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Stranger on the Third Floor

Released Aug 16, 1940 1h 4m Crime Drama List
86% Tomatometer 7 Reviews 64% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
When upstart journalist Michael Ward (John McGuire) testifies that he saw Joe Briggs (Elisha Cook Jr.) at the scene of a murder, Briggs is jailed and sentenced to death. Later, Michael's conscience and troubling dreams get the better of him. He tells his girlfriend, Jane (Margaret Tallichet), that he isn't certain Briggs is guilty. They begin to investigate, but unfortunately, the couple soon makes the acquaintance of an ominous, enigmatic man (Peter Lorre) who wants the case to stay closed. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (7) Critics Reviews
Alberto Abuín Espinof Thanks to its performances, all perfect, and its staging, "Stranger on the Third Floor" is a discovery that still surprises more than seventy years later. [Full Review in Spanish] Apr 10, 2020 Full Review Sean Axmaker Parallax View ... a paranoid murder thriller that, for all of its budgetary constraints, took viewers on a spiral of justified paranoia. Feb 16, 2011 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 2/5 Jul 27, 2005 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews This low-budget B film is thought by many to be the first true film noir. Rated: B+ Feb 12, 2005 Full Review Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) Pretty creepy suspenser with unsettling Lorre performance. Rated: 4/5 Jul 8, 2004 Full Review Philip Martin Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Rated: 3/5 Jul 29, 2002 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (73) audience reviews
Ted B 3.0 stars; According to TCM, this was one of the first film noir movies. It certainly fits that description to me. The underlying theme is how blind Lady Justice is. What happens when you send an innocent man to the electric chair? A real air of creepiness is added by Peter Lorre, the master of that art. The acting was acceptable for the most part, although a little overdone in some scenes. But that was the style in the early 1940s. A well-done thriller that holds up well, even by today’s standards. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 07/03/24 Full Review j f Heck of a cast. But kind of middy, slight smell of hay. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 06/17/24 Full Review Audience Member Controversial film, very much becomes "film noir" by the middle of it (probably the first one made). There are great moments and dud moments so it is difficult to rate, but it is unique and divergent enough (and short) to recommend. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Russ G Pretty awful. Barely an hour long and there's 10 minutes in the middle that you can skip right over. Peter Lorre is usually in better than this dreck; the studio had to have held a gun to his head on this one. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 10/27/22 Full Review Ed M I love Peter Lorre but this movie is weak. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 11/02/21 Full Review deke p Kind of interesting. Film noir. Peter Lorre in it, younger. Never heard of until saw it on TV, Jan 2020. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Stranger on the Third Floor

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Cast & Crew

Murder, My Sweet 89% 86% Murder, My Sweet On Dangerous Ground 90% 78% On Dangerous Ground Born to Kill 83% 75% Born to Kill The Big Steal 71% 64% The Big Steal The Racket 33% 44% The Racket Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis When upstart journalist Michael Ward (John McGuire) testifies that he saw Joe Briggs (Elisha Cook Jr.) at the scene of a murder, Briggs is jailed and sentenced to death. Later, Michael's conscience and troubling dreams get the better of him. He tells his girlfriend, Jane (Margaret Tallichet), that he isn't certain Briggs is guilty. They begin to investigate, but unfortunately, the couple soon makes the acquaintance of an ominous, enigmatic man (Peter Lorre) who wants the case to stay closed.
Director
Boris Ingster
Producer
Lee S. Marcus
Production Co
RKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 16, 1940, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Jan 1, 2012
Runtime
1h 4m
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