nearly all been said about this film – but hell – let’s
have another go. On the off chance you haven’t seen this movie
– stop reading now and go get it on DVD…don’t ruin
a masterpiece by reading some spoilers on a website!!
from the black and white frames, to the blatantly melodious music, to
the brilliant cast and direction suggest that portraying the hard knocks
of reality may be comforting too. ‘The Third Man’ is foremost
a film about catching a scoundrel but the telling of this tale is far
more interesting from the imaginative cinematography of shadows and
slants and quick takes of ordinary people to the playfulness of this
quirky story by novelist Graham Greene. Just how can you get away with
throwing in odd pieces like a parrot and a finicky cat and make it an
integral part of a film? How can mispronounced or misnamed characters
bring out laughter at the most inappropriate times? How ever in the
world can such lines like,
friend of Harry's is a friend of mine'
‘All the Swiss have to show for their
500 years of democracy is a cuckoo clock?'
and my favourite,
sensible Martins … I haven't got a sensible name'
in the hands of a master like Carol Reed, the dialogue and action just
effortlessly take you from pillar to post. For example, the mysterious
Harry Lime doesn't show up until the last half of the film but his subsequent
appearances are so anticipated and his character so dominating you feel
you have experienced him much more.
life of the avid film-goer can actually be a depressing, disillusioning
thing. After the initial gleeful devouring of the canon (about 300 movies),
and the joyous stumbling over the odd undiscovered gem, the cineaste
must be content with an endless trail of largely diminishing returns.
The only counter against this is brilliant films which never disappoint
on the 18th viewing, such as Vertigo, The Wizard Of Oz, The Wild Bunch...
...and The Third Man, a film containing such multitudes that it makes
you forget that the majority of British cinema is parochial, unambitious,
self-satisfied rubbish. A great film is by definition a labyrinth: whatever
your mood, be it emotional or intellectual, you pick up a new thread
of interpretation, and find yourself in places you've never been before,
yet by the end, everything still doesn't quite fit, and you have to
begin again. And you know that there is nothing in the world you want
to do more.