THE THIRD MAN (1949)
Directed by Carol Reed
Starring- Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Valli, Trevor Howard
This film is easily in my top five of all time. If you have never seen it, put it on your Netflix list or whatever. Based on the novel by Graham Greene, it focuses on post-war Vienna and beautifully captures the spirit of the forlorn city. Even if you have never seen the film, you have seen its influence or parodies of its scenes. Welles is great as the mysterious Harry Lyme, and after this you will remember him as a handsome cad, and not the wine-drenched planetoid he became in his later years.
Cotten is also good as the conflicted hero who tries to negotiate the seedy world of Vienna with a beautiful girl and the British and Russian authorities complicating his search for his old friend, Lyme. His scenes with Howard, who plays the British commander, bristle with wit and conflict.
Director Carol Reed brilliantly weaves suspense, humor and melancholy in a way that makes Hitchcock pissed he didn't make this film himself. He also shoots the film in stark contrast, so much so that you can't imagine the film in anything but black and white. The scene where we meet Welles' character is so powerful because of the use of the shadows and light. Few reveals compare in the history of film.
Also worth mention is Anton Karras' signature zither music which makes this film even more unique. What makes it even more amazing is that he made the music up as he went along, without writing it down.
With all this said, The Third Man is a brilliant piece of cinema, and it is no wonder that it was voted the best British film of all time. For fans of Welles, the spy genre, mystery, suspense, great characters and music, this movie does not disappoint.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR-
The fat Viennese kid with the ball
A pre-James Bond Bernard Lee (M)
The Prater Ferris Wheel Scene
The Sewers, oh the Sewers
The Greatest Ig of all time
"Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the professionals."