A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Peter Lorre owed RKO two days on his contract and was given this role with few scenes and few lines, but received top billing. See more »
When Ward rushes out of his apartment to phone Jane, he is not wearing a tie. But when he picks up the phone,he is. See more »
[Referrig to Meng]
Did you ever want to kill a man?
My son, there's murder in every intelligent man's heart.
He's no man. He's a worm - the kind you ought to jump on with heavy boots.
You'll have to do an awful lot of jumping. The earth is covered with them.
It'd be a real pleasure to cut his throat!
[Noticing his dinner knife]
Hey, you're not kidding. Put down that knife!
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The Stranger On the Third Floor may be the first film noir. It's certainly one of the earliest American pictures that can be defined as such. The story revolves around a young reporter who is responsible for the conviction of an ex-con who, as things turn out, seems not to be a murderer after all. As the film develops the reporter himself becomes a suspect for the murder of a particularly obnoxious neighbor with whom he'd had a number of confrontations. The reporter's girl-friend becomes his savior, and she traps the real killer, Peter Lorre (who else?) and saves the day. The movie is splendidly dark and foreboding, deliberately unrealistic, like an experimental play, and it has a full-scale nightmare, very well-done, in the bargain. It is thematically similar to mostly much later and somewhat more elaborate films of the forties by Siodmak, Lang, Dmytryk and Dassin, and in its modest way it can hold its own with the best of them.
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