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The Third Man and Carol Reed


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Great photos! Thanks!

 

 

I wonder why one film crew can get so many things right, so that they wind up with a classic like this, and hundreds of other film crews ? even with famous directors and actors ? fail time and time again?

 

?The Good German? was an imitation of this film, with a different plot. The final scene was an imitation of the final scene in ?Casablanca?, with a DC 3 at an airport in Berlin in 1945 or ?46. They even advertised the ?sewer? scenes in ?The Good German? when they did the long promo on TCM a few years ago, but when I finally saw the film on another channel, it was awful. It never even got distributed in theaters. It went right to DVD and TV. It had a lousy plot, with American Army people as the villains. We just won the War, but the idiot screenwriter and director has the Americans as the villains!

 

The leading lady was too old and too unattractive. The plot was too complicated to follow, and the sewer scenes were terrible. It was just a lady walking through what looked like a small sewer in some small town in Ohio.

 

It?s obvious the top people who worked on ?The Good German? studied ?The Third Man? and ?Casablanca?, but they failed so miserably.

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While I guess it is something that they wanted to pay homage to the old movie style if those screen shots are anything to go by (especially the sewer one) they definitely did not know what they were doing.

 

I miss the really great black & white photography we had in films like the Third Man. I guess we will never get that back.

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There were so many right decisions that were made during the filming of ?The Third Man?.

 

One of the biggest heroes of the technical crew was the main lighting technician. This film has some amazing lighting, such as lighting up several big city blocks at night in Vienna, with bright lights located a long way away from the camera in the vast street scenes. They had to go to a whole lot of trouble to do that. And then they had water trucks wash down the streets to get more light reflecting off the streets. Very artistic.

 

And the decision to do all the Dutch tilts with the camera. More than in any other movie in all of movie history, and every one of them worked just right.

 

And the idea to use that giant Ferris wheel as a major location, quite fantastic, unique. And the big sewer too, and the editing and sound and lighting during the sewer sequence was fantastic.

 

And of course the non-stop zither music. No other film has non-stop zither music.

 

And the great dialogue and perfect cast. These people seemed like real people.

 

And the decision to use the unknown (to us) Austrian actors in the film, made them seem like real people too, rather than actors.

 

Oh, and that very last scene. It lasted about 2 minutes during her long walk, and it was perfectly accompanied by just the right zither music. Fantastic!

 

And perhaps the most amazing thing of all was that all of this work and creativity was put into a film that was basically going to show in theaters only one or two weeks and then it would be gone forever. Nobody even dreamed of films like this having millions of fans and being seen multiple times by millions of people, 60 years later.

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The Good German could actually be salvaged. First, all the profanity needs to be cut out, and a couple of vulgar scenes removed.

 

There is no profanity or vulgarity in Casablanca or The Third Man.

 

Next, the villains should be the Russians or some of the old Nazis still hanging around Berlin. All of the Americans should all be heroes. This could be changed by changing the dialogue without any re-filming being required. Perhaps some new narration could be recorded and added with the hero (George Clooney) explaining the plot as we go along, as his character gradually figures it out. The plot needs to be less confusing.

 

Casablanca and The Third Man were not confusing and were easy to follow.

 

The photography and lighting in The Good German were pretty good, so the film could be salvaged if these changes are made to it.

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Okay, now we see that *The Good German* just wasn't to your taste... I've seen it. It is a well-shot, complexly plotted, well acted film. It's a good film. Is it in the ball park with *The Third Man*, and *Casablanca* ? No - they are two of the best films ever made. But kudos to *The Good German* for trying to make such a film today, and doing a decent job of it. So, the Americans were the villains, and that's not right? Do you really think that we never did wrong in WWII, and its aftermath? History shows otherwise.

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Hey. Face it. The film was so bad overall that it never got distributed to theaters. :)

 

It went right from the editing room to DVD.

 

------------------------------------------

 

One Big Gimmick, 4 January 2007

 

Author: William James Harper from Los Angeles

 

?Once you get past the gimmick of black and white, about ten minutes into the film, I would say, the rest goes down hill. There is no explication as why characters act the way they do for most of the principal parts. Why for example is the Scottish bar keep so willing to do anything and everything for the Kate character? And, while we're at it, what is a Scot doing running a bar in post-war Berlin? Huh? What is Kate character's motivation for acting the way she does throughout the movie in terms of her husband? Practically everyone walks through his part and about an hour into the film, I was hoping I could make a fast exit but I was with friends. This movie goes absolutely no where, the plot is clich?d and trite and you would do better to feed the pigeons in the park for entertainment.?

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452624/usercomments

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*Hey. Face it. The film was so bad overall that it never got distributed to theaters.*

 

*It went right from the editing room to DVD.*

 

FredC,

 

You may not have liked the film but it did have a theatrical release. It was nominated for two Oscars, so it did play in theaters.

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Well I probably should not judge the film without seeing it myself but it actually doesn't have good reviews regardless if it got a theatrical release. The common consensus seems to be it does have a nice old movie style but it has a paper thin plot.

 

6.1 on IMDB

2.8 on Netflix

32% on Rotten Tomatoes

 

I am actually surprised I never even heard of this film until this thread.

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The film was shot with 40s era lenses and sound recording techniques. The plot is hardly paper-thin. If anything, it's too complex. It is based on a bestseller. I'm not claiming it's a great film, but it is interesting, entertaining, and a worthy effort at doing something that is really impossible, i.e. recreating the sort of film that *Casablanca* and *The Third Man* are.

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Hey I never saw the film so I can't say but reviews from critics and viewers seem to disagree with you about the plot:

 

This is the tagline for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes:

 

Though Steven Soderbergh succeeds in emulating the glossy look of 1940s noirs, The Good German ultimately ends up as a self-conscious exercise in style that forgets to develop compelling characters.

 

I have no problem with new movies but one that gets a 32% on RT and a 6.1 on IMDB doesn't really seem worth seeing to me.

 

Also I have seen plenty of movies based on books where the book is great but the movie is anything but.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> *Hey. Face it. The film was so bad overall that it never got distributed to theaters.*

>

> *It went right from the editing room to DVD.*

>

> FredC,

>

> You may not have liked the film but it did have a theatrical release. It was nominated for two Oscars, so it did play in theaters.

 

 

?The Good German? had a very limited release to a few theaters, from 5 screens in December of 2006, to 11 screens in April of 2007.

 

The film was distributed to a few theaters for only 5 months.

 

It bombed in the theaters, and it was pulled from distribution and sent to DVD.

 

It cost $32 million to make, and it grossed about $12,700,000 during those 5 months.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452624/business

 

You waste a lot of my time posting incorrect or incomplete information which I have to correct for you.

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

> Hey I never saw the film so I can't say but reviews from critics and viewers seem to disagree with you about the plot:

>

> This is the tagline for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes:

>

> Though Steven Soderbergh succeeds in emulating the glossy look of 1940s noirs, The Good German ultimately ends up as a self-conscious exercise in style that forgets to develop compelling characters.

>

> I have no problem with new movies but one that gets a 32% on RT and a 6.1 on IMDB doesn't really seem worth seeing to me.

>

> Also I have seen plenty of movies based on books where the book is great but the movie is anything but.

 

Plot and character development aren't exactly the same thing. I don't think that many who saw it would deny that the plot is complex. I cited that it was based on a bestselling novel to demonstrate that it had a plot that wasn't paper thin. I know that doesn't assure that the film will be good. I've seen plenty of films I thought were great, but were poorly rated, and plenty that are highly rated, that I think stink. So, the opinion of Rotten Tomatoes is not definitive for me. I think that the film's biggest problem is that the plot was too complex to be properly dealt with in the time allowed. Too much was left out, and not enough background on the characters.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> I think that the film's biggest problem is that the plot was too complex to be properly dealt with in the time allowed. Too much was left out, and not enough background on the characters.

 

 

I agree with that.

 

There is the counterfeiting story, which finally ran into a dead end and turned out to be meaningless. Then there was the murder of the driver, the long mystery about the girl and what ?secret? about herself she was keeping. But when we finally found that out, there wasn?t much to it. Then there was the mystery about who she dated and her husband, and the mystery about the Russians and their spies, and the two separate mysteries about the two groups of Americans, one group that didn?t want to find a guy, and the other group that did.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The movie THE THIRD MAN was not based on a best seller but on a screenplay written by Graham Greene which he later adapted into a novel. As for the 1940's technology, what else did you expect it to be? As for THE GOOD GERMAN it was a weak homage to films like the THE THIRD MAn. However, beside the general dislike for the movie, I thought it had some very good moments. As for having filmed it with 1940's cameras and such, it was a interesting technical failure.Using old equipment does not a classic make. Casting, musical scoring, directing, and overall ambiance contribute to the success or failure of a movie. Much like CASABLANCA, THE THIRD MAN had a lot of luck going for it. Best, BruceG.

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> {quote:title=BruceGhent wrote:}{quote}

> The movie THE THIRD MAN was not based on a best seller but on a screenplay written by Graham Greene which he later adapted into a novel. *As for the 1940's technology, what else did you expect it to be?* As for THE GOOD GERMAN it was a weak homage to films like the THE THIRD MAn. However, beside the general dislike for the movie, I thought it had some very good moments. As for having filmed it with 1940's cameras and such, it was a interesting technical failure.Using old equipment does not a classic make...

 

Not sure what you mean by the bolded part. I was saying that *The Good German*, (not *The Third Man*,) was made with 1940s technology, which you seem to understand, later on in your post.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> Plot and character development aren't exactly the same thing. I don't think that many who saw it would deny that the plot is complex. I cited that it was based on a bestselling novel to demonstrate that it had a plot that wasn't paper thin. I know that doesn't assure that the film will be good. I've seen plenty of films I thought were great, but were poorly rated, and plenty that are highly rated, that I think stink. So, the opinion of Rotten Tomatoes is not definitive for me. I think that the film's biggest problem is that the plot was too complex to be properly dealt with in the time allowed. Too much was left out, and not enough background on the characters.

That maybe the biggest challenge of adapted material. What to cut, what to keep. If you can pare the story down to a sentence, you can make a good movie out of it if the talent is there. I wouldn't attempt a logline for The Good German..

 

imdb describes The Third Man: Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident.

 

That's just a summary of the opening, and not a logline these days, however.

 

A logline for The Third Man:

A writer seeks an old friend in Vienna, and finds his most compelling story...

The Third Man

 

imdb logline for The Good German: While in post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam Conference, an American military journalist is drawn into a murder investigation which involves his former mistress and his driver.

 

I think you can tell by the logline the better movie.

 

Edited by: casablancalover on Mar 1, 2011 10:31 AM

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Obviously, *TTM* is a better film than *TGG*. But, I like complexly-plotted, difficult to explain films, so I don't really buy your generalization. *Syriana* is an excellent film, and any reasonable "log line" would be longer than the one for *TGG*. Also, one could easily write a shorter one for *TGG*, and a longer one for *TTM*.

 

That said, I might buy your generalization as applying to box office, or to pitches for funding.

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Mar 1, 2011 8:29 PM

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You're quite right about being slightly confused. Seems to be the story of my life lately. Occasionally I jump into a conversation about a particular film I like, not necessarily following the exact drift of what was discussed before. As it happens, I haven't blogged in a long time, so perhaps my observational skills, such as reading, and possibly even thinking have atrophied somewhat. My apologies to you and anyone else who tried to decipher my convoluted logic. Will try harder next time.Best, BG.

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I?m sure you?ve seen some car races on TV where they show some CGI naming the driver, with a long arrow pointing to the driver?s car? Sometimes they have several names and arrows on the screen at the same time, so everyone at home will know who?s driving which car, especially in the wide shots where we can?t quite make out the color or number of the car.

 

Well, that?s what is needed in ?Syriana?, with names, titles, affiliations, and arrows pointing to each important guy, especially in the wide shots. :)

 

And that would probably help in ?The Good German? too. And when the film actually gets to ?the good German?, his name box should flash red so that we will know that he is indeed ?the good German.? :)

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> Im sure youve seen some car races on TV where they show some CGI naming the driver, with a long arrow pointing to the drivers car? Sometimes they have several names and arrows on the screen at the same time, so everyone at home will know whos driving which car, especially in the wide shots where we cant quite make out the color or number of the car.

>

> Well, thats what is needed in Syriana, with names, titles, affiliations, and arrows pointing to each important guy, especially in the wide shots. :)

>

> And that would probably help in The Good German too. And when the film actually gets to the good German, his name box should flash red so that we will know that he is indeed the good German. :)

Fred,

You wouldn't believe the number of times writers want to do just about that in their screenplay! But something happens in the filming/editing. LOL..

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It?s funny how some films barely miss their mark and wind up being forgotten, when they could have become a classic, such as ?Syriana?.

 

The plot could have been straightened out with some narration by someone, explaining what was going on.

 

One of the best examples of narration in a modern film was in ?Apocalypse Now?, which explained why Martin Sheen was going up the river, and it told us a lot about the Brando character long before we saw him. Not only that, it told us what the Sheen character was thinking all along the way.

 

I got so mixed up while watching ?Syriana?, I couldn?t tell which guy was a businessman or which was a CIA guy, or which Arab was which.

 

The fine film ?Missing? could have been a great classic if it had told the audiences what were the flashbacks and what weren?t. But instead, the director had the modern current events flowing along, then he cut to scenes of the son at a beach or somewhere else, then he cut back to current events, without telling the audience that the scenes of the son were flashbacks, so on first viewing, we think that the son is still alive at the same time his father is looking for him. But only toward the end of the film do we learn ? by the mentioning of dates, which the audience gets all mixed up ? that the son died before the father went into the country.

 

And on top of that, the country was never mentioned in the film, nor the year it took place, so most American audiences probably thought it was Mexico in modern times.

 

Ah, I should have been a Studio Head. I could have sent these films back to the directors and editors and had them straighten out before they were released. :)

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