The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 163 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

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.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Jack Conway
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou
Lured (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. ... See full summary »

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: George Sanders, Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young woman at a girl's school in Switzerland makes up stories about and writes herself letters from an imaginary explorer-adventurer father; and is eventually put in a position where she... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, Gail Patrick
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster, but Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Paul Cavanagh
Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Charlie Chan investigates apparent poisonings at a mystery mansion in the Mojave Desert.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Arleen Whelan, Richard Derr
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A naive girl just out of a cloistered orphanage finds that being a 'good fairy' to strangers makes life awfully complicated.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, Herbert Marshall, Frank Morgan
Film-Noir | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A veteran homicide detective who has witnessed his socialite girlfriend kill her husband sees his inexperienced brother assigned to the case.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Lee J. Cobb, Jane Wyatt, John Dall
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Professor Horatio Smith, while seeming very unassuming, rescues victims of Nazi persecution during World War II.

Director: Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, Francis L. Sullivan, Allan Jeayes
Doomed Cargo (1936)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

US private eye sorts out European crime wave. With female sidekick in tow, wisecracking private eye follows a trail of corpses around Europe, shaking up a sinister criminal network which ... See full summary »

Director: Albert de Courville
Stars: Edmund Lowe, Constance Cummings, Thomy Bourdelle
Dark Journey (1937)
Adventure | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During World War I, a German spy and a French spy meet and fall in love.

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Vivien Leigh, Joan Gardner


Cast overview:
René Ray ...
Stasia (as Rene Ray)
Frank Cellier ...
John Turnbull ...
Major Tomkin
Cathleen Nesbitt ...
Mrs. Tomkin (as Catherine Nesbitt)
Ronald Ward ...
Chris Penny
Beatrix Lehmann ...
Miss Kite
Jack Livesey ...
Mr. Larkcom
Mrs. de Hooley
Mary Clare ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hyvä ihminen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Unique story of a mysterious stranger and a lonely girl
3 June 2012 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

René Ray is wonderful as Stasia, servant girl at a London boarding house occupied by a nasty landlady and a wicked bunch of boarders. Stasia was hired on the cheap from a reformatory and receives nothing but scorn and cruelty from the boarders. She longs for escape, or at least a bit of kindness: "If only there was one decent person…." Pushed to her limit, Stasia heads for the door, where—

Conrad Veidt walks in and immediately the girl senses something different in him. It's a beautiful, surprising scene: She is suddenly smiling.

Veidt is a very polite, extremely soft-spoken and apparently nameless stranger. He leases a tiny third floor apartment in the house and quickly and quietly changes the atmosphere, the relationships, the attitudes of the other boarders.

Among the group, Beatrix Lehmann stands out as Miss Kite, a not-so-old spinster who is bitter that time is passing her by—and in whom the spark of energy and love of life is perhaps re-lit. Anna Lee gives a strong performance as the beautiful young woman who is her impoverished parents' only valuable possession. Must she marry the wealthy Mr. Wright, thus solving their financial problems? It's a heartbreaking dilemma; Lee makes it seem real.

Frank Cellier is the slimy Mr. Wright, a businessman whose success is achieved through laying others low. Alone among the boarders, Mr. Wright is not affected by the stranger's mysterious presence. The action will eventually build toward a showdown of sorts…but not one in any way conventional or expected.

Although most of the action takes place in the boarding house, a joyous sequence in the film's midsection shows the group taking a boat trip down the Thames. The characters loosen up, find enjoyment, begin friendships. The wonder in Stasia's face when the boat goes under the Tower Bridge as it opens for them! It's a glorious moment.

Conrad Veidt is mesmerizing and intense; René Ray is full of fear and joy and excitement. Their scenes together are quite wonderful.

It's an oddball movie, not particularly easy to watch; it looks evil and human weakness pretty directly in the face. But it's also positively moving—it's certainly left me thinking and wondering what it's all about.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The passing of the third floor back david-2594

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: