Tuesday 10 February 2009

The Third Man [1949]

Carol Reed’s The Third Man isn’t just famous for being a definitive example of film noir, but also for the charismatic presence of Orson Welles as the cynical and delectably amoral antagonist. Further, despite film noirs being, in essence, an American enterprise, a number of great noir movies have been made in other countries as well; case in point – the two Nouvelle Vague masterpieces, Breathless and Shoot the Piano Player. The Third Man, similarly, is a British classic, though it never aimed to be a genre-bending film like its French counterparts. The story, aided by a tremendous background score and an equally captivating cinematography, revolves around an American pulp fiction novelist, who arrives in post-War Vienna to find that his best friend Harry Lime has been accidentally killed. However, the deeper he delves into the apparently simple hit-and-run case, the murkier the situation starts getting, finally culminating into the now legendary climax in the dank and labyrinthine underground sewer. What finally emerges is a heavily atmospheric tale littered with such iconic ingredients as decrepit city, dark alleys, half-truths, black marketers, damsel in distress et al.

Note: My recent review of the film can be found here.

Director: Carol Reed
Genre: Film Noir/Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Language: English
Country: UK


Amritorupa Kanjilal said...

hi shubhajit. a long ago,i watched a movie(naam mone nei) that had a very similar story. this movie had two actors who were also in citizen kane. i'm sorry for sounding like a total ignorumus, but am i talking about the same movie?

thank you for liking my post. i had hoped to disgruntle a few people at least but that does't seem to be working so far. hope you drop by to read what i write now and then.

Shubhajit said...

Thats allright. Even Einstein didn't know everything about physics (that's a guess of course), leave alone common mortals like us.

Yeah you're right, both Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton (the guy who played the protagonist here) were there in Citizen Kane as well. Though if you'd watched this movie I'm sure you would remember the elaborate climax that takes place in the city's sewerage network.

And well, I too love to disgruntle puritans and moralists. But for a cynic like me, a post like that ends up being a good read instead of being a source of discomfort ;)

By the way, loved your blog pic.

Anonymous said...

This is one film I regret missing.

Shubhajit said...

I hope you'll get to correct that regret sooner rather than later considering the number of films you watch :)