The Third Man (1949) – Film-Noir

In this film starring Joseph Cotten, Valli, and Orson Welles, an American western writer (Cotten) travels to post-war Vienna to meet a friend. Upon arriving he learns that his buddy has been killed in an accident. Not quite satisfied, he does some of his own investigating and along the way meets his friend’s beautiful lover (Valli). Together they try to cope and make sense of the loose ends. However, neither of them expected the shocking evidence which was to come. Who is the Third Man and where is he? Made in the film-noir fashion, The Third Man utilizes lighting and contrasting black and white cinematography effectively. The actual on location shooting in post-war Vienna helps add to the gritty realism. Although simple, the score comprised solely of zither music is no less powerful.

This movie will have you engrossed in the mysterious occurrences since The Third Man simply has some good twists. Whether Holly Martins is whisked away in a car, Harry Lime makes a dramatic entrance or Lime runs away into the sewer system, many of the moments are full of intrigue. I also think this is one of Orson Welles finest performances, because although his screen time is minimal, he has such a tremendous impact on the film. He portrays a very mysterious character in Harry Lime who certainly has his complexities. The ironic and abrupt ending seems to close the film just as it began. However, so much happens in the course of events. The film is even realistic in the language and dialogue, showing the differences between people. Because when it all comes down to it this film may revolve around one man, but it is really about the varying relationships between people.

5/5 Stars

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