Three Strangers (1946)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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On the eve of the Chinese New Year, three strangers make a pact before a small statue of the Chinese goddess of Destiny. The threesome agree to purchase a sweepstakes ticket and share whatever winnings might accrue. Alas, the pact brings little more than misfortune for all concerned.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Sydney Greenstreet
as Jerome K. Arbutny
Peter Lorre
as Johnny West
Geraldine Fitzgerald
as Crystal Shackleford
Joan Lorring
as Icey Crane
Robert Shayne
as Fallon
Arthur Shields
as Prosecutor
Rosalind Ivan
as Lady Rhea
John Alvin
as Junior Clerk
Alan Napier
as Shackleford
Clifford Brooke
as Senior Clerk
Doris Lloyd
as Mrs. Proctor
Stanley Logan
as Maj. Beach
Holmes Herbert
as Sir Robert (uncredited)
Ian Wolfe
as Gillkie the Barrister (uncredited)
Connie Leon
as Flower Woman (uncredited)
Colin Kenny
as Alfred - Innkeeper / Bartender (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten
as Prison Turnkey (uncredited)
Eric Wilton
as Bailiff (uncredited)
Keith Hitchcock
as Donald Fry (uncredited)
Leslie Denison
as Detective (uncredited)
Leyland Hodgson
as Police Inspector in Pub (uncredited)
Alec Craig
as Man on Park Bench (uncredited)
Reginald Sheffield
as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Benny Burt
as Drunken Stranger (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Three Strangers

All Critics (1)

The intricately plotted messy film becomes enjoyable mainly because of the spirited performances.

Full Review… | March 11, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Three Strangers

Interesting Lorre/Greenstreet/Huston film Long out of circulation, this 1946 vehicle by veteran Hollywood director Jean Negulesco (who had directed Lorre and Greenstreet previously in The Mask of Demetrios and would go on to make Daddy Long Legs, Three Coins in the Fountain, and How to Marry a Millionaire) was finally released on Region 1 DVD in 2012. The film has an interesting history. The original was intended to be a sequel to John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, using a screenplay Huston had written but hadn't gotten produced, with Greenstreet and Lorre reprising their roles as Casper Gutman and Joel Cairo in a new adventure, this time centered around a mysterious Chinese idol rather than a bird statuette. But it turned out that Warner's didn't have and couldn't get permission to re-use the same character names, so the project was turned into a film with no reference to The Maltese Falcon, still using Huston's screenplay. The result, the story of three strangers in 1938 London who pray to the idol for luck, and how the answer to their prayer affects their interweaving relationships, is something of a neglected classic, with Greenstreet and Lorre doing some of their best acting, and Huston's unusual and fascinating screenplay foreshadowing the theme of how greed affects human relationships which was to feature in many of Huston's own subsequent films like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Beat the Devil, and The Asphalt Jungle. Recommended with four stars as an entertaining and interesting piece of cinema which deserves to be better known; if you are a real fan of Lorre or Greenstreet or a serious student of Huston's work, consider it a five star must see. The Warner Archive DVD print quality is very good.

Jon Corelis
Jon Corelis

Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are always worth a look. It's particularly enjoyable watching Lorre play against type as a sympathetic leading man. It's no masterpiece; the movie does not, by any means, maintain a commanding grip on the audience, but the trio of lead actors keep things lively and interesting while Lorre's character amiably and almost accidentally comes through relatively unscathed, and somewhat better off without getting the big payoff. Plus, there's a young Alan Napier (later Alfred on the Batman television show) as Geraldine Fitzgerald's unfortunate husband.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

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