Several members of the Brain Trust identified this week’s mystery movie as the 1946 film “The Verdict,” and with four good reasons: Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring and Rosalind Ivan. (And I could have thrown in Arthur Shields and Colin Kelly, who also appeared in both films).
But as producer David Lewis once said, Warner Bros. ran a tight ship unlike MGM, and it got a lot of work out of its players. So we will put away our trickster hat and say that this week’s mystery movie ….
was another 1946 Warner Bros. film, “Three Strangers,” with Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring, Robert Shayne, Marjorie Riordan, Arthur Shields, Rosalind Ivan, John Alvin, Peter Whitney, Alan Napier, Clifford Brooke and Doris Lloyd. The screenplay was by John Huston and Howard Koch, photography by Arthur Edeson, art direction by Ted Smith, set decoration by Clarence Steensen, wardrobe by Milo Anderson, music by Adolph Deutsch, orchestral arrangements by Murray Cutter with musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein. The film was produced by Wolfgang Reinhardt and directed by Jean Negulesco.
It’s available from Warner Archive for $19.99.
Feb. 8, 1946: “Three Strangers,” with “Good Old Corn,” featuring Mack Sennett favorites” and Daffy Duck in “Nasty Quacks,” opens at the Warners Hollywood, Downtown and Wiltern.
The subtle humor of Daffy Duck in “Nasty Quacks.”
Writing in the Feb. 9, 1946, Los Angeles Times, film critic Edwin Schallert said:
The story veers about a lot. Indeed, one doesn’t become particularly interested in any of the characters, though Lorre and Miss Lorring enact the most sympathetic. Greenstreet does compelling work in climaxing scenes, but it is also overtheatrical. Lorre brings a novel mystical impression in his role. “Three Strangers,” summed up, is a production of curiously mixed values, but a novel event, and holds its audience amazingly well.
Writing in the Feb. 23, 1946, New York Times, film critic Bosley Crowther said:
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.
For Monday, we have a mystery gent who seems to have run into some trouble.
Update: This is Keith Hitchcock.
And for Tuesday, we have this mystery gent.
Update: This is Robert Shayne.
And for Wednesday, we have ….
Update: This is Rosalind Ivan.
… two of the mystery ladies in the cast.
Update: This is Doris Lloyd.
Brain Trust roll call: Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery gent) and Patrick (Tuesday’s mystery gent).
And for Thursday, another mystery woman.
Update: This is Joan Lorring.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Jenny M (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery ladies), Sheila (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests).
And for Friday…
Update: This is our leads, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet.
Brain Trust roll call: Dewey Webb (one of Tuesday’s mystery women), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery woman), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery woman) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (Thursday’s mystery woman).