Wessex On Screen: I See A Dark Stranger

I See A Dark Stranger, retitled The Adventuress in the US, was a spy thriller starring Deborah Kerr, made during World War 2, but not released until 1946.An epilogue was thus added, showing what happened to the main characters after the war. It is partially set in Devon, but the Devon scenes were actually shot in Somerset.

Kerr plays Bridie Quilty, a spirited Irishwoman who tries to join the IRA but is rejected, leading to her being recruited as a Nazi spy. It is likely that this was designed for propaganda purposes, to try to bring Ireland over to the Allied side by equating their neutrality with support for Germany.

The film was produced by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat for their company Individual Pictures, and directed by Launder. It was to have featured a cameo appearance by the characters Charters and Caldicott from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes (written by Launder and Gilliat), but the actors Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne asked for more screen time, and so the characters were replaced by a pair of suspiciously similar substitutes.

Kerr was awarded a Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle for her performances in both this film and Black Narcissus.

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