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Summary Of The Third Man. Essay

8475 words - 34 pages

Summary of the 3rd man..The Third Man (1949) is a visually-stylish thriller - a story of social, economic, and moral corruption in a depressed, rotting and crumbling, 20th century Vienna following World War II. The striking film-noirish, shadowy thriller was filmed expressionistically within the decadent and poisoned city, sector-divided along geo-political lines. The black and white, pessimistic film is one of the greatest British thrillers of the post-war era, in the best Alfred Hitchcock tradition, and beautifully produced and directed by Britisher Carol Reed. It was co-produced by Hungarian Alexander Korda and American David O. Selznick. Because Korda gave American distribution rights to Selznick (who cut eleven minutes from the original British version), the credits of the US version include Selznick references.This was Reed's second collaboration with screenwriter Graham Greene - a clever mystery tale of a love triangle with nightmarish suspense, treachery, betrayal, guilt and disillusionment. Its two most famous sequences include the Ferris-wheel showdown high atop a deserted fairground, and the climactic chase through the underground network of sewers.The director knew that the film's musical score could not be reflective of the traditional Old Vienna - waltz music by Strauss. Instead, it would be provided by a solo instrument -- a zither. The jaunty musical score by Viennese composer/performer Anton Karas lingers long after the film's viewing with its twangy, mermerizing, lamenting, disconcerting (and sometimes irritating) hurdy-gurdy tones. In fact, Karas' musical instrument was a leading film character and advertised as such: "He'll have you in a dither with his zither (a laptop string instrument)." The insistent, chilling music sets a mood of polarized dislocations in the world (e.g., war and play, men and children) and in the corrupted city's 'no-man's-land' environment (with its bombed out, war-torn ruins, dark and slick streets, cemeteries and sewers criss-crossing beneath the sectored zones).Surprisingly, it was nominated for only three Academy Awards, including Best Director, and Best Film Editing. Its sole Oscar was for Robert Krasker's vivid, atmospheric, moody black/white cinematography. Unusually reckless, tilted camera angles (one of their earliest uses), and wide-angle lens distortions amidst the atmospheric on-location views of a shadowy Vienna cast a sombre mood over the fable of post-war moral ambiguity and ambivalent redemption. The deliberately unsettling, tilted angles reflected the state of the ruined and dark city. [This was the first British film shot almost entirely on location.]And the film once again teamed co-stars Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles of Citizen Kane (1941) , in a tale of a foolishly-romantic American writer (Holly Martins) of pulp westerns in occupied, post-WWII Vienna who tries to understand (and then decipher) the mysterious disappearance - death and burial of an old school friend (Harry Lime) -...

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