*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Love from a Stranger" (1947) is a modest Gothic noir. It is a familiar story that just about manages to hold its own. There really is no mystery to it, as we know early on that the man (John Hodiak) romancing Sylvia Sidney is deceiving her and intends to do away with her for her money. We watch this more to see the details of how this unfolds, how Hodiak will be found out and how he shall receive his comeuppance. On these counts, the movie is not bad in countering its familiarity. Hodiak is an effective manipulator whose temper only occasionally flares when his plans are threatened. Scenes of him in the cellar of their secluded cottage are menacing. He's much of the show really. Sidney's attraction to him is believable as is her transition to discovering his true nature. She's quite strong in the part. The film does suffer, however, from a lack of directing flair from Richard Whorf. There is an occasional shot of the surf crashing against rocks in the same way that it crashes against the seawall in Whorf's native Winthrop, Mass. There are some good glimpses of Hodiak, but much of the rest involving the supporting cast seems mundane.
I felt the film was worthwhile and not a waste of time, chiefly because of good Victorian atmosphere and the acting of its two leads. The pacing and details of the story development were good too. We do not have here anything as intense as either version of "Gaslight" though.