Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Stranger on the Third Floor




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Stranger on the Third Floor Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Though he doesn't speak his first line of dialogue until the film's final ten minutes, Peter Lorre spiritually dominates the fascinating RKO melodrama Stranger on the Third Floor. The plotline is carried by John McGuire, playing Ward, a newspaper reporter whose courtroom testimony sends the hapless Briggs (Elisha Cook Jr). to the death house. Ward is certain that he saw Briggs leaving the scene of a murder, but as the days pass, he is tortured by guilt and doubt -- especially during the film's … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Frank Partos
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 16, 1991
RKO Radio Pictures


as The Stranger

as Michael 'Mike' Ward

as District Attorney

as Joe Briggs

as Mrs. Kane

as Martin

as Defense attorney

as Police surgeon

as Lt. Jones

as Court Clerk

as Chambermaid

as Cabdriver

as Detective

as Bartender

as Boss McLean

as Gardener

as Landlady

as Policeman

as Charwoman

as Truck driver

as Stout Woman

as Drug Store Attendant

as Detective

as Giuseppe

as Reporter

as Lunch Counter Seat M...

as Policeman

as Detective

as Cabdriver

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Policeman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Stranger on the Third Floor

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

... a paranoid murder thriller that, for all of its budgetary constraints, took viewers on a spiral of justified paranoia.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
Parallax View

This low-budget B film is thought by many to be the first true film noir.

Full Review… | February 12, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Pretty creepy suspenser with unsettling Lorre performance.

July 8, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Stranger on the Third Floor


so it's a bit contrived and the lead actress is quite bad but this highly stylized film is considered the first noir with good reason: stunning art direction, especially the remarkable dream sequence, and great expressionist cinematography by nicolas musuraca. makes a powerful anti-death penalty statement as well

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A good little B-movie about a journalist whose eyewitness testimony convicts a potentially innocent man of murder. The journalist himself then becomes a victim of circumstantial evidence after his despised neighbour is murdered. The plot is contrived and overuses both flashback and voice-over, but there's an excellent expressionist dream sequence in the middle. John McGuire makes a dull hero but Peter Lorre walks away with the movie with his 10 minute contribution.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

In some circles, the first film noir movie. The story is nothing special as Maguire plays a reporter who made the big time because of a mistaken identity murder which he later becomes involved in. There are some greatly-lit scenes which became a staple in film noir, but that dream sequence is worth it alone. Peter Lorre is as freakish as ever and Elisha Cook, jr. plays the classic sap perfectly. The story's a little uneven, but if you're a film noir fan Stranger on the Third Floor is a must.

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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