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The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)

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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

Cast overview:
...
René Ray ...
Stasia (as Rene Ray)
Frank Cellier ...
Wright
...
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 ...
Cook
Alexander Sarner ...
The Gramophone Man
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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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?

Connections

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

Soundtracks

I Love You Truly
(uncredited)
Written by Carrie Jacobs Bond
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User Reviews

 
A brilliant portrayal, a neglected film.
4 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a really interesting film, based on a Victorian play by Jerome K. Jerome, famous for his humorous Three Man in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) ca 1890.

Its director, Viertel, had left Germany for England, where he made several films. The Stranger is played by Conrad Veidt, famous for his roles in Dr. Caligari, and Casablanca. It is an allegory of the struggle between good and evil. I especially enjoyed the performances of Conrad Veidt and Mary Clare, and it amused me to note that the builder, Mr. Wright, also appears in The 39 Steps as the Sheriff.

It is not an easy film to find, but I think it is one of my favourite British films of the 30's, except for Hitchcock. Even so, I think's it better than some of his minor works, like Rich and Strange. It may be one of Veidt's best portrayals, which says a lot, especially if you are familiar with his work in The Thief of Bagdad, The Spy in Black and Casablanca.


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