Looking Backward: Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

9 Jun

Well, to begin with, I was mistaken: Lorre is still in creepy mode for Stranger on the Third Floor. Not a complaint; just observing. Lorre is in fact barely in this at all, despite top billing. My understated response to this relative Lorrelessness was not dissimilar to the following:

StrangerThirdIn fairness, I was indoors.

A little 65-minute potboiler that I’m sure would’ve been a solid episode of a TV anthology fifteen years later or a radio anthology five years before, about a newspaperman who lacks any sense of irony. Also, there are murders. Some fun expressionistic noir shadow work, especially in the sudden, magnificently weird nightmare sequence that may or may not be a plot point (I’m still not sure).

It is, I have discovered, seen as one of the first true noirs, and the shadow work and date would point to that. So there is that curiosity factor, I guess. And Lorre does a fine three minutes of work in the Peter Lorre Role, though it was tough to watch without thinking of this guy…


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