6.9/10
3,161
71 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.

Director:

Boris Ingster

Writer:

Frank Partos (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Lorre ... The Stranger
John McGuire ... Michael Ward
Margaret Tallichet ... Jane
Charles Waldron Charles Waldron ... District Attorney
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Joe Briggs
Charles Halton ... Meng
Ethel Griffies ... Mrs. Kane
Cliff Clark ... Martin
Oscar O'Shea ... The Judge
Alec Craig ... Defense Attorney
Otto Hoffman ... Police Surgeon
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Storyline

Rising reporter Michael Ward is the key witness in the murder trial of young Joe Briggs, who is convicted on circumstantial evidence while swearing innocence. Michael's girl Jane believes in Joe and blames Michael, 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She loves a man..who almost dreams himself into the electric chair! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El desconegut del tercer pis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$171,200 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Los Angeles Saturday 16 June 1956 on KHJ (Channel 9) and in Altoona Monday 18 June 1956 on WFBG (Channel 10); it first aired in San Francisco Friday 29 June 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Philadelphia Wednesday 11 July 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Columbus Saturday 25 August 1956 on WLW-C (Channel 4), in New York City Saturday 6 October 1956 on WOR (Channel 9), in Dayton Sunday 23 December 1956 on WLW-D (Channel 2), and in Boston Thursday 3 January 1957 on WNAC (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

On the rainy night when Michael and Jane go to the room he's renting for the first time, there are different water stains on his coat in successive shots. The left sleeve is dry before they enter the room. Once they get inside, both coat sleeves are wet. See more »

Quotes

Michael: But what if she's right? He didn't do it and they give him the chair?
Martin: Suppose they do? What difference does it make? There's too many people in the world anyway.
Michael: What's the use of talking to you? You think everything's a joke.
Martin: My son, it is. If it weren't, life wouldn't be worth living.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent story of Noir cinema with the great Peter Lorre
14 July 2005 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The story narrates as a journalist is witness of an assassination and his testimony is essential for accusation of the crime by a cab man convict (Elisha Cook Jr.) . He posteriorly has nightmares on sense of culpability and doubting the events and reflecting himself at surprising dream sequences . Other murders happen and the principal suspect is the reporter , who united his sweetheart will try to probe the innocence confronting a rare and odd character (Peter Lorre).

It's a classic RKO thriller film , where intrigue and tension is developed from the beginning until the end . Picture is deemed by some critics the first noir movie . The pic has the expressionist Germanic atmosphere , besides is Peter Lorre (actor usual from these films : ¨M¨ the Dusserfold vampire) with his typical interpretation as a quirky and bizarre villain . The suspense appears threatening and lurking in every street , room and stairs . The run movie is short-time for that reason is quickly seen , approximately is one hour . Photographer Nicholas Musuruca (Cat people) makes an excellent camera work , joined to John Alton are the fundamental artificers of the particular atmosphere in Noir films . Cinematography is extraordinary , lights and shades settings depict that type of cinema creating eerie scenarios . Roy Webb's (habitual musician of RKO) score is fine . Nifty direction by Boris Ingster who made scarcely movies later . The flick will appeal to noir cinema moviegoers.


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