HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Stranger on the Third Floor Stay Awake
Year: 1940
Director: Boris Ingster
Stars: Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Charles Waldron, Elisha Cook Jr, Charles Halton, Ethel Griffies, Cliff Clark, Oscar O'Shea
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael Ward (John McGuire) goes into the local coffee shop to meet his girlfriend Jane (Margaret Tallichet) for breakfast. He has good news, and outlines his plans to buy a brand new kitchen, complete with refrigerator and washing machine - but how can he afford this, Jane asks? The answer is that he has just won large a raise for his newpaper job due to his crucial testimony in a murder trial. He witnessed seeing a man (Elisha Cook jr) in a diner who appeared to have just killed the owner, Nick, by cutting his throat; the man fled but Michael gave a good enough description for him to be caught, However, the accused protests his innocence, and Jane wonders if he is guilty after all...

This powerful little B movie was credited with being the first of the film noir genre, and even though it doesn't completely fit the template storywise, its appearance certainly does with Nick Musuraca's atmospheric photography standing out. Scripted by Frank Partos, it starts breezily enough with its hero apparently oblivious to the darker side of humanity, despite being a witness in a murder trial. He's the kind of chirpy protagonist that could fit in with most light leading men of the period, but take a look at his girlfriend to get a hint of the way the plot is unfolding: although sunny of disposition herself, she's filled with doubt about Michael's story and the way he's making money out of it.

The trial we see is a curiously light hearted one, considering the odd gory detail we hear ("the head was almost severed from the body"). The judge is an absent minded buffoon, barely paying attention, and one of the jurors falls asleep after being up all night with toothache. Only Cook brings a sense of panic, a man drowning in his fate as he cries out that he never killed anyone. But the evidence is against him, and eventually the jury announce their verdict: guilty. Here the film commences its dive into darker waters, as Cook is taken away to be executed, screaming in terror, and Jane, who has been present, rushes out deeply disturbed with Michael following to comfort her.

She doesn't want to go out that night, and Michael goes back to his cramped apartment alone, turning over the events of the trial in his mind (we know this because of a handy, hushed voiceover that lets us in on his thoughts). Here the lighting of the film has grown noticeably shadowy and more ominous, more like a nightmare. On his way up the stairs of the building, he almost bumps into a strange figure in the dark - it's Peter Lorre in a small but important role, who doesn't utter a word but throws his scarf over his shoulder and hurries away. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out that this mystery man could well have something to do with the murder.

There then follows a superb sequence of paranoia and dread as Michael fantasises that his hated, nosey parker neighbour is the killer's next victim and that he will be held responsible for the death. A startling dream sequence that turns the previous courtrooom scenes into an alarming parody and make him realise what it's like to be on the other end of false accsusations and he wakes bathed in a cold sweat. From then on it's a journey into another innocent man accused plot as Jane has to track down the real killer; Lorre is an inspired choice, haunted, creepy and pathetic, yet, as he finally gets to tell someone what's been tormenting him, unnervingly sympathetic. Although enjoying a happy ending, it's the moody nightmares of the central story that stay with you and are repsonsible for its following: it's perfect for catching on late night TV. Music by Roy Webb.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7965 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: