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Three Strangers (Warner 1946, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre)



Three Strangers is a terrifically entertaining crime thriller about three lost souls who meet on the eve of the Chinese New Year. The group includes a woman deserted by her husband (Geraldine Fitzgerald), a scheming lawyer (Sydney Greenstreet), and an alcoholic petty criminal (Peter Lorre). Fitzgerald shows the other two a strange statue and relays the fable of it granting a wish to three strangers on Chinese New Year’s.

They test the story by cosigning a lottery ticket, but each is then plagued with murderously bad luck. Lorre keeps the lottery ticket, which turns out to be a big winner, but burns it rather than risk more bad luck. Another wonderful pairing of Greenstreet and Lorre in a story written by Huston after he bought an odd statue in London. Hitchcock showed early interest in directing, but Jean Negulesco adds all the necessary atmosphere.

John Huston and Howard Koch, who wrote the script of Three Strangers, previously collaborated on Sergeant York (1941) for director Howard Hawks, and on In This Our Life (1942), which Koch wrote and Huston directed.

production details
USA | Warner | 92 minutes | 1946

Director: Jean Negulesco
Script: John Huston, Howard Koch,

Peter Lorre as Johnny West
Peter Whitney as Timothy Delaney aka Gabby
Doris Lloyd as Mrs. Proctor
Sydney Greenstreet as Jerome K. Arbutny
Geraldine Fitzgerald as Crystal Shackleford
Joan Lorring as Icey Crane
Robert Shayne as Bertram Fallon
Marjorie Riordan as Janet Elliott
Arthur Shields as Prosecutor
Rosalind Ivan as Lady Rhea Beladon
John Alvin as Junior Clerk
Alan Napier as David Shackleford
Clifford Brooke as Senior Clerk