Conrad Veidt and Anna Lee headline this charming fantasy/drama, an adaptation of Jerome K. Jerome's 1908 short story and play of the same title. The scene is a run-down boarding house in London whose tenants (save one) are each living lives of quiet desperation. The one successful border is the rich and mean-spirited Mr.Wright, who enjoys his superiority over the others. Into this mix comes a new, unnamed boarder who quietly and seemingly effortlessly begins to change the lives of those around him. Veidt plays the angelic newcomer with assured ease. 22-year-old Anna Lee ("The Queen of the Quota Quickies," who would move on to become a staple in many of John
Ford's films and,later, to portray Lila Quartermain on television's General Hospital) plays Vivian, the young beauty in love with a poor architect but is being forced to marry the obnoxious Mr. Wright.
The Passing of the Third Floor Back was scripted by Michael Hogan (A Yank at Oxford, King Solomon's Mines, Rebecca) and Alma Reville (best known as Alfred Hitchcock's wife and close collaborator on all of his film projects). The film was directed by the Austrian playwright, poet, actor, and stage and film director Berthold Viersal, whose wide-ranging career brought him first to Germany, then England, then America, then back to Germany, then fleeing the Third Reich and heading back to America before finally moving back to Europe in the early Fifties to direct stage work.
Enjoy this small classic.