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Three Strangers

Three Strangers(1946)

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In London, during Chinese New Year in 1938, Crystal Shakleford brings two strangers, Jerome K. Arbutny and John West, to her apartment. There, Crystal keeps a statue of the Chinese goddess Kwan Yin, which according to legend, will open its eyes and heart to three strangers at the stroke of midnight, and whatever they ask for, it will grant. West suggests that the others buy into his sweepstakes ticket, and they agree that if their horse is chosen, they will not sell the ticket, but will hold it until the Grand National is run. While they wait for midnight, Crystal says she will use her share of the money to get her husband back; Arbutny hopes the money will ensure his election to the Barrister's Club; and West wants to buy a bar so that he can drink in peace. Before the clock is finished striking, a breeze extinguishes the candle lighting the idol, making it impossible to determine if her eyes actually open. After the men leave, Crystal's husband David arrives and, when she begs him to return, explains that he has fallen in love with Janet Elliott and has only come to ask her for a divorce. West, meanwhile, returns to the room where he has been hiding after a robbery in which he was an innocent participant ended in murder. Waiting with him are Gabby and Icy Crane, who is to provide the alibi for Fallon, the murderer, who is now in jail. Arbutny has been embezzling from the account of Lady Rhea Belladon, a widow who believes that she can communicate with her dead husband. At Fallon's trial, Icy's statement is revealed to be a lie, so Fallon changes his plea to guilty and accuses Gabby and West of participating in the murder. Later, while trying to escape, West is arrested. A vengeful Crystal visits her husband's superior and reveals that he has left her for another woman. She then visits Janet and lies that David is coming back to her because she is pregnant. Arbutny proposes marriage to Lady Rhea, and this uncharacteristic action prompts her to have her books examined, as advised by her dead husband. Exposed as a thief, Arbutny prepares to kill himself when he sees in the paper that his sweepstakes horse will run. He immediately tries to convince Crystal to sell the ticket, but she reminds him that they agreed to let the bet ride on the race. Gabby, meanwhile, attacks Fallon while he is on his way to prison, and before he dies, Fallon clears West. After his release, West learns about the results of the sweepstakes and hurries to Crystal's apartment. Meanwhile, when he cannot convince Crystal to sell the ticket, a desperate Arbutny kills her with the statue of Kwan Yin. Ironically, their horse wins the race, but because they need Crystal's signature on the ticket, the men cannot collect their reward. Driven crazy by his act, Arbutny confesses the murder to the police. West returns to the bar to get drunk, and Icy, who has fallen in love with him, joins him to laugh over their fate.