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The Stranger on the Third Floor Details


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 surrealistic knockout of a nightmare sequence. When another murder is committed, Ward finds himself as much a victim of circumstantial evidence as the unfortunate Briggs. The reporter's girlfriend (Margaret Tallichet) tries to clear Ward....and that's when she first makes the acquaintance of Lorre, who is heard ordering a pound of raw meat! Stranger on the Third Floor was a "film noir" long prior to the genesis of that cinematic movement. Long ignored or trivialized by film historians, this 7-reel quickie has in recent years graduated to classic status. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Peter Lorre
as Stranger
Margaret Tallichet
as Jane
Elisha Cook, Jr.
as Joe Briggs
Charles Halton
as Meng
Ethel Griffies
as Mrs. Kane
Cliff Clark
as Martin
Oscar O'Shea
as Judge
Alec Craig
as Defense attorney
Otto Hoffman
as Police surgeon
Herb Vigran
as Reporter
Donald Kerr
Dell Henderson
as Detective
Frank Yaconelli
as Jack
Lee Bonnell
Broderick O'Farrell
as Minister
Greta Granstedt
as Housekeeper
Bud Osborne
as Bartender
Harry C. Bradley
as Court Clerk
Ralph Sanford
as Truck driver
Lee Phelps
as Cabdriver
Bobby Barber
as Italian grocer
James Farley
as Policeman
Charles Judels
as Nick
Frank O'Connor
as Policeman
Jane Keckley
as Landlady
Gladden James
as Reporter
Henry Roquemore
as Mr. McLean
William Edmunds
as Gardener
Paul McVey
as Lt. Jones
Emory Parnell
as Detective
Betty Farrington
as Stout Woman


Boris Ingster
Lee Marcus
Frank Partos
Nick Musuraca
Roy Webb
Composer (Music Score)
Harry Marker
Van Nest Polglase
Art Director
Darrell Silvera
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects