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Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  16 August 1940 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,319 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 34 critic

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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Title: Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John McGuire ...
Margaret Tallichet ...
Jane
Charles Waldron ...
District Attorney
...
Joe Briggs
Charles Halton ...
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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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

Albert Meng: [Objecting to Ward's typing] If you have to write, write with a pencil!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Rules of Film Noir (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Creepy Mr. Lorre
3 July 2005 | by (Flushing, NY) – See all my reviews

Reporter Mike Ward's testimony sends Briggs to the electric chair for the gruesome murder of a luncheonette owner. He feels remorse over the fact that the evidence was circumstantial and Briggs may have been innocent. Arriving home he sees a creepy looking stranger leave his next door neighbor's apartment and then starts to wonder when he doesn't hear his neighbor's snoring. He suspects that his neighbor, Meng, may be dead and that he might be convicted of the crime. After a bizarre dream, he feels that he was just on edge and they everything is all right. This is all dashed when he finds his neighbor dead and then runs to his girlfriend, Jane, looking for answers. He returns to his apartment and thinks that Meng and the Briggs murder may be the work of the same man, but the police feel that Mike may be the killer. Can Jane find the mysterious stranger in time to help Mike, before the stranger strikes again? Good movie with some great flashback sequences and one very surreal (and well done) dream sequence. Lorre was only fulfilling a contract with RKO and has little to do in the movie but is very effective as the stranger. The rest of the cast may be only Hollywood bit players, but are perfectly cast in their roles. Great ending. Rating, 8.


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