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Not as a Stranger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not as a Stranger
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStanley Kramer
Screenplay byEdna Anhalt
Edward Anhalt
Based onnovel by
Morton Thompson
Produced byStanley Kramer
StarringOlivia de Havilland
Robert Mitchum
Frank Sinatra
CinematographyFranz Planer
Edited byFrederic Knudtson
Music byGeorge Antheil
Color processBlack and white
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • June 28, 1955 (1955-06-28)
Running time
135 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.5 million[1]
Box office$6.2 million (US and Canada rentals)[2]

Not as a Stranger is a 1955 American film noir drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer,[3] starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra. It is based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Morton Thompson,[4] which topped that year's list of bestselling novels in the United States.


Lucas Marsh is a brilliant and dedicated medical student who has aspired to be a doctor since childhood. His mother is dead and he is estranged from his alcoholic father, who has squandered the family's money, leaving Lucas unable to pay for medical school. In order to get the needed tuition money, Lucas marries older nurse Kristina "Kris" Hedvigson, who has substantial savings. Although Kris loves Lucas and helps him in a variety of ways, he is indifferent toward her and considers her "stupid" although she is an excellent nurse. Lucas cares only about his medical work and frequently clashes with other doctors whom he considers incompetent, including his wealthy best friend Alfred Boone. Kris, Alfred and Lucas' mentor Dr. Aarons try to humanize him and teach him that all doctors sometimes make mistakes.

Lucas looks down on doctors who focus on making money, and after completing his internship, he accepts a position working with Dr. Dave Runkleman in his busy practice in rural Greenville, where many patients lack the money to pay. Runkleman, who has a life-threatening heart condition, hired Lucas to help with the workload and perhaps take over the practice. Overworked and frustrated with the incompetent head of the local hospital, Lucas has an affair with rich widow Harriet Lang, causing Kris, who is secretly pregnant, to finally leave him. When Runkleman's heart condition flares up, Lucas performs surgery to save his life, but makes a mistake during the surgery and Runkleman dies. Struggling to cope with his failure, Lucas begs Kris to help him, and the two reconcile.



In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther panned the film, including Kramer's directing and Mitchum's acting: "The delineator of this exegesis is a stolid young medical man whose personality and fierce determination should make a feature-length study in themselves. And the fact that Mr. Kramer has not managed to force a clear understanding of his man is quite as much a shortcoming of the picture as is the flat performance of Robert Mitchum in the role. ... With so much dissecting in his picture—and so much of it being good—it is too bad that Mr. Kramer couldn't have done a little on his characters."[5]

The Citizen-News praised the film's authenticity: "There is a fine ring of authenticity to every scene involving the story's medical aspects, and the fast 'shock' clip showing the beating heart of a patient takes you, scalpel in hand, into the surgical center of the hospital." However, the paper's review was critical of the acting and casting: "... Bickford's acting was the one bright spot in a set of standard performances. ... [T]he principal roles were miscast, with the exception of Bickford and Miss Graham."[6]

The Los Angeles Times described the film's premiere at the Stanley-Warner Beverly Hills Theatre as "... truly festive ... with an especially large street crowd, and a mood of celebration that was all prevailing." The newspaper's critic Edwin Schallert praised the film, calling it "... one of the strongest dramatic pictures exhibited to the public thus far this year."[7]


Not as a Stranger earned a worldwide distribution gross of over $8 million, and a profit of $1.8 million.[1] It was United Artists' highest-grossing film at the time.[8]

The film was released on Blu-ray disc by Kino Lorber in 2018.[9]


Not as a Stranger was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording (Watson Jones).[10] Frank Sinatra was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor, and Charles Bickford won the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actor.

See also


  1. ^ a b Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 101
  2. ^ Cohn, Lawrence (October 15, 1990). "All-Time Film Rental Champs". Variety. p. M176.
  3. ^ "Not as a Stranger". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Thompson, Morton (1976). Not As a Stranger (1954 Reissue ed.). Cutchogue, New York: Buccaneer Books Inc. ISBN 978-1568491189.
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1955-06-29). "Screen: 'Not As a Stranger' at Capitol". The New York Times. p. 24.
  6. ^ L.E.R. (1955-06-30). "Premiere Audience Sees Best-Seller Picturized". Citizen-News. North Hollywood, California. p. 16.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin (1955-06-30). "'NOT AS A STRANGER' GAINS GREAT APPROVAL FOR DRAMA". Los Angeles Times. p. 7 (Part II).
  8. ^ Arneel, Gene (January 25, 1956). "America's 107 Million-$ Films". Variety. p. 1. Retrieved July 20, 2019 – via
  9. ^ Not as a Stranger Blu-ray, retrieved 2021-11-11
  10. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-21.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 November 2021, at 17:37
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