Sunday, March 6, 2011

#55 The Third Man (1949), 93 min

Beth: So, I know it's been a while since we've watched a movie on the list. And I can't say that we've sprung back with a bang. A couple of weeks ago we watched The Third Man. Let me just start out by saying that usually, any movie that is black and white will make me feel bored during the movie. I'm a present-day movie snob. I need mental, auditory and visual stimulation. Constantly. So my initial feeling about this movie was that it sucked.

I've had a couple weeks to calm down and reflect on the actual movie and it's not half bad. If you can get past all the things I just mentioned. Basically, the main character (Holly - who's a man) arrives in Vienna to see his friend Harry. Harry has offered Holly a job. But when Holly arrives, Harry isn't at the train station so Holly goes to Harry's place to learn that he just died. So Holly goes to the funeral. He's curious about the details of Harry's death and starts looking into it. He meets Harry's girl and starts asking too many questions. It gets a little difficult to explain after that but basically it turns out that Harry was into some dirty business and the authorities were about to arrest Harry before his untimely death.

It has a very cool twist that I didn't think was possible of a 1940s movie. They are able to pull off some pretty cool filming angles as well. There's a large-scale search scene (reminding me very much of The Sound of Music). I think that with the right score, this movie would be something today. According to IMDB, it's ranked higher than Braveheart. Unless there are a LOT more elderly people logging into IMDB than I give them credit for, I'm not exactly sure what the hubbub is all about.

Alf: The Third Man is a movie about a writer who goes to visit a friend while looking for work. When he arrives at his friend's house, he finds out that he recently died. The writer (Holly) tries to find out what happened to his friend (Harry), and the further he digs, the more he finds out about Harry's past dealings. Through his investigation Holly comes to the conclusion that foul play was involved.

Overall, I think the movie was pretty good although a bit slow at times. I don't know if it's because we're used to a little more elaborate mysteries now, or if this one was just a little bit easier to predict. I think the story line with Holly, the out-of-town friend, and Anna (Harry's girlfriend) was probably more interesting than the mystery. Since Harry was dead, it was an odd dynamic. Holly and Anna seemed to grow close pretty quickly because they had something big in common (Harry's death), and needed someone to share their feelings with.

So, I did end up liking the movie, but I probably wouldn't have had it on my list of all-time favorites. If they could have picked up the pace in parts of the movie, I think it would have had more of a "thriller" feel. As it is, it's still a pretty good mystery/noir movie.