Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stranger Danger on the Third Floor

A nightmare of paranoid fear
Just who is the killer's unclear
By guilt a man's trapped,
in the chair he is strapped...
Film noir may have started right here

John McGuire in Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster, 1941), which also featured noir staples Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr. With its psychotic killer and expressionistic dream sequence, Stranger is an early example of the Germanic noir style. David Cairns of Shadowplay nails it when he says the dream sequence is "like a Will Eisner comic strip: the shots are nearly all static and the actors strike poses, freezing in creepy tableaux vivants as soon as they have found the best dramatic effect." You can see for yourself just how right he is, here.

Don't be a stranger--we're posting film noir limericks all week as part of the blogathon for film preservation, For the Love of Film (Noir). And please consider making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation using their donation page.

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