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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 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:

Stranger on the Third Floor 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 marked the directorial debut of writer and future television producer Boris Ingster. He would direct only two more films. See more »

Goofs

When Jane leaves the coffee shop to follow The Stranger, the shades on the doors are higher in the outside shot than they were from the inside camera angle. See more »

Quotes

Michael: Look! Look! He's alive!
Meng: [as a hallucination] I told you not to drink coffee before going to bed.
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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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