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Citizen Kane vs The Third Man Orson Welles matchup


TripleHHH
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HHH,

 

im first.im first...lol....heehee....NO DOUGHT....Citezen kane!! That was a GREAT movie..in EVERY sense of the word..i dont care what movie(orson wells) that u put next to it..i think that was his best...one of the directors best....just the best...lol..

 

Ty HHH...heehee

 

AvaG ;-)

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Again, must we choose? They are great for different reasons.

 

Citizen Kane for the transformation of a nobody into a somebody into a nobody yet again...Great storytelling!

 

The Third Man for the wonderful suspense of waiting for Orson's first appearance!

 

Please HHH, explain to me more detail why this thread...I'll try to get Gus to join in.

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I would never do an "either/or" on this. I like both films, because they have much to offer us. Citizen Kane has been extravagantly received by film historians and critics. It is often hailed as the best film ever. There is a lively eye and wit behind both films, that comes from the same very unique man.

 

The historical context of both films is valuable. Citizen Kane talks about a newspaper magnate who had a lot of influence on public opinion, and who spent his wealth on a palace with fine art. (William Randolph Hearst)

 

The Third Man should be a humbling experience for Austrians! It shows how a once cultured and affluent city like Vienna could be reduced to ruin and rubble by one of their "homeboys" (Hitler). About how Austrians had to engage in the black market back then, even to the point of depriving children of vaccines, because they were still getting over the total devastation of WW2. Finally, they could be reminded of how their own country and capital city was divided into four zones of Allied occupation, which also included the wonderful bonus of a Russian Zone! This arrangement reflected the postwar division of Germany, but was soon abandoned. The Russians, much to everyone's relief, were soon persuaded to leave.

 

Thelma

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Casablancalover,

 

thats what our beloved TripleHHH does hun,,,he has the best threads and thats what these forums are for..they are thought provoking and he does just that...and u can always choose ..u may like them the same but there is always distingwhishing things about them that stick out one from the other...sorry HHH, for speaking for ya....hope u dont mind! lol.....heehee

 

AvaG :-)

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Ava you took the words right out of my mouth. No need for drama about why we must choose.. it is a simple thread about what you like better and why..I like the Third Man better myself. I might watch CK again to see if I found it to be not all that again :)

It might be hard for some...but thats how I like them :)

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Triple HHH:

 

Two undisputed masterpieces, but two profoundly different ones! Docudramatic biography versus classic adventure. As much as I love comparing actors and characterizations, both are such well plotted and well acted movies, that I can?t really match Welles to Welles. I don?t think it makes sense to compare any aspect of these films other than the impact of the movie itself. And how do you do that unless you compare directing? And how can you do that comparing a biography to a thriller? Never-the-less, for what it?s worth, I?ll try to explain why I would walk into the theater showing ?The Third Man? over ?Citizen Kane? if they were playing simultaneously.

 

I know this goes against popular opinion, but I don?t understand the homage given to ?Citizen Kane?. Well, let me refine that to I don?t see why it?s number one. It?s the analysis of a character, based on real life composites, who is driven to enormous achievements, and finally attains loneliness. Probably the best study of a character ever filmed. But some good biographical character studies had been done before. The legendary status associated with this film results from the way Welles did it, and the magnificent Mercury Theater stable of actors that he used. The clever ploy to elicit a man?s character by searching to define his dying statement was truly creative. And Welles? innovative direction was beyond comparison, and is so, even today. Wow, I?m beginning to understand the homage. Actually, it is a masterpiece, and an inspiration to many film makers, but to me it?s not his only one, and not his greatest. A film that I find more dramatic, more realistic, less tedious, and, again, brilliantly and innovatively directed, is his ?The Magnificent Ambersons?. And in that picture his direction doesn?t get in the way of the movie, as it seems to me it does in ?Kane?.

 

So that?s enough on my view of ?Citizen Kane? and its top status. That is not the point of this thread, which is a comparison of ?Citizen Kane? and ?The Third Man?. *Casablancalover* mentioned the crucial point that tips the scale for me, wonderful suspense. Don?t you get that Hitchcockian feeling that something you half expect might happen is about to? And then you see Harry Lime top lit in that doorway with that unique Wellesian smirk. Show me somebody who?s been to Vienna and doesn?t have a shot of that doorway. If AFI ever does the 100 greatest movie scenes, that one is going to be up there close to the top. Susan Alexander?s operatic debut won?t be up there, nor will Kane?s room ripping rage scene. Maybe the final scene showing Kane?s possessions and the ultimate resolution in the incinerator will make it. It?s probably unfair to compare these two movies based on how many suspenseful scenes there are. Orson Welles did not film ?Citizen Kane? as a thriller, as Carol Reed did with ?The Third Man?, but the comparisons on *TripleHHH's* threads reflect personal preferences, so I have no compunction in doing so.

 

The reasons I prefer ?Third Man? follow with a few specific examples, and remember, these are subjective observations that I am sure are not shared by many film buffs:

_Pace_: I can?t wait for every scene to end in order to get to the next one, whereas, in ?Kane?, I?m wondering when will some of the scenes end?

_Drama_: What compares in ?Kane? to the Ferris wheel scene and wondering if Martins is going to plunge to his death?

_Passion_: Harry Lime evokes more sympathy from me than does Charles Kane. Can?t we all appreciate the sentiment he expresses in the cuckoo clock quote?

_Sets_: Reed has war ravaged Vienna in front of him which lends itself to black and white cinematography. Welles, because of the jigsaw, flash backward, flash forward style he uses to capture the ambiance he is looking for, is almost forced to employ black and white in tighter less expansive locations that often appear to be artificial. This last observation may not credit the fact that ?Kane? does not have to rely on sets. I think one could listen to the soundtrack only and enjoy the story. This is certainly not true of ?Third Man? which relies heavily and successfully on its background vistas.

_Score_: And then there?s just no comparison with that original zither score!

 

--Gus Cerini

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Gus...as usual, your take is BEYOND succinct. You actually make me feel bright...."Ambersons" to "Kane"...I completely agree.

"Kane" is regarded highly because of it's "first" status. Not because everything it did was a first, but because everything it did landed as a collective first.

I too prefer Reeds flick. It moves better, as you said. BUT...would it have been the same flick without "Kane"?

Kind of a chicken and the egg thing, no?

As always, thanx for your input.

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That was phenomenal, Gus. You have once again presented us with a well-written piece of analysis while also providing us with great personal expression. Magnifique! I truly appreciate the thought and time you put forth. Thank you.

 

I like Citizen Kane more than The Third Man from a critical point of view but I find The Third Man to be more entertaining. Both are great favorites of mine. Orson Welles truly was a creative genius on many levels. He was a Shakespearan filmmaker. He was living art. Sadly, his genius was also his curse, like many a composer.

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>A film that I find more dramatic, more realistic, less tedious, and, again, brilliantly and innovatively directed, is his ?The Magnificent Ambersons?. And in that picture his direction doesn?t get in the way of the movie, as it seems to me it does in ?Kane?.

 

If "his direction doesn't get in the way of the movie" it's because he didn't direct it, or at least not all of it. You probably know the story. During the filming of Ambersons Welles accepted a gig to go to Brazil for the Government to do something on behalf of the war effort. Robert Wise took over the direction and completed the film. Some of Welles footage was taken out because it did not preview well. Welles never liked the finished product. In one of the biographies, either Callow's or Blake's, Welles wife surprised upon Welles shortly before he died while he was viewing this movie. He broke down crying presumably because he was devastated with what happened to the film he wanted to make. I bring this up because it's possible that if he succeeded in having his way with the movie, you might not compare it so favorably to Kane. In fact, he might have "gotten in the way" as he did with Kane.

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I was going to start a thread called Citizen Kane vs. Ernest Goes to Jail, but yours is better, so I guess I wont bother.

 

Both are great films, but I like The Third Man best. I have only a moment to write, so I'll just mention one aspect.

 

I find Citizen Kane to be more intellectualized storytelling, whereas The Third Man is more emotional. Some of it has to do with Citizen Kane's flashback structure, which is analytical in it's character dissection. Flashbacks sometimes yank me out of the emotional framework of a story. The Third Man sucks me into a mystery that steadily unfolds with a tense undercurrent and harsh revelations.

 

So you might say that, when watching these films, I think my way through Citizen Kane, and feel my way through The Third Man.

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Cerini,

 

I've never seen Ambersons. I won't call it boycott, that would be silly ... but I'm disappointed that Welles didn't get to do with it what he wanted and I feel disheartened about that. I've always hated his going to South America. I've even thought---unreasonably perhaps---that the whole idea was a plot to get him off the picture. I don't know what his mission was exactly but he went hog wild down there. He was making a movie of his own and he kept running out of film and asking for more. From what I've read he made no real attempt to conclude his business down there and get back to Ambersons He partied continually and got into trouble. By the time he did get back, it was too late. I believe some of the film he shot down there eventually became It's All True, a love story in black and white with some really beautiful images (or was that from another time?). The narrative is choppy; in fact, nearly nonexistent, but it's pretty to watch. Had he not gone to So Amer and finished Ambersons who knows what that might have lead to. I know it's silly not to have watched The Magnificent Amersons and I'm sure I will some day.

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Dear TripleHHH:

 

I would never mean to offend you, considering you share the same initals as one of my favorite Senators here in MN. I was just going by your original post starting this thread....

 

But I figure, how coool is it that you have AvaG as your second? I'm picturing the sultry brunette Ava, armed with a large pistol, offering protection in front of good ol' Hubert! Maybe in front of the Capitol building! ! !

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Wow Gus, you are very insightful...

If I could articulate like that Id write a book, make hundreds, & buy movies..

As for drama and comments, it all depends on the tone of the message, hence I use a HHH trademark known as the smiley face :)

So you know its friendly & I smile a lot anyway

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My first thought when this thread started was that, based on the title ("Orson Welles matchup"), this was going to be a thread comparing Welles' performances in the two pictures. I thought that the more apt comparison of two Welles characters might be between *The Third Man* and Touch of Evil, so I didn't post. Now I see that it is more of a comparison of the films, so...

 

Definitely Citizen Kane. I enjoy *The Third Man* and Gus has certainly given an excellent explanation for his preference for it. *The Third Man* may well be the most Wellesian looking film that Welles didn't direct, but, as Dobie Gray sang in "The In Crowd," The original is still the greatest.

 

Few characters in movies take me for as joyous a rollercoaster ride as Charles Foster Kane. The opening shot -- what is he about? The projection room -- he may be good or bad, or both, but he's certainly "big", so let's find out. Youth -- sympathy for being ripped from one parent by the other. Early adulthood -- love his defiance of the powers-that-be, but his brashness can cause him to be unsympathetic as well. Eventually the arrogance consumes him...but yet, how can we forget the circumstances that caused it. No other film that I have seen collects all of the conflicting emotions that I've felt through the movie and then, in one single scene, forces me to relive every one in a matter of seconds, culminating with a simple common plaything being consumed by fire.

 

As I have posted before, few films touch on as many genres or styles of film, as well as subjects, and integrate them to create such a wonderous unified vision. Musical comedy -- the newsroom scene. Western/Americana -- his youth. Drama -- throughout. Melodrama -- his tryst. War. Politics. Domestic issues. Class warfare. Bio-pic. Film noir. Not much in the way of crime or gangster, but don't count Mr. Thatcher out.

 

Visually, both films can be stunning, but *Citizen Kane* is stunning _and_ incredible. And each time I see the underground chase in The Third Man, I am reminded that (BLASPHEMY ALERT!) Anthony Mann did it just as well a year earlier in He Walked by Night.

 

And *Citizen Kane* is just downright entertaining.

 

After over 40 years of watching Citizen Kane, it is still my favorite movie and I find something new with each viewing.

 

P.S. Switzerland did not invent the cuckoo clock. :)

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ChiO:

 

A really excellent analysis of "Citizen Kane". I can't disagree with anything you've pointed out. These boards become meaningful and quite rewarding when one can read the kinds of insights, impressions, and views that you and many other posters take the time to present. I originally joined these boards to garner impressions about my classic favorite movies from posters whom I considered to be genuine cognoscenti, and I haven't been disappointed. Many thanks to all of you and to *TripleHHH* for starting a vehicle that invites these kinds of analyses.

 

--Gus Cerini

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Hey, Touch of ChiO -- As I have posted before, few films touch on as many genres or styles of film, as well as subjects, and integrate them to create such a wonderous unified vision. Musical comedy -- the newsroom scene. Western/Americana -- his youth. Drama -- throughout. Melodrama -- his tryst. War. Politics. Domestic issues. Class warfare. Bio-pic. Film noir. Not much in the way of crime or gangster, but don't count Mr. Thatcher out.

 

I never really thought of Citizen Kane that way, but you are very correct.

 

I always view Kane as the keystone film for my own personal tastes. Welles triumphantly combined the mesmerizingly dark, unique visuals of German Expressionism with his own dark, forboding tale of greed and power that in turn help usher in what came to be known as film noir.

 

Per usual, I enjoyed reading your words on your favorite film. Welles played.

 

Hi, CCBaxter -- So you might say that, when watching these films, I think my way through Citizen Kane, and feel my way through The Third Man.

 

I really like that. It's exactly why I consider The Third Man the more enjoyable film yet I value Citizen Kane far more.

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