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“The Third Man (1949) is a visually-stylish thriller – a paranoid 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, shattered and poisoned city that has been sector-divided along geo-political lines.” (http://www.filmsite.org/thir.html)

To put the film in context, The Third Man was a story by Graham Greene. According to Filmsite Movie Review, Greene wrote this solely for adaption to script and screen, he never intended its publication as a novel. “I saw a man walking down the Strand, whose funeral I had only recently attended.” (http://www.filmsite.org/thir.html) This was the line that Greene wrote that inspired him for his whole novel. The film was released post World War Two when Vienna, where the film was shot, was partially in ruin. Vienna in 1948 has been sector divided, meaning that it lay on a geo-political line, this made the location very much alternative and the situation at the time is portrayed in the film itself. The film was named by the BFI ( British Film Institute) the number 1 British film of the 20th Century.

In terms of the way the film was shot,  the tilted dutch angle shots were actually mirrored “the state of the ruined, fractured and dark city” (http://www.filmsite.org/thir.html). The variety of shots including high view, low view and neutral view angles give the viewer the best chance of entering into the story and being intrigued until the last word. The ruined exteriors pictured in some of the scenes contrasted well with the beauty of the scenes shot in an interior space. The theme of contrast is pushed around a lot throughout the film: honesty, dishonestly, love, hate, friendship, betrayal. I feel this mirrors the Film Noir being that the visual richness of Film Noir is based firstly on the contrast of black and white. The film has a strong storyline in which in actors portray well their character and personality. Although the cast is small, each person has their role to play in the film and they all stand out because there is so few of them.

When first watching the film, it felt as if it went on longer than it should. When we realised Harry was alive, I pinpointed this as the climax of the film and after that, it went on until the end chase where finally Harry is caught. However between these two parts, it did linger a little too much on the search before the pursuit. The storyline to me is very Graham Greene, after studying one of his books at school The Quiet American, I did see a lot of similarities that were portrayed in both works. I thought the directing of the film was fantastic, I did see how much thought had gone into picking the scenes and capturing the angles to give the best effect for the viewer. I did not find this film scary in anyway but I could see why it had been labelled as both thriller and mystery. I enjoyed this genre of film so I think that aided in my overall viewing experience.

 

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