Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index Flipside Movie Emporium
Discussion Forums Locked & Archived for Browsing
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Third Man

 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:43 pm    Post subject: The Third Man Reply with quote

Since I didn't have much to do, I decided to finally write a review of one of my favorite films of all time, The Third Man. So, here you go, enjoy. And while you're at it, be kind enough as to discuss and share your thoughts on the film.

The Third M?n reviews The Third Man



The Third Man is a film that has grown on me. Every time I see it there is something new about it, and that makes me love it even more. It is a picture that must be seen repeatedly in order to truly appreciate its qualities and sheer brilliance. Because, there?s no denying, director Carol Reed reached the peak of his form with this classic noir, an elegy for American innocence and European elegance. And why? Well, I guess the reason is quite simple; The Third Man is sheer brilliance. One could safely say that it is a good film, but, of course, to do so would be absolute madness. Not only would that be an understatement, (although it does lean a bit towards blasphemy), whoever said so should get their brain checked. Honestly, I can?t praise this film enough. Perhaps saying this is a clich?, but it has genius written all over it, it?s so palpable you could even feel it if you touched the TV screen with your fingertips. To not fully comprehend the mastermind and virtuosity of it all would be a very dreadful thing to do. The Third Man is without a doubt one of the finest motion pictures of all time.

Joseph Cotten, in fine form, stars as unemployed pulp-novelist Holly Martins. When he arrives in post-WWII Vienna on the promise of a job from his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), he finds that Lime has recently died in a dubious car accident. Against the advice of British sector authority Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), who accuses Lime of criminal behaviour, the indignant Martins decides to stay to investigate his friend's death. He searches this city of rubble-strewn streets and bombed-out buildings, earnestly questioning Lime's associates, a cynical, war-weary collection of black-market hustlers. At length, he realizes that the stories he's hearing are so full of contradiction, he's getting nowhere. Yet, he's entranced by Lime's beautiful ex-girlfriend, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), who, unlike the others, seems to have loved Harry. Calloway finally provides evidence of Harry's treachery, and Martins, despondent, is about to return home when everything changes in a shadowed moment.

The first thing you realise when watching this film is that the director really knows what he?s doing. Carol Reed?s direction is pitch-perfect and very assured. It is evident that he understands the material he?s dealing with, and, besides treating it well, that he uses everything at his disposal to get the best out of it. Working from the fantastically written script by Graham Greene, Reed builds up the tension right from the beginning, thus keeping the viewer?s interest at a very high level. And, surprisingly, the director manages to finely maintain the suspense from the moment Martins arrives until the incredible denouement. On the whole, Reed takes leads the film onto the right path which profoundly convinces us with its inspiring cinematic purity.

As for the acting, what can I say? Joseph Cotten is brilliant in the main role; he?s like a foundation upon which the rest of the performances are built, as it is so pivotal. Not only does he show exceeding signs of talent and huge charisma, but he also demonstrates his versatility and generosity as a performer. Then there?s Allida Vali, who helped by Cotten, is excellent in her role, too. But the person who truly eats you heart out is the one and only Orson Welles. Though his screen time is considerably brief, there?s just no getting around it; from his stunningly executed revelation scene you can?t help but admire that sheer flair of his with which he acts, oh so ever wonderfully. When he was offered the role of Harry Lime he instantly accepted it, not only to be part of Reed?s movie but also because he needed money for his screen adaptation of Shakespeare?s Othello. And thank God he did that. Even though Welles? character is afforded little time, his enigmatic presence is felt in every scene as though he were actually there. So right from the moment we first see him he doesn?t just appear, he bursts onto the screen, quite literally, and we are immediately captivated. From then on, with his usual dominating countenance, he reigns over the rest of the actors and over the whole movie, really. Welles embodies the role of Harry Lime in such a flawless way that the mystique which had been cleverly and acutely developed around the character does not evaporate. It actually stays with you, and you still find yourself asking questions about him and wondering. And the scenes featuring him interacting with Cotten are some of the most memorable, especially the one that takes place on the Ferris wheel (also, let?s not forget that this film was a re-union for both of them, as they starred together in Welles? own Citizen Kane).

One of the other most glorious elements which make up The Third Man is the cinematography by Robert Krasker (for which he won an Academy Award, and deservedly so). Filmed in stark black and white, it masterfully makes use of shadows, contrasting the light with the dark in a supreme way and portraying a post-war Vienna at night as a bleakly frightening world where the most unexpected may occur. Krasker transforms Vienna into a coruscating, expressionist nightmare with great fluidity and skill, further developing the stylish visual mood of the film. The cinematography is very angular as well, and often you discover that it tilts the camera slightly to a side, both expressing and reflecting the characters? anxieties. It?s extraordinary, arguably the greatest black and white cinematography to have ever been put on celluloid. And one has to admit that without Kanras, the final confrontation in the sewers wouldn?t have worked, since his work plays a crucial part in the unforgettable sequence.

Overall, The Third Man works on so many different dimensions that one needn?t wonder why it is considered to be such a classic. It?s a magnificent thriller filled with love, mystery, poetry and subtle satire that succeeds as a gorgeous example of what film noir ought to be like. Not only that, it also reminds us of the magic of filmmaking and the joy of seeing really worthwhile movies with a bag of popcorn in our hands. Utterly absorbing and intensely gratifying, The Third Man is a film worth seeing a hundred times. From the beginning, it gets you hooked and doesn?t let go until the end. It?s a masterpiece featuring remarkable performances, great writing and directing, not excluding the spellbinding classic zither score by Anton Kanras. The complete effect it has on you is as impressive as it is bewildering; it leaves you both fascinated and baffled but above all, it leaves you wondering why they don?t make movies like these any more.

*****/*****

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, where do you post your reviews??? I'd like to see some more.
_________________
Danny Baldwin

View My Reviews
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said, I just finished writing this one. I have about 13 written reviews (Mulholland Dr. , Lawrence of Arabia, Halloween, Pulp Fiction, etc). They can all be found in the MRQE because I used to post them in MovieJustice, but then I got suspended and decided to join this website (which, I can tell you, is way superior). I don't know, I suppose I'm doing all this so that I can deeply convince Michael to put my reviews in his website. Hope's a good thing, isn't it?

By the way, my actual name's Pablo Hernandez. So, go to MovieJustice's Movie Vault, onto "Browse by reviewer" and click on my name.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.15.2003 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who here's actually seen The Third Man and what do you think of it? Opinions, people, I need opinons! [/enthusiastic voice]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 09.15.2003 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't tell you how happy I was when I first saw your name and logo: "The Third Man" is my fourth favorite movie of all time (whenever I've tried to make a list, it changes drastically every time, but "Third Man" always remains strongly near the top). The performances by Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, to quote Sam Spade, are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.15.2003 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talking of Sam Spade, I saw The Maltese Falcon last night. That line is brilliant, and so is the film, of course. Since I'm really getting into flim noir I'm thinking of buying Polanski's Chinatown. Have you seen it, Matt?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 09.15.2003 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Chinatown is an excellent movie, and I was surprised by its very dark twist, which is not the stuff of normal mainstream Hollywood film noir, even one directed by Roman Polanski. I'd say it's probably one of the darkest (if not in visuals, then certainly in subject matter) detective stories I've ever seen, and it's surprisingly powerful. Nicholson gives a performance that forsakes his usual scenery-chewing for real intensity. I love Roman Polanski, though, so I might be biased.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.15.2003 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might be biased, too, when I eventually see the film and get to call it a "masterpiece". I loved The Pianist and Repulsion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001-2007 phpBB Group