Stranger on the Third Floor
Time Out saysA weird expressionist investigation of personal guilt that takes its jaunty, banal hero (McGuire) from the bright lights of a cafeteria into a strange interior odyssey. The plot revolves around the reporter hero's unwitting conviction, through his evidence, of an innocent man (Cook) at a murder trial. He returns to his apartment to rest, and the brittle, unremarkable surface of the film begins to break up in a kind of guilt-whirlpool of humiliation and sexual repression. The court, jury and whole legal system are exposed in the hero's dreams as little more than vampiric; and when he wakes up, even reality begins to take on the dimensions of nightmare (with a special spot reserved for Lorre, terrific). Finally the film returns its audience to the banal starting-point of its investigation, but the happy ending just can't look the same in the light of everything that has preceded it. A remarkable movie.