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The Third Degree (1926)

Alicia, a circus artist, deserts her husband and child to elope with Underwood, her handsome lover. Fifteen years later, Annie Martin, Alicia's deserted daughter, is a trapeze performer in ... See full summary »


Michael Curtiz


C. Graham Baker (as Graham Baker), Charles Klein (play)


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Cast overview:
Dolores Costello ... Annie Daly
Louise Dresser ... Alicia Daly
Rockliffe Fellowes ... Underwood
Jason Robards Sr. ... Howard Jeffries Jr. (as Jason Robards)
Kate Price ... Mrs. Chubb
Tom Santschi ... Daredevil Daley
Harry Todd ... Mr. Chubb
Mary Louise Miller Mary Louise Miller ... Annie as a baby
Michael Vavitch Michael Vavitch ... Clinton - Chief of Detectives
David Torrence ... Howard Jeffries Sr.
Fred Kelsey ... Assistant Chief of Detectives


Alicia, a circus artist, deserts her husband and child to elope with Underwood, her handsome lover. Fifteen years later, Annie Martin, Alicia's deserted daughter, is a trapeze performer in a sideshow at Coney Island, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Chubb, and has married Howard Jeffries in spite of opposition by his wealthy parents. Jeffries, Sr., hires a man (Underwood) to separate the young couple. Underwood convinces the newlyweds that each is being unfaithful to the other, and consequently he is threatened by Howard. Driven to fury by Underwood's uncontrollable demands, Alicia shoots him in a quarrel and makes her escape just as Howard enters; despite his innocence, Howard confesses to the crime when subjected to the third degree. Annie, realizing her mother's guilt, claims to be guilty, but Alicia then confesses. Annie is saved from suicide by Howard, and they are united by love. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

1 December 1926 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Tortura See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


American film debut of director Michael Curtiz. See more »


Version of The Third Degree (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

This film is lost...
30 November 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... and thus I cannot rate it. The other reviewer seems to have no trouble reviewing lost films and revealing details that not even surviving reviews have. This was the first film directed by Michael Curtiz in America. Among the several good decisions made by the Warners in the 1920s - to employ Daryl F. Zanuck, to recruit Rin Tin Tin in some enduring action adventures, and to get the sound revolution started - a less fanfared decision was to bring then 40 year old director Michael Curtiz over from Hungary. However he was an acquisition that boosted the Warners' fortunes for decades.

Nothing remains of this film, but the reviews say that it is better than the written story upon which it is based, and that Curtiz had a real talent for lighting and the camera, and apparently was just crazy about dissolves, but the New York Times review said that he used them wisely and well. This film in particular involves a circus, a murder, and the titular "third degree" that a murder suspect is given where the police are trying to sweat out a confession. Delores Costello was the featured player here - and she got good reviews but remember WB did not have a big budget for big stars at this point in their history.

Also note that WB continued to put musical numbers as preludes to their film to show off their Vitaphone sound system. Here Paul Whiteman and his orchestra as well as Frank McGlynn reciting the Gettysburg address were featured, hopefully not at the same time.

I wish this one was still around. Nothing was more fun than watching Warner Brothers grow up.

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