USA [1940] - 64m
Crime, Thriller
Directed by
Boris Ingster
More info on
Stranger on the Third Floor poster


June 14, 2021


Often cited as the first ever film-noir. I'm not versed enough in the history of the genre, but the genre elements are clearly there, so it's definitely not a miscategorization. The positives are that the film is short, barely crossing the 60-minute barrier. The negatives ... pretty much everything else.

Ward is a reporter who witnessed a murder in a diner. It's his testimony that puts the culprit behind bars. Not much later, he has a dream where he learns he might have misinterpreted the situation. Ward feels terrible, but when his neighbor is murdered in exactly the same way, it's clear someone else is behind the killings.

The pacing is pretty decent, the runtime is short, but the film itself is pretty dim. The plot is very basic, performances are well exaggerated and stylistically there is very little there (except maybe one dream sequence). Fun if you're a noir fan and you care about the genre's origins, sadly I'm not and I don't.