Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Third Man (Carol Reed - 1949)
"Alright, Calloway, you win. I'll be your dumb decoy duck"
Oh Zither, Zither, how I can't get enough of that zither sound...
Number 65 on The List is Carol Reed's post-war British film-noir classic 'The Third Man'. One of my favourite films already, it was a pleasure to watch it again after some time.
I first encountered this film in the film class, where I studied it whilst living admist Eastern Europe, in a setting that nearly matched that of the film. It was exciting to watch this film while living in Prague, and seeing it now takes back to 2001, and the cobblestoned streets thereof.
An excellent mystery, The Third Man is the story of Holly Martens, "a hack writer who drinks too much", who arrives in sketchy, black-market-ridden post-war Vienna, to find that his friend (the wonderfully named Harry Lime) is dead. Circumstances surrounding his death are sketchy, and Martens is determined to find out 'the truth'.
The suspenseful and well-crafted solving of that mystery is just part of what makes The Third Man a great noir.
Also remarkable is, of course, the fantastic & quirky musical score (zither!), and the black & white "expressionist cinematography", in particular - bizarre camera angles. Add to this the dodgy eastern european characters and locations, and the brilliance of Joseph Cotte, Allida Valli and Orson Welles' performances, and you have one grrrreat film, which I definitely give