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drinkanddestroy
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« on: April 14, 2013, 02:54:17 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039029/

Three Strangers (1946) 8/10



A solid noir with top-notch leading performances by Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and the lovely Geraldine Fitzgerald; and a terrific supporting cast as well. The movie supposedly takes place in England, but it actually all takes place on the Warner Bros. lot and soundstages.

The ending is not very satisfactory (how many movies are there which are so much fun till they get to a shitty ending) but until then, this is a really fun watch   Afro

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Here's Bosley Crowther in the NY Times http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=950CE5D81339E53ABC4B51DFB466838D659EDE


Movie Review

 '3 Strangers,' With Geraldine Fitzgerald, Greenstreet and Lorre, Opens at the Strand
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: February 23, 1946

On the night of the Chinese New Year in London, three strangers meet in the Warner film which bears the title, "Three Strangers," and which came to the Strand yesterday. One of the three is a beautiful woman, one is an urbane barrister and one is a genial little black sheep who is given considerably to drink. In the flickering light of a candle and under the gaze of a Chinese idol, Kwan Yin, they become partners in a sweepstake ticket on a forthcoming Derby race. And before the picture is ended and before the race is run, the threads of their destinies ravel and unravel surprisingly.

The woman, for instance, turns out to be a heartless adventuress, momentarily greedy to win back her husband's love. The lawyer is a misappropriator of funds. And the black sheep is innocently mixed up in a sensational murder case. Duplicities and violences complicate their lots, but Fate—that inscrutable mystery—deals the final blow.

Such is the theme of the story, and the action which bears it out is full-bodied melodrama of a shrewd and sophisticated sort. Never so far away from reason that it is wholly incredible but obviously manufactured fiction, it makes a tolerably tantalizing show, reaching some points of fascination in a few of its critical scenes.

And the acting is consistent with the melodramatic style. Geraldine Fitzgerald is sleekly decorative and strangely electric as the dame and Sydney Greenstreet puts lots of fatty tissue into his shaping of the barrister. Peter Lorre acts a bit too fatalistic for the right nature of the black sheep, but Rosalind Ivan, Joan Lorring and Peter Whitney get character into minor roles.

Of course, we seriously question whether it was so much the hand of Fate as it was the fine hands of the scenarists, John Huston and Howard Koch, that pulled the strings. Frankly, we suspect the latter. The plotting and writing have style. But whoever it was, they have turned out an efficiently intriguing show.


THREE STRANGERS, screen play by John Huston and Howard Koch, from a story by Mr. Huston; directed by Jean Negulesco; produced by Warner Brothers. At the Strand.
Crystal . . . . . Geraldine Fitzgerald
Arbutny . . . . . Sydney Greenstreet
Johnny West . . . . . Peter Lorre
Gabby . . . . . Peter Whitney
Lady Rhae . . . . . Rosalind Ivan
Shackleford . . . . . Alan Napier
Icy . . . . . Joan Lorring
Fallon . . . . . Robert Shayne
Senior Clerk . . . . . Clifford Brooke
Junior Clerk . . . . . John Alvin
Prosecutor . . . . . Arthur Shields
Janet . . . . . Marjorie Riordon
"Major" Beach . . . . . Stanley Logan
Sir Robert . . . . . Lumsden Hare


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and here is a review from imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039029/reviews?start=1

Interesting black comedy about greed in a movie rich with detail and atmosphere., 4 April 2004

8 stars out of 10

Author:  tjonasgreen from New York, N.Y.


A very literate script by John Huston and Howard Koch makes this one worth seeing. Only after the initial intriguing premise is set in motion do we discover to our amusement that all the characters we've become interested in are fairly despicable, particularly Geraldine Fitzgerald as a sociopath and nymphomaniac. With the unusually well observed character details provided by the script and the use of many supporting and bit actors one hasn't seen in lots of other pictures, THREE STRANGERS really has something of the atmosphere of London in 1938 rather than of London-via-Hollywood.

And make no mistake: Despite good direction by Jean Negulesco, John Huston's cynicism, pessimism and misogyny are evident everywhere, and that alone makes this unusual in a '40s picture. Like MALTESE FALCON it is a black comedy about greed, but it has no big stars, no glamor, and only the sliest, cruelest humor. Add the perfectly judged performances of everyone in this film, and it adds up to a neglected near-classic, one that seemed to predict the funnier and more elegant KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS.

As the real star of the film, Peter Lorre is wonderfully wry and quite lovable as one of life's eternal losers. Sydney Greenstreet often played nasty men deliciously but here he takes his character's weakness and pettiness much further than usual, and his scenes of escalating madness are very effective. Geraldine Fitzgerald's portrait of an amoral seductress is different than what she usually played at Warners, and should be considered some kind of '40s milestone in the depiction of depraved women alongside Gene Tierney in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN and Agnes Moorehead in DARK PASSAGE. She's aided by some very form-fitting Milo Anderson gowns, one of which, a pleated satin negligee, was recycled in black for Patricia Neal in THE FOUNTAINHEAD a few years later. It looks great in both incarnations. In smaller parts Peter Whitney makes an impression as a soft-hearted (and homosexual?) crony of Lorre's, and Rosalind Ivan is memorable as a dotty widow who is much shrewder than she appears. Finally, the casting of Fitzgerald, Marjorie Riordan and Joan Lorring (who looks like a young Irene Selznick) is curious: all three young women have prominent noses, darkly painted lips and very dark, shoulder-length hair which is styled similarly. And as each character descends in economic scale, her looks are heavier and plainer. Another comment on how fickle fortune can be? Anne Sharp's comment below that the characters are meant to illustrate the dark forces that enabled WWII is interesting and valuable.

By the way, the print shown on TCM is rather dim, sketchy and full of harsh contrasts so it's hard to judge what the film was actually meant to look like. Whoever now owns the Warner Bros. library should strike a pristine version of this one.


« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 03:13:59 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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