Noirvember Double Bill: Stranger on the Third Floor + The Maltese Falcon

Noirvember Double Bill: Stranger on the Third Floor + The Maltese Falcon

classified PG
Film

Please note: This was screened in Nov 2021

Director
Boris Ingster, John Huston
Cast
Various
Details
168 mins, 1940, USA
Primary language
English

Celebrate the launch of Film Noir UK, the first dedicated film organisation in the UK celebrating the ever-influential world of film noir, with a double bill of Boris Ingster's Stranger on the Third Floor (on 35mm) and John Huston's The Maltese Falcon.

About Stranger on the Third Floor:

For many (critics and fans alike), Boris Ingster’s 1940 little known B picture, Stranger on the Third Floor, launched one of the greatest movements in cinema history: film noir!

Peter Lorre plays the eerie title role in this neglected gem about a reporter (John McGuire) whose testimony sentences a small-time loser (Elisha Cook Jr.) to the electric chair for murder. When the reporter himself is implicated in a second murder, he realises both crimes are the work of a furtive stranger - but will anyone believe him? All the shadowy, shivery, angled angst of German Expressionism is here, married to the hard-boiled moral ambiguity that marks the genre. The highlight: a suspense-and-sweat-drenched dream sequence that jolted 1940 audiences into an exciting new way of looking at the movies.This is a very rare screening from a 35mm print from the British Film Institute.

About The Maltese Falcon:

The Maltese Falcon, John Huston’s debut feature, wasn't the first movie about a tough, cynical private investigator getting involved in a murky case. In fact, it wasn't even the first film based on the novel of the same name by writer Dashiel Hammett. But it was the first film that got all the elements exactly right - from the performance of Humphrey Bogart as the world-weary detective Sam Spade (which defined Bogart's performances for the rest of his life), to a memorable collection of villains whose actual pursuit of the elusive bird statue turns out to be something of a side issue.

The result provided the blueprint for hundreds of crime movies to come. So much so in fact, that it would be classed for decades as the first film noir, whilst it is not that it certainly is a key title, one which laid the foundations for that all American genre of mean streets, knife-edged heroes, dark shadows and tough dames. See it on the big screen on its 80th anniversary!