Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Athos said:

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.

Thanks Athos. The droll humour scattered throughout The Third Man has always appealed to me. There we have Holly Martins on the run for his life with two goons chasing him when he enters a room and gets nipped on the finger by a parrot in the dark. Or, of course, the unexpected entrance of Balloon Man, forcing Bernard Lee as the British army sergeant, hiding in the dark (along with Trevor Howard's Calloway) in a stake out for Harry Lime, to have to buy one of the damn balloons in order to get the old guy to go away. This happens just seconds before we hear the zither start to play the famous "Third Man Theme" on the soundtrack as Harry Lime suddenly makes his appearance on top of a crumbling building overlooking the scene.

The film dares to mix in some of this odd ball endearing humour into a scene of suspense and I love the mixture. It works. Hitchcock could carry this stuff off and so could Carol Reed in The Third Man.

Four years later Reed tried to recreate the Third Man magic with a production shot in bombed out Berlin, The Man Between, this time casting the great James Mason as a mysterious Harry Lime-type character. The results were mixed (the film has none of the humour of the Third Man) but after a meandering first half it really starts to take off in suspense as Mason tries to help naive Britisher Claire Bloom (who had been kidnapped and brought into the Russian sector) get back to West Berlin. The film has some extraordinary moody black and white photography of Berlin, such as in the pix shown below, and is definitely worth a look, if you get the opportunity. The Man Between is not in the same league as The Third Man but it will do if the 1949 classic isn't immediately available to you. The performances in the film, by the way, are very good, particularly that of Mason.

The+Man+Between+canted+Stalin.jpg

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Thompson said:

Oh, now it sinks in - this is an art film - with film noir shadows.

An "art" film? That sounds pretentious.

There's nothing pretentious about The Third Man. This is a movie made for the masses (who gobbled it up on both sides of the Atlantic at the time of its release) in the same sense as Casablanca or countless other films. It's just that it has dry British humour and zither music. Is that so off setting to you? Oh, yes, a lot of the character support actors speak German to bring a touch of reality to this light suspense tale distinguished by great performances and outstanding photography.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, TomJH said:

Four years later Reed tried to recreate the Third Man magic with a production shot in bombed out Berlin, The Man Between, this time casting the great James Mason as a mysterious Harry Lime-type character. The results were mixed (the film has none of the humour of the Third Man) but after a meandering first half it really starts to take off in suspense as Mason tries to help naive Britisher Claire Bloom (who had been kidnapped and brought into the Russian sector) get back to West Berlin. The film has some extraordinary moody black and white photography of Berlin, such as in the pix shown below, and is definitely worth a look, if you get the opportunity. The Man Between is not in the same league as The Third Man but it will do if the 1949 classic isn't immediately available to you. The performances in the film, by the way, are very good, particularly that of Mason.

The+Man+Between+canted+Stalin.jpg

I'm glad you mentioned The Man Between because it is underappreciated. I was able to watch this several years ago and found it very enjoyable. In fact, I just bought the DVD because it rarely airs and I wanted to see it again. I recall Mason and Bloom making a very good pairing and the great photography you highlighted, so I look forward to revisiting this film. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Athos said:

I'm glad you mentioned The Man Between because it is underappreciated. I was able to watch this several years ago and found it very enjoyable. In fact, I just bought the DVD because it rarely airs and I wanted to see it again. I recall Mason and Bloom making a very good pairing and the great photography you highlighted, so I look forward to revisiting this film. 

Except for the film's climax, in which the rear screen projection is obvious, much of The Man Between's authenticity is due to its on location shooting in Berlin. This really is a mood piece.

h2-3.png

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Athos said:

I'm glad you mentioned The Man Between because it is underappreciated. I was able to watch this several years ago and found it very enjoyable. In fact, I just bought the DVD because it rarely airs and I wanted to see it again. I recall Mason and Bloom making a very good pairing and the great photography you highlighted, so I look forward to revisiting this film. 

Yeah Athos, I'm also glad Tom mentioned this film. It's been one of my favorites since I discovered it a couple decades ago, and immediately at that time reminded me of Carol Reed's earlier masterpiece.

(...here's hoping Eddie soon presents this one too)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/21/2021 at 11:30 AM, 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 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. 

 

 

On 3/21/2021 at 4:06 PM, TomJH said:

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 Tom, it sounds to me like you end up liking Cotten and his Holly Martins portrayal in this film, eh?!

However, I wonder if just before Holly guns down the previously wounded Harry Lime at those sewers stairs he says, oh I dunno, maybe something like, "What's holding you up?" if you might feel differently about the guy?  ;)  LOL

(...say, come to think of it, Edmund O'Brien wouldn't have made a bad Holly Martins either)

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dargo said:

 

So Tom, it sounds to me like you end up liking Cotten and his Holly Martins portrayal in this film, eh?!

However, I wonder if just before Holly guns down the previously wounded Harry Lime at those sewers stairs he says, oh I dunno, maybe something like, "What's holding you up?" if you might feel differently about the guy?  ;)  LOL

(...say, come to think of it, Edmund O'Brien wouldn't have made a bad Holly Martins either)

David O. Selznick was involved in this film, primarily in his loans of Cotten and Welles to the production. Any script changes he may have suggested (if any) were ignored by Carol Reed and Graham Greene. Somewhere I read that Jimmy Stewart had been under consideration for the role of Holly. But this would have been post war Jimmy when he was specializing in more cynical characters (at which he was excellent) so I'm glad they went with Joseph Cotten instead, especially since he turned out to be perfect in his role.

If you look over Cotten's career he appeared in a remarkable run of films throughout the '40s: Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, Journey Into Fear, Shadow of a Doubt, Since You Went Away, Duel in the Sun, Portrait of Jennie and, finally, The Third Man. I think that is as impressive a collection of films as any actor in Hollywood had that decade, with the possible exception of Bogart. Unfortunately his hot streak of outstanding films and roles came to an end with Holly Martins but what he left behind at that time is still very impressive.

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, TomJH said:

David O. Selznick was involved in this film, primarily in his loans of Cotten and Welles to the production. Any script changes he may have suggested (if any) were ignored by Carol Reed and Graham Greene. Somewhere I read that Jimmy Stewart had been under consideration for the role of Holly. But this would have been post war Jimmy when he was specializing in more cynical characters (at which he was excellent) so I'm glad they went with Joseph Cotten instead, especially since he turned out to be perfect in his role.

If you look over Cotten's career he appeared in a remarkable run of films throughout the '40s: Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, Journey Into Fear, Shadow of a Doubt, Since You Went Away, Duel in the Sun, Portrait of Jennie and, finally, The Third Man. I think that is as impressive a collection of films as any actor in Hollywood had that decade, with the possible exception of Bogart. Unfortunately his hot streak of outstanding films and roles came to an end with Holly Martins but what he left behind at that time is still very impressive.

 

Wow! Never knew Stewart had also been considered for the part. 

Good point about his image and movie role choices being more cynical and less naive after the war's end, although I can still see him being pretty good in the role, as in a way, his role in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much is somewhat similar...the innocent American being caught up in international intrigue.

(...hey...maybe they could've had Valli singing "Que Sera, Sera" in the Reed film???)  ;)   LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

The willing suspension of disbelief breaks down with a love interest.  I’m sorry — not really — but it’s true.  You either buy into that or you don’t.  Almost impossible for actors to pull off.  It’s been done of course — It Happened One Night, e.g., but it did not happen in The Third Man.  Of course it’s my shortcomings and tunnel vision,  and as my wife and sometimes girlfriend likes to call me — obnoxious double-dipping hippie.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Thompson said:

The willing suspension of disbelief breaks down with a love interest.  I’m sorry — not really — but it’s true.  You either buy into that or you don’t.  Almost impossible for actors to pull off.  It’s been done of course — It Happened One Night, e.g., but it did not happen in The Third Man.  Of course it’s my shortcomings and tunnel vision,  and as my wife and sometimes girlfriend likes to call me — obnoxious double-dipping hippie.

Yea,  the so called love interest in The Third Man really gums up the works.      Either Holly feels he should turn his friend over to the authorizes because his friend is a rat that must be removed before causing more harm,  or he doesn't.      Of course it is implied Holly's feelings for his friend's gal has nothing to do with this decision,  but that just isn't believable.  Is Holly throwing his friend under the bus to eliminate the competition?   (his intentions don't really matter since that is clearly the outcome).     Hey, I'm not saying this is the case but if it was it would make for a better storyline.    I.e. Holly is all over the map which is why the gal wants nothing to do with him at the end.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/21/2021 at 3:58 PM, Thompson said:

Not gonna run out and buy any Graham Greene novels.

 

Too bad.  Graham Greene was a great writer. He wrote many wonderful novels.  One quite noirish novel he wrote, "Brighton Rock", was made into a film, starring Richard Attenborough. It came out one year before "The Third Man".  It's really good, I recommend it  (I meant the film, but the book too.)

A life-long preoccupation of Greene's was the question of moral dilemmas human beings face throughout their lives.  He converted to Catholicism at the age of 26, and his subsequent religious and spiritual views can be seen in almost everything he wrote. 

One of the most fascinating aspects of "The Third Man" is the unresolved ethical questions around friendship, trust, betrayal, and morality.  Was Holly wrong to betray his friend? But wouldn't it have been wrong, given what he was shown concerning the results of Harry's diluted penicillin racket, not to try and stop him?  Evidently Anna didn't think so.  I love it that it's so complicated...there is no right or wrong answer, only cinematic food for thought.  

I've always liked "The Third Man". zither music and all, but this time around  (at least my 4th viewing), I decided I love this film.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/22/2021 at 1:45 PM, TomJH said:

Thanks Athos. The droll humour scattered throughout The Third Man has always appealed to me. There we have Holly Martins on the run for his life with two goons chasing him when he enters a room and gets nipped on the finger by a parrot in the dark. Or, of course, the unexpected entrance of Balloon Man, forcing Bernard Lee as the British army sergeant, hiding in the dark (along with Trevor Howard's Calloway) in a stake out for Harry Lime, to have to buy one of the damn balloons in order to get the old guy to go away. This happens just seconds before we hear the zither start to play the famous "Third Man Theme" on the soundtrack as Harry Lime suddenly makes his appearance on top of a crumbling building overlooking the scene.

The film dares to mix in some of this odd ball endearing humour into a scene of suspense and I love the mixture. It works. Hitchcock could carry this stuff off and so could Carol Reed in The Third Man.

Four years later Reed tried to recreate the Third Man magic with a production shot in bombed out Berlin, The Man Between, this time casting the great James Mason as a mysterious Harry Lime-type character. The results were mixed (the film has none of the humour of the Third Man) but after a meandering first half it really starts to take off in suspense as Mason tries to help naive Britisher Claire Bloom (who had been kidnapped and brought into the Russian sector) get back to West Berlin. The film has some extraordinary moody black and white photography of Berlin, such as in the pix shown below, and is definitely worth a look, if you get the opportunity. The Man Between is not in the same league as The Third Man but it will do if the 1949 classic isn't immediately available to you. The performances in the film, by the way, are very good, particularly that of Mason.

 

Tom, since you appear to be a fan of this type of film, and since there's at least this one movie you like featuring director Carol Reed and actor James Mason, you'd probably enjoy "Odd Man Out".  In fact, I'm guessing you're already familar with it.   It's got that "man on the run from the authorities" theme,  lots of lovely black and white cinematography, and a very moving story.  Oh, and a fun, truly hammy bit scene with veteran ham Robert Newton.

I wish TCM would show "Odd Man Out" more often.  (Although with our luck, there's probably No Canadian Rights for it...)

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, TomJH said:

David O. Selznick was involved in this film, primarily in his loans of Cotten and Welles to the production. Any script changes he may have suggested (if any) were ignored by Carol Reed and Graham Greene. Somewhere I read that Jimmy Stewart had been under consideration for the role of Holly. But this would have been post war Jimmy when he was specializing in more cynical characters (at which he was excellent) so I'm glad they went with Joseph Cotten instead, especially since he turned out to be perfect in his role.

If you look over Cotten's career he appeared in a remarkable run of films throughout the '40s: Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, Journey Into Fear, Shadow of a Doubt, Since You Went Away, Duel in the Sun, Portrait of Jennie and, finally, The Third Man. I think that is as impressive a collection of films as any actor in Hollywood had that decade, with the possible exception of Bogart. Unfortunately his hot streak of outstanding films and roles came to an end with Holly Martins but what he left behind at that time is still very impressive.

 

I also liked him in "Gaslight".

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

Tom, since you appear to be a fan of this type of film, and since there's at least this one movie you like featuring director Carol Reed and actor James Mason, you'd probably enjoy "Odd Man Out".  In fact, I'm guessing you're already familar with it.   It's got that "man on the run from the authorities" theme,  lots of lovely black and white cinematography, and a very moving story.  Oh, and a fun, truly hammy bit scene with veteran ham Robert Newton.

I wish TCM would show "Odd Man Out" more often.  (Although with our luck, there's probably No Canadian Rights for it...)

Yes, I've seen Odd Man Out, MissW, which, I believe, was James Mason's favourite film of his career, certainly from his earlier British period. I liked it very much and, though I don't recall the overall film that well today, I certainly remember the poignancy of its ending.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Yea,  the so called love interest in The Third Man really gums up the works.      Either Holly feels he should turn his friend over to the authorizes because his friend is a rat that must be removed before causing more harm,  or he doesn't.      Of course it is implied Holly's feelings for his friend's gal has nothing to do with this decision,  but that just isn't believable.  Is Holly throwing his friend under the bus to eliminate the competition?   (his intentions don't really matter since that is clearly the outcome).     Hey, I'm not saying this is the case but if it was it would make for a better storyline.    I.e. Holly is all over the map which is why the gal wants nothing to do with him at the end.

 

 

Nope.  I feel you've got it all wrong.

It's interesting that you attribute such basic and oversimplified motives to Holly.  Of course he isn't "throwing his friend under the bus" to clear the way for himself to get Harry's girl.  He knows she's still in love with Harry.  

Look, one of the best, most memorable things about The Third Man is the ethical complexity of the story.  And its characters.  As I said earlier, the film poses a fascinating moral question, one that has no "right or wrong" answer:  Is it ok to turn a friend over to the police if that friend is perpetrating horrific harms and sees no reason to stop?  What about the trust that friend might have in you?  Which is the greater moral good:  loyalty to a friend who trusts you, regardless of what kind of crimes that friend might be performing,  or putting a stop to the very serious and real harm that friend is causing by turning him in to the police?

I don't think your cheap and overly facile interpretation would "make for a better storyline" at all.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

One of the most fascinating aspects of "The Third Man" is the unresolved ethical questions around friendship, trust, betrayal, and morality.  Was Holly wrong to betray his friend? But wouldn't it have been wrong, given what he was shown concerning the results of Harry's diluted penicillin racket, not to try and stop him?  Evidently Anna didn't think so.  I love it that it's so complicated...there is no right or wrong answer, only cinematic food for thought.  

 

In the end Holly can't bring himself to betray Harry because of their old time friendship, no matter what kind of immoral rat he turned out to be. What does cause him to set up his former friend, though, is a desire to save Anna from being deported to the Russian sector, even if it means he'll never see her again. Anna, however, simply regards him as a traitor to her former lover (who, ironically, is only concerned about his own neck rather than what happens to her).

The complexity of these relationships adds to the appeal of this film, as you said, MissW.

By the way, when all is said and done, we don't know what is going to happen to the proud Anna, who turned down that free train ride to freedom.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Miss W and Tom, really enjoyed reading your posts .Couldn't agree more with both of you and  The Third Man is a great film.

Eddie mentioned that they'll be showing Brighton Rock in the future. I love that film and haven't seen it in a few years. Very excited about seeing Brighton Rock again. A very young and very menacing Richard Attenborough, it's an excellent British noir.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always like Cotton and Wells together. CITIZEN KANE is my favorite, I actually was waiting for Harry to accidentally call Holly Jedidiah  while they were on the Ferris Wheel.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TomJH said:

In the end Holly can't bring himself to betray Harry because of their old time friendship, no matter what kind of immoral rat he turned out to be. What does cause him to set up his former friend, though, is a desire to save Anna from being deported to the Russian sector, even if it means he'll never see her again. Anna, however, simply regards him as a traitor to her former lover (who, ironically, is only concerned about his own neck rather than what happens to her).

The complexity of these relationships adds to the appeal of this film, as you said, MissW.

By the way, when all is said and done, we don't know what is going to happen to the proud Anna, who turned down that free train ride to freedom.

It's important to remember -  as of course, you do, Tom -- that at no time does Holly consider betraying Harry for selfish reasons  (ie, for reward money or status of some kind or anything like that.)  He agrees to help Major Calloway  (love that Trevor Howard !) twice; the first time, his price is Anna's freedom from the Russians, he demands that she be put on a train to Paris, away from the surveillance of the Russian police in Vienna.  How could he know she'd figure out what he'd done and reject his attempt to save her?

But you don't mention the second time he agrees to help the police find Harry:  Calloway decides to take Holly on a tour of a children's hospital, showing him what has happened to the children who have been administered the diluted penicillin Harry Lime was marketeering.  The camera wisely never shows us the children, just little touches like the expression on Holly's face as he looks at them,  and a teddy bear being tossed in the garbage, its owner no  longer having any need for it.

It's a powerful scene, and it's clear that Calloway's motives for wanting to stop Harry Lime have finally gotten through to Holly.   

I love the famous ferris wheel scene,  in which Harry seemingly, at least in his own mind, justifies what he does to his friend.  It's interesting, how people who do evil things can always rationalize what they do.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

It's interesting, how people who do evil things can always rationalize what they do.

UC9s7GsT-720-480.jpg

"Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you 20,000 lbs. for every dot that stopped would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spend? Free of income tax, Holly, free of income tax."

Dialogue delivered so affably, so casually. And it represents a cold blooded soul who is pure evil.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Nope.  I feel you've got it all wrong.

It's interesting that you attribute such basic and oversimplified motives to Holly.  Of course he isn't "throwing his friend under the bus" to clear the way for himself to get Harry's girl.  He knows she's still in love with Harry.  

Look, one of the best, most memorable things about The Third Man is the ethical complexity of the story.  And its characters.  As I said earlier, the film poses a fascinating moral question, one that has no "right or wrong" answer:  Is it ok to turn a friend over to the police if that friend is perpetrating horrific harms and sees no reason to stop?  What about the trust that friend might have in you?  Which is the greater moral good:  loyalty to a friend who trusts you, regardless of what kind of crimes that friend might be performing,  or putting a stop to the very serious and real harm that friend is causing by turning him in to the police?

I don't think your cheap and overly facile interpretation would "make for a better storyline" at all.

I believe you misunderstood my post;   I agree with you about the fascinating moral question.   Thus there was no need for the Holly love interest angle.  Like I said it just gums up the works (gums up the fascinating moral question).     BUT if a screenwriter \ director insist on "we must have a love interest angle",  then I would have done it in the cheap way I outlined.   This is a noir and for a noir protagonist to go-cheap is a fairly common noir theme.      It makes for a better storyline IF one insist on having the love interest angle.

(I would have just left off the Holly love interest angle,  PERIOD,   so that more focus would have been on the inability of Harry's girl to not be 100% loyal to him even after she knows what type of man Harry is).

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I like about dear old Graham Greene, beside his novels and the evocative word Greeneland,

was that despite all the rigmarole and talk about moral choices, sin, the question of evil, and

individual decision, Greene was always on the lookout for the next piece of tail that came into

view. The gent was a notorious serial adulterer. But on the positive side of the ledger, Greenie was

a wise and witty leftie and anti-American. Just goes to show there actually is good and bad in all

people.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The%20Third%20Man%20courtesy%20of%20Stud

I just thought I'd make a point of praising the performance of Trevor Howard as Major Calloway in The Third Man. It's a film in which the performances of Cotten and, especially, Welles get a lot of attention. Calloway is not a flashy role as a British "cop," as a slightly inebriated Holly Martins as one point derisively calls him. But Howard brings an ice cool understated professionalism to the role, as well as a sense of decency.

You can see that he is exasperated with and also concerned about naive Holly getting involved (and doesn't want another body turning up on the scene). There is also that telling moment when the Russian army officer asks for Anna's fake passport and you see Calloway's momentary reluctance to pursue the matter. "We're not going to pick her up for that, are we?" he asks. Calloway is a decent man, and we feel that decency through Howard's skilfull portrayal. He's not just that cold cop that Martins called him earlier.

But at the same time did anyone notice how unflatteringly cold the Russian military are portrayed in this film made during the Cold War? When those three army officers of different nations show up at Anna's apartment in the night to take her to international headquarters, the British one (played by Leo Genn, a future popular character actor) is sympathetic with an apology, the French one is chivalrous and offers her her lipstick while the Russian army sergeant is stoic with a face like grim death.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...