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I'm watching this film for about the hundredth time, and I am still amazed at how this film can be so well made.

 

The lighting is perfect, the music, the acting, the srcipt, the locations. How can anyone or any group of people make such a perfect movie?

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I agree Fred. My fav. I probably watch it 3-4 times a year. I assume you have read the book out on the behind the scenes story about it and all the negotiations etc.., Makes it even more incredible and worth the price. One of those films that could never ever be remade at least not well.

Al

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I?m just amazed at how films like this can be made, especially considering how many people have to be involved.

 

It?s like being amazed at how one guy like Michelangelo can paint the Sistine Chapel all by himself. And how can a large team of technicians can produce such an artistic movie.

 

Little subtle scenes, like the cut-away of Sgt. Paine leafing through the newspaper while Martins and Calloway are talking in that first bar. And the leaves falling on the narrow road during that last scene at the end. The old balloon man. The incredible outdoor lighting at night, which of course was enhanced by wetting down the streets so they would reflect light and shine. And all those Austrian faces and the Austrian actors, and the music. Nobody had ever heard zither music before in any American movie, and here was a whole movie with non-stop zither music. I remember hearing the music long before I saw the movie. It was on American juke boxes back in 1949, listed as ?The Third Man Theme?. But I didn?t get to see the movie until the 1960s.

 

The cleverness of holding off on introducing Orson Welles until well into the film. That helped the audience to forget that he was supposed to be in the movie.

 

And Dr. Winkel, and his raised eyebrows when Martin was about to say, ?Could he have been pushed?? And the fine acting by the porter, and the creepy guys Kurtz and Popescu.

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my favorite scene in this charmer (other than wells' entrance, but of course) is when they are in the ferris wheel high in the air. the first time i saw it, the suspense was killing me as to whether cotten would plundge to his death. you just can't remake movies like this... there's no way to repeat the suspense it had in the time it was made. movies are so predictable now, and stars just fail to hold that kind of attention from the audience.

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Fred, I simply cannot get into this movie, and I wish someone could tell me what it is that keeps me from liking it. I just don't know.

 

For me, the only time things come to sputtering life are when Orson come on the screen and, of course that music. I have no warm feelings for J. Cotten, so I suppose that's part of it, but I don't feel anything in this movie. I strives to be atmospheric and full of intrigue, but all I get is blah. I wish I knew what I was missing here. Well . . . you can't love them all, I suppose.

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Don't feel bad JDB.

I am the same way about Hitchcock films. Never liked any of them but I keep trying. I am very well aware that I am in the minority. I find them sloppy very often in terms of details and that keeps me from feeling the suspense. I keep trying though.

 

Al

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Yep. I faithfully watch broadcasts of "Third Man" whenever I can, and I still can't see what all the fuss is about. I appreciate the idea of the film, I just don't like the execution much. Ah, well. If there wasn't "The Third Man," there wouldn't be "The Theme from The Third Man," so I suppose it had to be.

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The Third Man is definitely one of my favorite movies, yet it's one of those that I try not to watch a lot. I'm not sure why--there are movies I can watch over and over, but I like to revisit this one on occasion. The ending though, is fantastic. I like the unhappy ending for some reason. It just fits the movie perfectly.

 

I love the casting as well. I'm biased because I love Joseph Cotten. I know they originally wanted Cary Grant for the role of Holly Martins and I just can't see that. Cary Grant would have been too suave and sophisticated, while Joseph Cotten always had this weariness about him that was suited for the part. It's also the movie that introduced me to Trevor Howard, who I love as well. I always thought he was a tremendously underrated character actor.

 

One of the funniest things I read was in Cotten's autobiography--apparently, Trevor Howard went out drinking in his colonel's uniform, had a little too much and became a little too loud. The people actually thought he was a real colonel, but when they found out he was just in costume, he was arrested for impersonating an officer! Carol Reed and the production people somehow managed to get him out of jail and then gave him the day off. I love little stories like that.

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?Fred, I simply cannot get into this movie, and I wish someone could tell me what it is that keeps me from liking it. I just don't know.?

 

Well, don?t worry about it. There are some kinds of classic films that I don?t care for, such as musicals. But I can understand why a lot of other people like them.

 

There are many things about ?The Third Man? that make it interesting to me. First, all the great foreign actors, who are so good, I can?t understand why they didn?t make more American and English movies.

 

And of course the beautiful moody photography, and the non-stop music in the background... unique music that is beautiful and intriguing and reminds me of a visit to some European country where zithers are as popular as our banjos and guitars and as popular as Russian balalaikas.

 

And then there is Joseph Cotten, who is supposed to represent all us average guys, who gets the big job offer from an old friend and he?s so excited to go to this strange country and get to work. Then he finds out that his friend is dead, but there is some considerable mystery surrounding his death. So he sets out to help solve his friend?s ?murder?, then he gradually finds out that his friend was a bad crook and wasn?t murdered at all.

 

That plot alone just seems like an interesting theme to me, an interesting plot that is not common.

 

Ok, so I learned everything about the mystery and the plot 35 years ago, but I think the acting is so good by all the characters, I like to see them going over it all again. It?s like watching an opera. Sure I?ve heard all the tunes in La Traviata many times, but I like to hear them again and again.

 

Why do we listen to the same music CD over and over? We hear it once, so we know the theme of the music, so why listen to it a hundred times? Because we like to hear it a hundred times. So I like to see this movie a hundred times.

 

I?m still so impressed with Dr. Winkel?s acting, when he raises his eyebrows when Cotten is about to ask him about Harry Lime being pushed. That?s the best eyebrow raising I?ve ever seen in the movies. Again, to me, the film itself is like listening to beautiful music over and over, and the whole film is filled with great acting like that.

 

It?s the same with me about ?Treasure of the Sierra Madre?. I know everything that is going to happen, I keep telling Curtin to tie up Dobbs every night on their way back into the village, but he never listens to me, but watching that film keeps fascinating me over and over.

 

It?s the same with anyone who watches their favorite movies again and again, such as ?Casablanca? or the same silly Marx Brothers movies again and again.

 

One thing I like about it is because I used to have fun going into various Latin Ameican countries I had never been to, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Yucatan in Mexico, Campeche in Mexico. Guatemala, Mexico City. All ?mysterious? places when I entered them for the first time.

 

And when Joseph Cotten goes around in Vienna, a place he knows nothing about, I know what a real person in such a situation would be feeling... both ?at home?, since there are other humans in Vienna, and in an ?alien world? at the same time, since they all speak foreign languages and some of them could wind up arresting or killing him. That alone is a big thrill for guys like me who like to go to strange out-of-the-way places.

 

And then Joseph Cotten falls in love with the girl. But the girl sees nothing in him, and I?ve had that experience before too. So I know what the guy's character is feeling at the end of the movie, and especially at the end of that last brilliant scene. To me, that is so much like real life, it's not a movie at all.

 

So don?t worry if you don?t like ?The Third Man.? You might see some other movie that I?ve overlooked that has great acting, photography, and music in it, and that will be your favorite movie, while I just ?don?t get it.? Frankly, I watched ?Our Man in Havana? twice, and I just don?t get it. It is a well-made movie, but I just don?t get it. It?s got a 30-minute plot, stretched out to a two-hour movie, and it puts me to sleep.

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sugarpus, I agree. Sometimes I force myself to not watch ?The Third Man? for more than a year, and then when I do watch it I see scenes in it that I can?t remember seeing before. Lol, maybe that?s because I?m getting old. Maybe in another 10 years I won?t remember any of it, and I can spend the rest of my life watching this one movie over and over again.

 

To me, I feel about it like I?ve read what other people have said about ?Casablanca?. Movies like this, set in strange places in strange times in history, are so intriguing. And where in life will any of us meet real smugglers, black-marketers, heroes of the French Resistance, and so many handsome men and beautiful women like in those two movies?

 

While my own older personality now is probably more like Humphrey Bogart in ?Treasure of the Sierra Madre? (old cranky Fred C. Dobbs), I like to think of myself being more like Joseph Cotten in ?The Third Man.? And of course I like to think of myself trying to solve the ?murder? of my friend, no matter how many Vienna criminals chase me and try to kill me! Ahh, I am such a ?hero? when I watch these old movies. When I?m not watching them, I?m an old nobody.

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I think Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard were a great combination of the characters played in The Third Man. Although Welles had a smaller part than his usual starring roles, he was far superior with his performance than the dreaded "Touch of Evil" to for me is and will be a nightmare to watch. It's funny how to me Welles either is hit or miss with his movies. The fact that he did not direct this film probably made it better than if he did. I never tire of the movie and sometimes have a surrealistic impression while watching it. A classic in every sense of the word!

 

Message was edited by:

aftermath

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> To me, I feel about it like I?ve read what other

> people have said about ?Casablanca?. Movies like

> this, set in strange places in strange times in

> history, are so intriguing. And where in life will

> any of us meet real smugglers, black-marketers,

> heroes of the French Resistance, and so many handsome

> men and beautiful women like in those two movies?

 

I think a lot of the "mystery" of The Third Man is the Post War Vienna setting. It's a little seedy, but still classy and mysterious. Everyone talks about Orson Wells entrance, but for some reason, I love when Joseph Cotten makes his first appearance, coming into the shot on the train. It's so simple, but it's memorable (at least to me it is). And how smitten he becomes with Valli, only to have her completely ignore him at the end. It's a very realistic movie in that sense, because the guy doesn't get the beautiful woman and they live happily ever after. And I like that.

 

But I think you nailed exactly why I love to watch classic movies in that paragraph. I love those 50s era movies where a bunch of girls visit Italy and then, one by one, proceed to fall in love with some handsome stranger willing to sweep them off their feet. Watching classics are like being transported to a time that I'll never get to live through--the world has become such a complicated, terrible place--and yet these movies allow me to daydream for just a few hours.

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There are a lot of movies that I was not impressed with the first time through. Casablanca, (the greatest movie ever made, tee hee), was difficult for my young self to understand the first time at the time. Over the years, it has grown on me so that I can't see it enough.

 

I said elsewhere that I just got this channel. I am so excited! I'm looking forward to seeing some great movies.

 

X

 

http://x-evolutionist.spaces.live.com/

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I love classic film, however, only saw this one for the first time several months ago. Love Joseph Cotton in Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" but can't get into this one. Reasons? The music drives me crazy! That same zither playing that same melody LOUDLY over and over again! I believe film music should add to the plot, unobtrusively. The "Third Man Theme" keeps reminding me that I am watching a movie and distracts me from losing myself in it. The mystery of Welles' death and the third man involved leaves me cold. If I had some familiarity with Welles' character BEFORE the murder maybe I would care more about the circumstances behind his death. Lastly, I have a theory behind Orson's late and idiosyncratic appearance in this film... he was too FAT! Notice how we only see his face in the shadow, then he (or his double) runs away. This reminds me very much of Francis Ford Coppola's use of Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now" (which I also do not like, too "cartoonish"),

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Well, I have to admit, I do love The Third Man theme, but it gets annoying to me, too, especially at the very beginning of the movie. The musician can not keep time at all. The tempo gets faster and slower and practicically adds beats to measures.

 

It's got a nice beat, but you can't dance to it. My hubby and I both have a musical background. He doesn't likie old movies, but I asked him to at least listen to the music at the beginning for his edification. I had forgotten how badly out of beat it was, and that was all my hubby noticed. Oh, well.

 

X

 

http://x-evolutionist.spaces.live.com/

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that's a shame, XE. it's hard living in a home where you are the lone person who enjoys these films. trust me, i should know.

 

the music to this film was annoying... esp. since this is the kind of film you want to watch over and over again, and i actually have a head ache after watching it... it's all the speading up and slowing down of the tempo - which i'm convinced was a half hearted way of masking that it is nearly the same song through out the entire picture.

 

johnpressman:

lol, i don't recall orson being any fatter than in some of his other later films... he must have been eatin' right! i wonder if his weight actually hindered his acting career, as everything seemed to be about appearances in hollywood. i saw 'the stranger' and he seemed a little thinner in that one, but maybe that was earlier in his career.

 

bhf1940

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> ?That same zither playing that same melody LOUDLY

> over and over again!?

>

> Yeah, ain?t it great!

>

> Hey, let?s listen to it while we chat.....

>

> http://www.smickandsmodoo.com/lyrics/3rdman2.htm

 

Thank You! I listened to it what seems forever as I was changing the bedding and it played on and on and on. It made me think of the movie One Two Three when they were playing "Itsy Bitsty Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" to Hurst Buchholz to brainwash him. They should have played "The Third Man Theme" instead. Now whenever I change the sheets I will use the "Third Man Theme" as "Sheet Music! ( Bad Pun?)

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My wife bought me a cool picture that has the 3rd Man in it sort of ...

go to http://www.bmcgaw.com/index.htm and search for "Times Square" on the right side.

You will find a picture of the 3rd Man playing at the Victoria in NYC.

 

But the title of the picture in the lower right hand corner is "Times Square 1942."

The 3rd Man and Battleground are listed as released in 1949 at IMDB. Must be a typo and I have thought of contacting them just for fun.

 

 

Al

it is a great pic if you like a NY scene with the 3rd man in lights. But it is slightly out of focus. Framed in black it looks great with a spotlight on it.

 

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CinemAL

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I've got that same picture hanging in my dining room. I never noticed the date before even though it is huge in the lower right corner. The movies are indeed from 1949 and also there is not a single pre-1940's vehicle visible in the picture.

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