance now that an unknown uncle has usefully expired. ‘You know how it is with elderly bachelors,’ smiles Mr Cringle, ‘they distribute their wealth between duty and conscience – a passport to a better world no doubt.’ The careful monotony of Inspector Craddock (whom Mr Cringle naturally refers to as Inspector Haddock – if only to be annoying) is, as with all on-screen police figures, utterly insensible, flickering constantly with inefficiency. ‘I’m anxious not to take you out of your depth,’ Mr Cringle slyly smiles at Inspector Craddock, adding, ‘Suspicion is one thing, proof another.’ But we all know the rules of the game, and by the final act of I’m a Stranger Mr Cringle is suddenly and inexplicably confused and burned out, as Inspector Craddock – after ninety minutes of inaction – is allowed to win the argument. Whereas Mr Cringle need only be heard for an audience to be held, the sterile and stupid Inspector Craddock takes the curtain bow because he is the dominant spirit of dull human existence as he moves across the screen like a carpenter in search of a piece of wood."

Wikipedia Information


I'm a Stranger is a 1952 British comedy film directed by Brock Williams and starring Greta Gynt, James Hayter and Hector Ross. In the film, various different parties search for a missing will which leaves a fortune to a stranger from Calcutta.