Cold War Noir.
- The Third Man review by Steve Mason
Voted by the BFI the best British film of all. Carol Reed made it on amphetamines, shooting round the clock on the streets (and sewers) of Vienna. This is an edgy, pessimistic, infinitely melancholic film. It has its humour, but even the rat-a-tat of irony and mustn't-grumble make do that is a given in all British films of the post-war era is muted here.
The atmosphere of the divided, devastated post war Vienna is profound thanks to brilliant locations, the dialogue, both philosophical and laconic (Trevor Howard was born to snap out these terse exchanges), and Robert Krasker's off kilter expressionist photography.
Best of all is Graham Greene's thrilling but elegiac script of Harry Lime (Orson Welles), unscrupulous trafficker in the ruined city as it slips from the World War into the Cold War. Ultra-realistic, yet poetical. Probably the greatest original screenplay in cinema.
The film is a sequence of brilliant scenes from Carol Reed's opening clipped narrative overture, to the stunning coda at the cemetery. Few films will end with the hero, not only not getting the girl, but the girl living out her life in memory of a psychopath. It is a fascinating, flawless work of suspense and fabulous moral complexity.
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Outstanding for its time
- The Third Man review by JD
For a 1949 film it is a masterpiece. It richly deserves to have won the cinematography award. I do not think modern cinematography is better, it has just got a few more tricks. The style of acting has since changed alot and mainly for the good. It is very theatrical and projected especially Orson who sometimes looks as though he is doing Bob Hope impressions. Well worth a nostalgic trip.
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful.