Edited by kenmorefield, 13 December 2005 - 10:39 AM.
The Third Man
Posted 08 June 2005 - 12:14 PM
Posted 08 June 2005 - 03:47 PM
Posted 08 June 2005 - 03:54 PM
I REALLY wanted to like this. And I'll probably try again.
On the other hand, I just caught Arsenic and Old Lace and hated it! Tracy's only comedic ability is the double take. It got very tiresome. I will never give it another go.
Edited by DanBuck, 08 June 2005 - 03:56 PM.
Posted 08 June 2005 - 07:49 PM
I also love Harry Lime's speech from the top of the ferris wheel.
Posted 08 June 2005 - 11:19 PM
I'm starting to like noir where the participants aren't private investigators or cops but are insurance salesmen or writers.... yet somehow they all act exactly like Bogart.
Also I'll confess that I was somewhat shocked by the fact that there was female nudity in this film. I suppose I thought film nudity was more taboo at the time than it actually was.
Edited by theoddone33, 08 June 2005 - 11:21 PM.
Posted 16 June 2005 - 08:56 AM
I smell a Movie Landmarks list coming.
Posted 30 January 2010 - 04:55 PM
This is one of my favorite films of all time. The interplay between optimism/innocence on the part of Joseph Cotten's Holly Martins and cynicism/experience on the part of Orson Welles' Harry Lime sets up an interesting dynamic both in the film itself and in the relationship between the viewer and the events onscreen. As I noted in a 'blog entry a while back,
Even the audience couldn't get rid of Lime. After "The Third Man," Lime's popularity led to a radio show and, later still, a television series. Lime was tamed into a lovable rogue more related to Martins' fantasy of him than the character we see onscreen who coolly calculates how many human lives he can afford to spend in order to get rich. It's as if Lime is a part of ourselves that we can't look straight out without toning him down; he is the romantic, unrealistic, unrealized and unrealizable ideal. He is us as we would like to be--the devil may care, but we won't. We wanted Robin Hood, and we got Al Capone.
Perhaps this is what makes "The Third Man" work so well for me; it pretends to let us have and eat our cake--the romantic Harry Lime that Martins is convinced must exist is still there, even under the grinning, affably evil face presented by the man himself. And then, we're forced to denounce this dream even as Martins denounces it at last in the sewer. It's quite a clever trap. We are forced to put the old man (ironically, Lime's pet expression for Martins!) to death, to kill our darlings, to renounce childish things in the most violent way possible. We must hold the gun with Martins.
Roger Ebert's got a pretty great review up on his website. In it, he compares The Third Man to Casablanca, and I think he is right in this. Indeed, Holly Martins' journey is pretty much the reverse of Rick's; where Rick moves from experience to a kind of reborn innocence/hopefulness, Martins moves from innocence to bewildered experience--and the movement is also reversed in terms of community. Rick moves from isolation (where everyone except Sam is either a client or a competitor) to spiritual community with Ilsa and Laszlo and spatial community with Renault. In contrast, Martins moved from (imagined) community with Lime and Anna to isolation. He ends the movie in the same position Rick occupies at the beginning of Casablanca.
Anyway, those are some disjointed thoughts. I 'blogged a more detailed response to Ebert's review at my 'blog.
For the search engine: Graham Greene, Carol Reed, Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Harry Lime, Holly Martins. "The Third Man"
Posted 30 January 2010 - 08:43 PM
Posted 31 January 2010 - 04:04 AM
It's also interesting to consider the impact that screenwriter Graham Greene had on the film. Last year a read a couple of his novels, and this film feels apiece with Greene's other works, both for its sense of location and the moral interrogations. Like THE QUIET AMERICAN it is a portrait of duty and morality in a crumbling Old World empire, and the unsuspecting, naive Americans who are eager to pick up the pieces.
Posted 01 February 2010 - 12:32 AM
Actually, now that I think of it, The Fallen Idol is another interesting point of connection because the boy's relationship to the butler is analogous to Martins' relationship with Harry Lime. In each case, the "experienced" character is an almost godlike figure, mythic in his exploits and personally mesmerizing to the "innocent" character. Both films develop through the "innocent" character's developing view of the object of his worship, and climax with the him making a choice that changes the dynamic between them completely. You could even go so far as to suggest a parallel between the mother in Idol and Anna in The Third Man as a kind of unreachable female--although, of course (and thanks, if I'm correct to the same intuition on the part of Reed that led to The Third Man getting a not-happy ending) the child
Edited by NBooth, 01 February 2010 - 12:33 AM.
Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:04 PM
Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the film, Nathanael. It's nice to have another Third Man partisan around here. And the parallels with The Fallen Idol are interesting. Greene's final collaboration with Reed was Our Man in Havana. Have you seen that one?
Edited by Nathaniel, 01 February 2010 - 11:06 PM.
Posted 03 February 2010 - 12:35 PM
FWIW, I listened to a lecture on iTunes one time on "The Third Man and Existentialism" that tied the match-throwing in the final scene to a moment earlier where he apparently does the same thing. The professor pointed out that both were moments of confusion for Martins. Does that make sense to you at all? (Last time I watched it, I totally missed the first match-throwing moment).
I just managed to see Our Man in Havana a couple of months ago. I liked it pretty well--pre-Revolutionary Havana is certainly a different kind of world than post-War Vienna, and it's realized pretty well. It's interesting to see Noel Coward as the British agent, since (apparently) the producers pushed for Coward to play Harry Lime. (It was especially odd to watch, however, since after reading the book I rushed out to rent The Tailor of Panama, and so had that movie associated in my mind with Greene's novel).