Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Third Man

An American writer (Joseph Cotten), author of pulpy, dime store novels, travels to postwar Vienna upon learning of the death of his friend Harry Lime. There he becomes involved in the investigation of his mysterious death, meets his friends and a girlfriend (Alida Valli), and learns the disturbing truth behind his disappearance and the illicit black market doings of his childhood pal. Carol Reed's The Third Man is a darkly atmospheric, cynical, and brilliantly directed film ingeniously written by Graham Greene. Featuring fine performances from Cotten, Valli, Trevor Howard, and a diabolical Orson Welles, whom you can't help but question how deep his involvement was with this production, with its off-centered camera and high-angled shots which so perfectly capture a desperate city as well the dark and shadowy essences of Noir. This is about as unforgettable as a film can get, and scenes like Welles' famous entrance, the Ferris wheel & cuckoo clock speech segment, the chase through the sewers, and Valli's haunting closing walk down the elm tree lined lane are just a few of its highlights.