|The Passing of the Third Floor Back|
|Directed by||Berthold Viertel|
|Written by|| Michael Hogan (writer)|
Jerome K. Jerome (play and short story)
Alma Reville (writer)
|Music by||Hubert Bath|
|Edited by||Derek N. Twist|
The Passing of the Third Floor Back is a 1935 British drama film directed by Berthold Viertel and starring Conrad Veidt, Anna Lee, Rene Ray and Frank Cellier. The film is based on a 1908 play and short story by Jerome K. Jerome and depicts the various small-minded inhabitants of a building and the arrival of a stranger who works to redeem them.The work had previously been adapted into a 1918 film version by Herbert Brenon.
The film focuses on a run-down boarding house in London, home to assorted residents. Many of them cling precariously to their social positions with only one figure, the wealthy self-made businessman Mr Wright, being truly successful. The house is owned by the grasping Mrs Sharpe, who mistreats the maid, Stasia, a rehabilitated juvenile delinquent. The members of the household are miserable and openly sneering and rude towards each other, the one exception being the respect shown by all to the powerful Mr Wright. In the case of one couple, Major Tomkin and his wife, this involves pressuring their daughter, Vivian, to marry Wright in spite of her obvious horror at the idea.
The house's familiar routine is thrown off-balance by the taking up residence of a mysterious foreigner (secretly an angel), who in time earns the respect of the others in the house, especially that of Stasia. He takes a room on the "third floor back" and joins the residents for the dinner supposedly held in celebration of the engagement between Wright and Vivian. It becomes evident that she does not want to marry Wright, as she is in love with one of the other lodgers, and she storms out of the room. The desperate Major later tries to convince Wright that it is a misunderstanding and that the engagement is still on, as he and his wife are terrified by the loss of security if the marriage is broken off.
The stranger observes the meanness shown by the other members of the house, and gently encourages them to treat each other better and to pursue their dreams rather than live in fear about their precarious social position. This gradually begins to work, with some of the house's members convinced by his charisma. One bank holiday, the stranger announces that he will treat them all to a trip on a boat to Margate, surprising the more snobbish residents by insisting that the servants, including Stasia, will join them. Despite the initial awkwardness, the outing soon begins to go well. When Stasia falls in the River Thames, one of the women jumps in to save her life. Once Stasia is rescued, she is looked after by the Tomkins, who treat her as though she were their daughter, and also begin to regret their bullying of their own daughter into a marriage with Wright. During the trip, various members of the house begin to enjoy themselves and treat each other with more respect.
This change in their situation earns Wright's resentment, and he begins to spitefully wreck the stranger's attempts to reform the guests. This becomes apparent when the next day the inhabitants return to their previous unhappy existence and resume fighting. Wright taunts the stranger by demonstrating how easily he has corrupted them through the simple power of his money. The stranger tries to convince Wright that he, too, should try to seek a better and happier life, but Wright rejects this. Their dispute develops into a moral battle between the stranger's goodness and Wright's evil.
1908 play – London theatre cast:
Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson as The Stranger; Alice Crawford as Vivian; Gertrude Elliott as Stasia; Ian Robertson as Major Tompkins; Mr.H.Marsh Allen as Christopher Penny; Haidee Wright as Miss Kite; Wilfred Foster as Mr. Harry Larcom; Kate Bishop as Mrs. De Hooley; Agnes Thomas as Mrs.Sharp; Edward Sass as John Samuels;
also includes Ernest Hendrie and Kate Carlyon
The film was the second British film of the Austrian director Berthold Viertel, who had left Germany in the late 1920s and had directed Little Friend (1934). Little Friend was considered sufficiently successful for him to be awarded a three-film contract with Gaumont, the first of which was to be an adaptation of Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back after a planned biopic of Lord Byron was abandoned.Viertel saw problems with transferring it to the screen but was interested in depicting the psychological motivation of the various characters. Shooting was scheduled to last around six weeks and was to use a very limited number of sets with only one scene, the visit to Margate, shot outside the studio. Viertel studied the recently released film The Barretts of Wimpole Street , which was similarly set in the confined location of a house.
Viertel made only one further film, Rhodes of Africa (1936).
Writing for The Spectator in 1935, Graham Greene praised the film for having toned down "the pious note" of the original play, and noted that to his surprise he had enjoyed it. He criticized director Viertel, however, for the film's difficulty in portraying the moments of "sweetness and light" with equal truth and realism.
The film was voted the fourth best British movie of 1936.
Alma Lucy Reville, Lady Hitchcock, was an English screenwriter and film editor, and the wife of director Alfred Hitchcock. She wrote many scripts for her husband's films, including Shadow of a Doubt, Suspicion and The Lady Vanishes, as well as scripts for other directors, including Henrik Galeen, Maurice Elvey, and Berthold Viertel. Reville's filmography is extensive with writing credits on many films that were among the biggest of their time.
Bronisław Kaper was a Polish film composer who scored films and musical theater in Germany, France, and the USA. The American immigration authorities misspelled his name as Bronislau Kaper. He was also variously credited as Bronislaw Kaper, Bronislaw Kapper, Benjamin Kapper, and Edward Kane.
The Mysterious Caravan is Volume 54 in the original The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Salka Viertel was an Austrian Jewish actress and Hollywood screenwriter. While under contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1933 to 1937, Viertel co-wrote the scripts for many movies, particularly those starring her close friend Greta Garbo, including Queen Christina (1933) and Anna Karenina (1935). She also played opposite Garbo in MGM's German-language version of Anna Christie in 1930.
Berthold Viertel was an Austrian screenwriter and film director, known for his work in Germany, the UK and the US.
"The Jolly Boys' Outing" is the eighth Christmas special episode of the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December 1989. Despite being aired as a Christmas special, it is set on an August bank holiday weekend, and sees Del and the gang go on a coach trip to Margate.
Rene Ray, Countess of Midleton was a British stage and screen actress of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and also a novelist.
Victory Bateman was an American silent film actress. Her father, Thomas Creese, and her mother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Creese, were both actors. On stage, Ms. Bateman appeared in the 1900 tour of "The Man From Mexico" and in the 1919 tour of "Seven Days' Leave".
Sara Ellen Allgood was an Irish–American actress. She was born in Dublin, Ireland to a Catholic mother and Protestant father. She first studied drama in Inghinidhe na hÉireann and was in the opening of the Irish National Theatre Society. In 1904, she had her first big role in Spreading the News and the following year was a full-time actress. In 1915 she toured Australia and New Zealand as the lead in Peg o' My Heart. On that tour, she married her leading man and they had a daughter 2 years later. Both her daughter and husband died in 1918. Her acting career continued in Dublin, London and on tour, including to the USA. She also appeared in a number of films and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1941. She moved to Hollywood to live in 1940 and became an American citizen in 1945.
Ilka Grüning was born in Vienna in the old Austrian-Hungarian Empire. She was one of many Jewish actors and actresses that were forced to flee Europe when the Nazis came to power in 1933. A respected and famous actress in Germany, she was forced to play bit parts in Hollywood.
Addison Whittaker Richards, Jr. was an American actor of film and television. Richards appeared in more than three hundred films between 1933 and his death.
Highway Dragnet is a 1954 film noir B film crime film directed by Nathan Juran from a story by U.S. Anderson and Roger Corman. The film stars Richard Conte, Joan Bennett and Wanda Hendrix. It was the first feature film on which Roger Corman worked - he wrote the original story and worked as an associate producer.
Frank Cellier was an English actor. Early in his career, from 1903 to 1920, he toured in Britain, Germany, the West Indies, America and South Africa. In the 1920s, he became known in the West End for Shakespearean character roles, among others, and also directed some plays in which he acted. He continued to act on stage until 1946. During the 1930s and 1940s, he also appeared in more than three dozen films.
The Guv'nor is a 1935 British comedy film starring George Arliss as a tramp who rides a series of misunderstandings and becomes the president of a bank. The film was re-released in England in 1944 and 1949. It was released in the US as Mr. Hobo.
The Passing of Mr. Quin is a 1928 British mystery film which was co-directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and Julius Hagen, starring Clifford Heatherley, Mary Brough and Ursula Jeans. The film was based on the short story The Coming of Mr. Quin, part of the collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin, which was written by Agatha Christie. It was the first British film to be made of one of Christie's works. The short story was adapted by Hiscott, who would in 1931 direct Alibi, the first film to feature Christie's more well known Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. The film was made at Twickenham Studios in London.
Julius Hagen (1884–1940) was a German-born British film producer who produced more than a hundred films in Britain.
Barbara Everest was a British stage and film actress. She was born in Southfields, Surrey, and made her screen debut in the 1916 film The Man Without a Soul. On stage she played Queen Anne in the 1935 historical play Viceroy Sarah by Norman Ginsbury.
The Passing of the Third Floor Back is a 1918 British/American silent allegorical film based on the 1908 play The Passing of the Third Floor Back by Jerome K. Jerome and directed by Herbert Brenon. The star of the film is Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson, a legendary Shakespearean actor, who starred in the 1909 Broadway presentation of the play and its 1913 revival. Forbes-Robertson had been knighted by King George V in 1913 and had retired from acting in theatre that same year. In his retirement Forbes-Robertson had only dabbled in film acting making a 1913 film version of Hamlet, the most famous role he had played on the stage. Filmed in 1916, it was released in 1918.
The Imperfect Lady is a 1947 American drama film directed by Lewis Allen and starring Ray Milland, Teresa Wright and Cedric Hardwicke, filmed in 1945 and not released until 1947. In the late Victorian Britain an aristocratic politician falls in love with a showgirl. The film is also known by the alternative title Mrs. Loring's Secret.