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The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)

The tenants of an old boarding house are terrorized by an evil slumlord. One day a strange man arrives at the house and begins to help them with their problems.



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Cast overview:
Rene Ray ...
Frank Cellier ...
Major Tomkin
Mrs. Tomkin (as Catherine Nesbitt)
Chris Penny
Miss Kite
Mr. Larkcom
Mrs. de Hooley
Mrs. Sharpe
Barbara Everest ...
Alexander Sarner ...
The Gramophone Man


In a London boarding house, a number of lives exist precariously on the edge of disaster or despair. Stasia, the housemaid, hungers for happiness but is treated like a drudge and constantly threatened with a return to the punishments of her youth. Vivian, a beautiful young girl, loves the architect Chris, but must marry the repugnant Mr. Wright in order to erase her parents' debts. Miss Kite derides all around her out of fear of aging and loss of beauty, while her friend Mr. Larkcom sells mediocre phonograph records though he'd secretly love to be a concert pianist. Into the lives of these and other unhappy residents comes a mysterious stranger, under whose influence they each begin to see the possibility of happiness. But the cynical Mr. Wright prefers to see them in misery and plots to thwart the angelic stranger who lives in the back room of the third floor. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

15 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hyvä ihminen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Remake of The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1918) See more »


Funeral March
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Arranged by Hubert Bath
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User Reviews

J B Priestley Type Plot
8 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

I commend the previous comments by users and have added to most an accolade showing I found them useful.As the first comment in particular on IMDb.com is so complete regarding the plot, I will not dwell further on it, however I should like to add my personal comment.

The pianist tenant at the boarding house was heard to play Franz Schubert's Impromptu #3 followed by the first movement (adagio sostenuto) of Beethoven's acclaimed "Moonlight Sonata".I was surprised by his "jazzed-up" version of the Schubert piece in front of the good spirit/angel played by Conrad Veidt.I found the plot of the phantom stranger arriving at the boarding house slightly reminiscent of J.B.Priestley's "An Inspector Calls" when the phantom inspector suddenly arrives at the family home.Renee Ray who plays Stasia the put- upon servant girl also played a beauty queen contestant in "Bank Holiday" (1938).Here she enjoys another Bank holiday but through careless exuberance nearly drowns herself during the Thames boat ride.Jerome K Jerome certainly had a love affair with boats!I thought at first Frank Cellier (Mr Wright) was playing the Devil to Conrad Veidt's Stranger as they seemed to instinctively know each others true characters.

There are many well known actors playing support roles in this film, e.g. the Irish Sara Algood who went on to carve out a career in Hollywood.Mary Clare plays the landlady of the boarding house has to interact with all her tenant characters.She played a similar role in "A Girl Must Live"(1939).Anna Lee who played the attractive blond daughter of a couple ready to pawn her to Mr Wright for financial gain, in some lights reminded me of the beautiful Madeleine Carroll.

A film exploring the moral forces of human frailty, greed, hope, forgiveness & redemption and can be viewed in its' entirety on www.youtube.com as it is in the public domain.I awarded this rare film 8/10.

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