Stranger on the Third Floor (1940). 64 minutes. Directed by Boris Ingster. Starring Peter Lorre (as the Stranger), John McGuire (as Michael Ward), Margaret Tallichet (as Jane), Charles Halton (as Albert Meng), and Elisha Cook, Jr. (as Joe Briggs).
Stranger on the Third Floor is a noir curiosity from 1940, cited by many as the first entry in the genre’s classic period, which spanned roughly from 1940 to 1959. I would say that it stars Peter Lorre, except that he barely appears or even talks in the movie until three quarters have elapsed—and yet Lorre was such an impressive actor at the time that he received top billing nevertheless.
Lorre is the reason to see this movie. He plays the weird and enigmatic Stranger, a curious fellow whom protagonist Michael Ward suspects of murdering a neighbor. Lorre’s early silent appearances as the Stranger—lurking on the front stoop of Ward’s building, peeking out of a door on Ward’s apartment landing, peering … Read the rest