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I saw The Third Man at least once in the past, but not for a while.  It really does not appeal to me.  As for the zither music, not my kind and I like a variety of music types.  It would be OK for part of the movie, but all of it?  I think not.

It is not "the greatest movie ever made."  I'm not sure why it is held in such high esteem.  It's OK as a crime/spy type movie, but there are hundreds of others just as good, if not better.

 

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I agree with ElCid in that THE THIRD MAN doesn't make my top ten. However, I watched it all the way through for the first time in years and found it most enjoyable. The zither music didn't bother me as much as it did during my first viewing. Cotton and Wells were both great in their roles and Alida Valli and Trevor Howard both excelled as well. Frankly, I had forgotten how rotten to the core Harry Lime was. He certainly got the end he deserved.  Also, I thought the ending was perfect. No matter how bad Harry was, Anna still loved him. It was clear she would never forgive Holly for betraying and ultimately killing his best friend and the love of her life. 

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6 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I agree with ElCid in that THE THIRD MAN doesn't make my top ten. However, I watched it all the way through for the first time in years and found it most enjoyable. The zither music didn't bother me as much as it did during my first viewing. Cotton and Wells were both great in their roles and Alida Valli and Trevor Howard both excelled as well. Frankly, I had forgotten how rotten to the core Harry Lime was. He certainly got the end he deserved.  Also, I thought the ending was perfect. No matter how bad Harry was, Anna still loved him. It was clear she would never forgive Holly for betraying and ultimately killing his best friend and the love of her life. 

I like watching "The Third Man".  It's a wonderfully shot film in terms of lighting and capturing the mysterious/seedy essence of a city emerging from the chaos of WW2 while dealing with problems that threaten the chance to achieve a better quality of life.  The zither music is unusual as a soundtrack, and I love hearing it because it is so different.  Alida Valli was quite a looker, and her acting was top-notch, as were the performances by Howard, Cotten, and Welles.  And how could you not love 'balllooooooon' man?

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Another interesting thing I learned from research was that there was a  THIRD MAN TV series  done by the BBC from 1959 to 1965. It starred Michael Rennie. Apparently, Graham Greene decided to turn Harry Lime from an unscrupulous  black marketer into a legit international private detective. I vaguely remember that it existed and am really surprised it lasted six seasons.  Can you imagine if Ian Fleming had done that with Auric Goldfinger.  

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Director Carol Reed and author Grahame Greene only had one serious disagreement during the making of The Third Man. Greene wanted a conventional happy ending and was afraid that audiences wouldn't remain in their seats in the theatre for that long walk of Valli's down that fall lane way. He later called Reed's chosen ending of the film "triumphantly right." It certainly is unusual to have a realistic ending on a light entertainment.

But just like Chaplin's unexpected ending with City Lights, it works, adding to the unique flavour of this atmospheric suspense tale full of droll humour. Along with the moody, striking black and white photography of Robert Krasker, with its memorable Dutch angles, this production further benefits from the perfect performances of the entire cast, in my opinion. The "cuckoo clock" speech by Harry Lime, by the way, was an Orson Welles contribution to the film.

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1 hour ago, midwestan said:

I like watching "The Third Man".  It's a wonderfully shot film in terms of lighting and capturing the mysterious/seedy essence of a city emerging from the chaos of WW2 while dealing with problems that threaten the chance to achieve a better quality of life.  The zither music is unusual as a soundtrack, and I love hearing it because it is so different.  Alida Valli was quite a looker, and her acting was top-notch, as were the performances by Howard, Cotten, and Welles.  And how could you not love 'balllooooooon' man?

I thought Balloon Man was going to turn out to be Welles.  The zither music did not bother me either, however what did bother me a lot was the inability to make out a lot of dialogue, let alone of course the German, and although I liked the acting of Valli, the idea of this love thing with Welles was way too hard to swallow.  Agree the film was very well shot, lots of classic scenes, my favorite being the hands poking out in the sewer grate at the end.  I did notice a brand name — Cotton was smoking Camel cigarettes, I glimpsed that.  And nobody left a drink unfinished.  Well done.  If the film should air again, though, I’ll skip it.  No way a top ten, film noir or whatever genre.  Genres give me a pain.

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1 hour ago, Hoganman1 said:

I agree with ElCid in that THE THIRD MAN doesn't make my top ten. However, I watched it all the way through for the first time in years and found it most enjoyable. The zither music didn't bother me as much as it did during my first viewing. Cotton and Wells were both great in their roles and Alida Valli and Trevor Howard both excelled as well. Frankly, I had forgotten how rotten to the core Harry Lime was. He certainly got the end he deserved.

Yes, Lime is an absolute rotter. However, at the end, do you not feel a little sympathy for the fox in the sewer system as he is being pursued by all those hounds?

I suspect many viewers do, despite themselves. That's the wonderful thing about an ending like this. The conflict of emotions. Lime's a cold blooded rat, no doubt about it, but I think there's something, well, human about feeling for a man trapped and desperately seeking escape despite the tremendous odds against him. I think there's a small part of us (well me, anyway) hoping he'll fool all those authorities closing in on him and get away. And that's despite the fact that, morally, the man is a monster. I must admit I feel much the same way about Cody Jarrett at the end of White Heat, a film made the same year as this one. Lime's fingers sticking through the grating at the end, by the way, are those of director Reed.

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14 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Yes, Lime is an absolute rotter. However, at the end, do you not feel a little sympathy for the fox in the sewer system as he is being pursued by all those hounds?

I suspect many viewers do, despite themselves. That's the wonderful thing about an ending like this. The conflict of emotions. Lime's a cold blooded rat, no doubt about it, but I think there's something, well, human about feeling for a man trapped and desperately seeking escape despite the tremendous odds against him. I think there's a small part of us (well me, anyway) hoping he'll fool all those authorities closing in on him and get away. And that's despite the fact that, morally, the man is a monster. I must admit I feel much the same way about Cody Jarrett at the end of White Heat, a film made the same year as this one. Lime's fingers sticking through the grating at the end, by the way, are those of director Reed.

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I think I had more sympathy for Holly. Once he saw the suffering caused by his life long friend, he summoned up the courage to help the authorities. That image of the nurse throwing that child's teddy bear in the trash did it for me. I'm sure it affected Holly in the same way. Also, watching Sergeant Paine die after being shot by Harry was obviously the last straw.  

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That’s another thing that bugged me right from the get go — this “friendship” between Cotton and Welles.  Us viewers are supposed to buy into that too?  Oh, they ran around together at University, and therefore became inseparable and best friends forever?  No, that doesn’t work.

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6 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

I think I had more sympathy for Holly. Once he saw the suffering caused by his life long friend, he summoned up the courage to help the authorities. That image of the nurse throwing that child's teddy bear in the trash did it for me. I'm sure it affected Holly in the same way. Also, watching Sergeant Paine die after being shot by Harry was obviously the last straw.  

Well, Holly's a nice guy even if he is a bit naive so any liking of him is understandable. Lime is the tough one to sympathize with but I think it may come, to a degree, at least, at the very end of the film as a reflection of a natural sympathy one can feel for a fox when he's surrounded by hounds closing in for the kill, even if the fox involved had not been a particularly nice creature. I gather by your response that you don't feel the same way.

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2 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

Another interesting thing I learned from research was that there was a  THIRD MAN TV series  done by the BBC from 1959 to 1965. It starred Michael Rennie. Apparently, Graham Greene decided to turn Harry Lime from an unscrupulous  black marketer into a legit international private detective. I vaguely remember that it existed and am really surprised it lasted six seasons.  Can you imagine if Ian Fleming had done that with Auric Goldfinger.  

There was also a radio series with Orson Welles entitled The Adventures of Harry Lime which ran from 1951 to 1952 and which was a prequel to the movie.

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I saw The Third Man when it was on TCM a few months ago, so I watched something else and

then went over to TCM at 1 a.m. hoping to catch the part where someone asks Cotten about

the stream of consciousness technique of Mr. James Joyce, of which Cotten shows no consciousness.

But I missed it. That last shot of Valli walking toward Cotten and then walking right past him can

be seen as rather depressing, but I also view it in comedic terms as just the last in a long line of

futile attempts by Cotten to get Valli to notice him. He never twigs that she only has eyes for Lime.

And last but not least, Vinkel, Dr. Vinkel. 

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And the dog, how stupid is the dog, who cares about the dog? , who’s dog is it anyway? That guy’s or this guy’s?  That didn’t work either, the dog.

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And plus everybody knows that James Joyce is so long winded and full of himself and boring beyond belief, boring beyond belief, what’s he talking about?, oh, a stream of consciousness, isn’t that clever, and so very very very dull.

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8 minutes ago, Thompson said:

And plus everybody knows that James Joyce is so long winded and full of himself and boring beyond belief, boring beyond belief, what’s he talking about?, oh, a stream of consciousness, isn’t that clever, and so very very very dull.

The guy at the convention who asked the stream of consciousness question was supposed to be seen as a literary snob. Of course Zane Grey liking Holly Martins didn't have a clue what he was talking about any more than would the film's audience. That was the point of the humour of the scene.

So what is your problem with all this nit picking? You didn't like the film. We get that.

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No, I did’t like it.  It wasn’t that good.  The nit picking is just an aside.  The character actors were spot on, no problems there,  but this “one of the greatest films ever” is a complete reach.   It reeked  of phony scenes and dialogue ( if you could hear it), the false shot of Welles with the profile pic that’s so famous, I don’t see how anybody could view that and not spell PHONY.   

 

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The Third Man remains a great visual feast, reeking with the dank atmosphere of post war decay in Vienna.

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Not to mention what a classic beauty Alida Valli was . . .

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4 minutes ago, TomJH said:

The Third Man remains a great visual feast, reeking with the dank atmosphere of post war decay in Vienna.

SEiG.gif

tumblr_n1313qnoej1qg0cdqo1_250.gif

57c0d528ff70162c58dbd35c8ad236f4.gif

tumblr_nny64uqx4p1tujnioo3_500.gifv

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Not to mention what a classic beauty Alida Valli was . . .

EdTC.gif

Thanks for posting those clips. I loved the large shadows on the buildings. That was truly noirish (if that's a word).

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2 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

Thanks for posting those clips. I loved the large shadows on the buildings. That was truly noirish (if that's a word).

How can anyone be a fan of noir and not enjoy this film's photography? Heck, you don't even have to be a noir fan to enjoy it.

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The Third Man is an excellent International Film Noir. The fact that some of the dialog is in other languages only adds to it's American fish out of water disorientation, in a similar way that Dutch angles, high and low angle shots  disorientate it accentuates the films Noir-ness. 

If Reed would have added subtitles some cretins would be complaining about that. 

It is one of the greatest Film Noirs.

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21 hours ago, TomJH said:

Yes, Lime is an absolute rotter. However, at the end, do you not feel a little sympathy for the fox in the sewer system as he is being pursued by all those hounds?

I suspect many viewers do, despite themselves. That's the wonderful thing about an ending like this. The conflict of emotions. Lime's a cold blooded rat, no doubt about it, but I think there's something, well, human about feeling for a man trapped and desperately seeking escape despite the tremendous odds against him. I think there's a small part of us (well me, anyway) hoping he'll fool all those authorities closing in on him and get away. And that's despite the fact that, morally, the man is a monster. I must admit I feel much the same way about Cody Jarrett at the end of White Heat, a film made the same year as this one. Lime's fingers sticking through the grating at the end, by the way, are those of director Reed.

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Tom, I've really enjoyed reading your comments. I have also always loved this film since the first time I saw it. It is very special to me and the quintessential example of film greats coming together and creating something magical. To me, it is unlike any other film. The wonderful zither score, Robert Krasker's incredible visuals, Greene's wonderful script, Reed's excellent direction and exceptional performances from absolutely everyone. It is a film I love to watch at least once a year and I always try to watch it live if I can.

I always notice or come away with something different too. This time what stuck with me is how funny the film is. 

One of my favorite little moments in the film is when Calloway asks Martins what happened to his hand and Martins replies that a parrot bit him. Calloway turns in disgust and says "Oh, stop behaving like a fool, Martins."

I completely agree with you. From the first time I watched it, I remember hoping that Harry would escape much as I hoped Cody Jarrett would. Such is the impact of Welles and Cagney, two of my all-time favorites, that they can draw us in and garner sympathy for loathsome individuals.

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