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Three Strangers (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 January 1946 (USA)
Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

John Huston (original screenplay), Howard Koch (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sydney Greenstreet ... Jerome K. Arbutny
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Crystal Shackleford
Peter Lorre ... Johnny West
Joan Lorring ... Icey Crane
Robert Shayne ... Bertram Fallon
Marjorie Riordan Marjorie Riordan ... Janet Elliott
Arthur Shields ... Prosecutor
Rosalind Ivan ... Lady Rhea Belladon
John Alvin ... Junior Clerk
Peter Whitney ... Timothy Delaney aka Gabby
Alan Napier ... David Shackleford
Clifford Brooke Clifford Brooke ... Senior Clerk
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Proctor
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Storyline

According to a legend, if three strangers gather before an idol of Kwan Yin (the Chinese goddess of fortune and destiny) on the night of the Chinese New Year and make a common wish, Kwan Yin will open her eyes and her heart and grant the wish. In London 1938 on the Chinese New Year, Crystal Shackleford has such an idol and decides to put the legend to the test. She picks two random strangers off the street, and puts the proposition to them. They decide that an ideal wish would be for a sweepstakes ticket they buy equal shares in to be a winner. After all, everyone needs money and a pot is very easy to divide equally, right? Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BREATHTAKING SUSPENSE - THRILLS! (original ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 January 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Men and a Girl See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$457,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,033,000, 31 December 1946

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,647,000, 31 December 1946
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

John Huston was inspired to write the story after he bought an odd statue in London. See more »

Goofs

When Johnny and Icey are talking in the bar, Johnny's glass goes from him setting it on the table with his left hand, to in the next shot the glass is off the table in his left hand down by his waist. See more »

Quotes

Johnny West: The best friendships are made on short acquaintance and last a very brief time.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 39
(uncredited
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on the piano by Johnny
See more »

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User Reviews

A clone that goes one better
2 June 2000 | by Anne_SharpSee all my reviews

Obviously meant as a "Maltese Falcon" ripoff, this is in many ways a much better film, and definitely one of Huston's best. Though set in 1938, it has a strongly pessimistic, existentialist post-WWII feel to it. The three strangers seem to symbolize the forces of greed, cruelty, and self-destruction at the heart of war and human misery in general--and note that in this version there is no Sam Spade to intervene when things go horribly wrong. The hero of the story by default is the romantic alcoholic Johnny West (a tour de force by Peter Lorre in one of the few true lead roles allowed him by the vindictive Jack Warner.) Not that he's morally superior to the vicious Crystal Shackleford or the crass Arbutney, just that he's too apathetic and detached to intentionally harm anyone.


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