Berthold Viertel – The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)

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David Cairns wrote:
I’ve now seen the film, and I thought it was excellent. Imperfect, yes, but fascinating and unique. The closest comparison I can come up with is Strange Cargo, Frank Borzage’s weird religious allegory which deals with a gang of convicts escaping from a tropical prison island, finding salvation along the way. But The Passing of the Third Floor Left brings its rogues’ gallery into contact with the numinous in a modern London hotel.

What both films have in common is Jesus, encorpsified (to use Flann O’Brien’s word) as a convict in the Borzage and as a myseterious tenant in Berthold Viertel’s film. More to the point, embodied by the august personage of Conrad Veidt, whose presence makes Viertel’s expressionist touches seem wholly legitimate and rooted in the old world of Caligari. Continue reading Berthold Viertel – The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)