9.16.2007

Top 50 - #7 - The Third Man

Oh, do I love the Third Man's crooked frames, and the grin on Orson Welles' face when light is finally shed upon him. Do I love Joseph Cotton's sad, drunk Holly Martins, who despite his tough guy exterior really is just a naive romantic at heart. Do I love Valli's wistful looks and Vienna's corrupted, crumbling ruins.

Did I hum Anton Karas' zither tunes all night after seeing this film again last Friday? Yes, indeed I did.

There's just so much here. Though the chase through the sewers is a little repetitive and long when seen for the n'th time, the lighting is still amazing, and that shot of Harry Lime's fingers through the grate? Fantastic. The ferris wheel scene is perfect, full of tension and then, of course, that speech. And let's, of course, not forget the final shot: Valli walks towards the camera, towards Holly, for what seems like an eternity, and then, without even a glance, walks out of a the frame. Holly lights a cigarette. Throws away the match. The End.

I won't write too much here as my next VersPers piece will be about this movie, but still: if you haven't seen it...what are you waiting for?
Next up: after a movie about the third man, a movie about three men.

Incidentally: if one of these "next-up" things makes you want to take a guess, feel free to do so in the comments. No prizes will be awarded, but it always nice to be right, right? Also, check out the link list -->

And now, with due thanks to the Shamus

1 comment:

cjKennedy said...

I just watched The Third Man recently along with Casablanca and Steven Soderbergh's The Good German. I was hoping to link them in some way but my line of thinking on that hasn't quite gotten off the ground. Anyway, the important thing is that this movie grows on me every time I see it.

The ending to me is one of the harshest and saddest ever. As an American, I perhaps identify with Holly Martens and I feel bad for him.

He's not to bright, and he's naive but he's an optimist and he means well and he just wants to do the right thing. The sad thing is that despite his best intentions, he's a blunderer totally out of his element and he just makes the problem worse before it resolves itself on its own.

As the lovely Valli passes him by, you see he's failed and been stripped of the only thing he had going for him which was his optimism and sense of correctness.

He doesn't even end up with the girl.

It's a slap in the face to the way Americans behave in the world and the way we're perceived and it stings because it's accurate.

Sorry, didn't mean to go all political there! :)

My guess for #6: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.