6.9/10
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68 user 35 critic

Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 16 August 1940 (USA)
An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John McGuire ...
Margaret Tallichet ...
Jane
Charles Waldron ...
District Attorney
...
Joe Briggs
...
Albert Meng
...
Mrs. Kane, Michael's Landlady
Cliff Clark ...
Martin
Oscar O'Shea ...
The Judge
Alec Craig ...
Briggs' Defense Attorney
Otto Hoffman ...
Charles Evans, the Police Surgeon
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Storyline

Rising reporter Michael Ward is a key witness in the murder trial of young Joe Briggs, who is convicted on circumstantial evidence while swearing innocence. Mike's girl Jane believes in Joe and blames Mike, who (in a remarkable sequence) dreams he is himself convicted of murdering his nosy neighbor. Will his dream come true before Jane can find the real murderer? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El desconegut del tercer pis  »

Box Office

Budget:

$171,200 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the three film generally rolled around by film historians as the 'first Film Noir,' M, Stranger on the Third Floor and The Maltese Falcon, Peter Lorre stars in all three. See more »

Goofs

on the rainy night when Ward and Jane for the first time go to the room he's renting we may notice different water stains on his coat in consequent shots. The left sleeve is dry before they enter the room, once they get inside coat's sleeves are wet. See more »

Quotes

Martin: [Referring to Joe Briggs' attorney] I wouldn't let him defend me if it was for stealing an apple.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Hardly a starring role for Peter Lorre but....
30 June 2003 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

An interesting film noir with Peter Lorre in more of a cameo as the mysterious villain than a starring role. He appears briefly, lurking darkly as he attempts to avoid a confrontation with the hero, not saying a word until the final ten minutes of the film. With a fairly nondescript cast, Lorre received top billing for what must have been a fairly easy few days' work. The film runs for just 64 minutes and is not unlike one of the Hitchcock tele plays in prime-time television in the 50s. Boris Ingster includes some creative moments with the dream scenes impressive. I particularly liked the angular images of the prison bars with the gruesome shadow of the electric chair. The ending is a little glib for my liking and the plot fits into place just a little too easily resulting in a fairly banal ending to what could have been a more complex psychological thriller - I thought for a while the hero had actually committed the two murders and that may have been a more interesting development than the more obvious ending. This film was shown on ABC television as part of a series of Film Noir and I was impressed with the superb quality of the print. 2 stars out of 5.


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