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Three Strangers

4.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Three strangers, three incredibly dangerous people drawn together by their greed. Each ready to kill for the riches of ...Kwan Yin.

Jean Negulesco was truly hitting his stride with his classic run of film noirs when he crafted this stylish thriller in which three strangers find their destinies entwined with a mysterious, foreign idol, "The Masters of Mystery," Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, play two of the strangers, while Geraldine Fitzgerald proves more than a match for the two screen greats as the third.

According to a legend, if three strangers gather before the fables idol of Kwan Yin and make a common wish, the wish shall be granted. Spurned spouse Crystal Shackleford (Fitzgerald) has the idol and enlists a sleazy solicitor (Greenstreet) and a drunken thief (Lorre) in her plans for riches and revenge. But the two strangers have dreams of their own that collide with hers when the idol's powers prove to be real.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Lorre
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008BSM1CI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,430 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Long out of circulation, this 1946 vehicle by veteran Hollywood director Jean Negulesco (who had directed Lorre and Greenstreet previously in The Mask of Demetrios and would go on to make Daddy Long Legs, Three Coins in the Fountain, and How to Marry a Millionaire) was finally released on Region 1 DVD in 2012. The film has an interesting history. The original was intended to be a sequel to John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, using a screenplay Huston had written but hadn't gotten produced, with Greenstreet and Lorre reprising their roles as Casper Gutman and Joel Cairo in a new adventure, this time centered around a mysterious Chinese idol rather than a bird statuette. But it turned out that Warner's didn't have and couldn't get permission to re-use the same character names, so the project was turned into a film with no reference to The Maltese Falcon, still using Huston's screenplay.

The result, the story of three strangers in 1938 London who pray to the idol for luck, and how the answer to their prayer affects their interweaving relationships, is something of a neglected classic, with Greenstreet and Lorre doing some of their best acting, and Huston's unusual and fascinating screenplay foreshadowing the theme of how greed affects human relationships which was to feature in many of Huston's own subsequent films like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Beat the Devil, and The Asphalt Jungle.

Recommended with four stars as an entertaining and interesting piece of cinema which deserves to be better known; if you are a real fan of Lorre or Greenstreet or a serious student of Huston's work, consider it a five star must see. The Warner Archive DVD print quality is very good.
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Format: DVD
The absolutely best thing about this film for me, and I've watched it 3 or 4 times, is the performance of Peter Lorre as Johnny West. Another reviewer described him as a drunken crook, but he is so much more than that! You gotta love him! He is witty and charming in a slightly cynical (alcoholic) way, and has a likeable young woman in love with him. This relationship keeps the whole rather sordid plot on a positive course, resulting in an ending that is both ironic and romantically satisfying. Speaking of the plot, it is pretty involved as one would expect from the pen of John Huston. The great underrated Jean Negulesco has a sure hand with the material, and this is one of the more overlooked noirs in the '40s canon.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had never heard of Three Strangers before reading the listing for the movie at Amazon. Being a fan of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, I was interested enough in the film to buy a copy. Something else of interest is the screenplay was co-authored by John Huston. One wonders how the idea an Oriental statue named Kwan Yin was developed: it does tend to give the movie a mysterious quality.

It was especially nice to see Peter Lorre (as a drunken thief) and Sydney Greenstreet (as an embezzling solicitor) together in the film. Both are magnificent in their roles and Geraldine Fitzgerald (as Crystal Shackleford) provided an excellent performance as a spurned wife seeking riches.

The print quality is excellent as is the sound quality. My only problem is that there was no scene selection available. If you do not finish watching the film in one sitting, you much skip ahead to where you left off. If would have been nice to have the ability to find individual scenes.

Overall, the film is interesting but not as well done as The Mask of Demetrius, which I hope is one day transferred to DVD. Still, it is a joy to see Lorre and Greenstreet together again.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As always this is a high quality product. Lacking any extras but an excellent print of film and sound. Expensive with post and packing to the UK too high. And it is a very dated unreal drama extremely melodramatic and odd. But with this cast highly watchable and entertaining. I don't think there's a movie made actors such as these could'nt save.
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This is one of the best Noir films of the bunch. Make no mistake about it, the plot is absolutely terrific and I don't know why they did not use the famous French poster for the cover. It is all about luck and ironic twists of fate. Funny in parts, sad in others, but very, very good!
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Nothing short of brilliant. They couldn't even think of making a film as good as this these days. Right up there with "The Maltese Falcon" and "Mask of Dimitrios"

A must-have for all Greenstreet fans. And who isn't?

As for disk extras, forget it. Go for the movie or nothing.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
The 1938 film is in excellent condition, the black and white sharp-edged and clear. Peter Lorre (an alcoholic thief) and Sydney Greenstreet (an embezzling lawyer) together practically puts the viewer in Nirvana, but beautiful Geraldine Fitzgerald (a jilted wife) holds up her end and Barry Fitzgerald is tucked into a small part and he is always a treat. Lorre is such a convincing drunk it almost gave me a hangover watching him, and his face is so expressive it's almost as though it were made of India rubber. Greenstreet is terrifying with those swiveling eyes that don't miss a trick and look as though they could crack granite.

The three strangers, Lorre, Greenstreet and Fitzgerald, are brought together by Geraldine who picks the two men up in the street. She is beautiful but too high-class talking and acting to be a common whore. Lorre and Greenstreet are easily lured into her apartment where we learn all three are desperate for money. Lorre has a lottery ticket and the three spookily pray to a Chinese idol for luck. Kwan Yin is the goddess of fortune and destiny. It is the eve of the Chinese New Year. Big Ben tolls the hour of twelve. A sudden wind moans in the window, a candle lit by the idol goes out- it's camp and delicious.

A theme of many Huston screen plays is the effect of greed on human relationships, and people pursuing riches think they are simultaneously pursuing happiness. Kwan Yin is very like the Maltese Falcon. It is man's nature to invent idols to assume responsibility for their own actions. Peter Lorre's character learns a lot about life as the film progresses and he manages to shove a drink aside and paraphrase Shakespeare's famous adage: "it is not in the stars but in ourselves that we are underlings." Is it possible that Lorre actually gets the girl? Watch and see this fine film noir and see!
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