In his latest release, J. Arthur Rank has chosen a murderer and a little boy as the core of a touching melodrama with such a combination, the plot can easily decline into a painful concentration on psychological torture and an overly sentimental treatment of the child. The director, however, consciously avoided these pitfalls almost to the extent of robbing the film of speed and realistic emotion. Most of the time, the man and boy are escaping through tortuous fields and swamps, continuously avoided shepherds, bicyclers, and campers. The boy, Jon Whitely, fortunately saves this scene from being exasperating and boring. He doesn't say much; three-quarters of his script is "I'm hungry." His expressive face and unaffected actions, furthermore, place him high among adolescent talent.
Accidentally meeting the boy Dirk Bogade, the killer, is frenzied and rough. Finding him company, however, Bogade becomes a father to him, later giving himself up when the child becomes ill. This growing friendship forms the principal, and most interesting part of the movie. The meeting with his adulterous wife and a chase without gunshots are genuinely exciting and well photographed. But one can readily see the exploited limitations of this familiar British cinema plot, although Rank has exploited it with greater restraint and better actors than other producers.
Three short features playing with Stranger In Between make this bill more enjoyable. Walt Disney's "live" nature cartoon, The Olympic Elk offers beautiful scenery, a ferocious fight between bulls, and playful antics among does during mating season. U. S. Olympic stars appear in a short documentary and for those who wish to see Gerald McBoing-Boing once more, don't hesitate.