6.9/10
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71 user 37 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:

MURDER ...in a nightmare that comes TRUE ...to haunt an innocent man... Mystery thriller to baffle you. 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

Composer Roy Webb would later rework some of his themes from this film for Murder, My Sweet (1944). See more »

Goofs

When the prosecutor cross-examines defendant Joe Briggs during his trial for murder, he cites Briggs's previous criminal record of one robbery conviction. Citing a defendant's prior criminal history is inadmissible during a criminal trial, and Briggs's attorney should have objected to the prosecutor's statements and questions about the defendant's prior criminal convictions. 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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