Stranger On The Third Floor (1940)

stranger on the third floor 1940

This was a good discovery. It has suspense and some creepy moments along with a great performance from Elisha Cook,Jr. If you’re looking for something a bit different check this out. Character actor Herb Vigran has a bit part as a reporter.

Reporter Mike Ward (John McGuire) is the star witness in a murder case. Diner owner Nick Nanbajan had his throat cut. Mike says he saw Joe Briggs (Elisha Cook,Jr.) in the diner as he ran off. Briggs is convicted. Mike’s girlfriend Jane (Margaret Tallichet) thinks he might be innocent and she doesn’t want to be around Mike just now.

Mike goes to his room on the third floor of a rooming house. On the stoop he sees a stranger (Peter Lorre). Upstairs he hears his neighbor Albert Meng (Charles Halton) with his usual loud snoring. He flashes back to a time when Meng brought the landlady to Mike’s room to make him stop using his typewriter at night.

Then he remembers when he was in Nick’s with a friend and Meng came in and bought some milk. He warned Mike about drinking coffee before trying to sleep. Mike tells his friend he’d like to cut Meng’s throat. Then there was the time he brought Jane to his room for the first time. Meng brings the landlady in and complains about Mike having a woman in his room. Mike grabs Meng and threatens to kill him.

Back to the present. He doesn’t hear Meng snoring and goes to investigate. He sees the stranger coming out of Meng’s room. He chases him but can’t catch him. Now he has a nightmare that Meng’s dead and he’s arrested for the murder. This is a great sequence.

When he wakes up he discovers that Meng is dead with his throat cut just like Nick. He ends up being arrested. Now Jane goes to look for the stranger. Don’t miss this one.

Character actor Charles Halton specialized in playing weasel type roles. Some of his work is reminiscent of Byron Foulger .

Charles Halton

Charles Halton


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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