Cinema, born in US by Edison and in France by Lumière was simply a moving picture (movie) that only evolved in Russia by masters such as Eisenstein and Vertov as an art of camera work, cinematography and editing and later on in Germany by masters such as Fritz Lang and Robert Wiene with their German expressionism. The German expressionism in earlier classics such as “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” brought more art forms to this medium, with lighting, set design, use of shadows, and camera angles, granting the art of cinema, a rich imagery that meant to have. The German expressionism in time evolved to “Film Noir” with great films such as “M” of Fritz Lang (still German), “The Killers” of Robert Siodmak, and the masterpiece of Carol Reed “The Third Man”. The only American film that borrowed such imagery techniques from the earlier German works, was “Citizen Kane” of Orson Welles that was not a film noir, but influenced American cinema, so much to be still considered by many the greatest American film.
“The Third Man” who came out of Britain is also not only a film noir, but has elements of other earlier great films such as “Pepe, Le Moko”, “Citizen Kane”, “Le jour se leve”, and “Casablanca” in its detective story and mystery solving. Despite the film is not original in several aspects, has a powerful story written by the great novelist, “Graham Green”, grand direction of Carol Reed, superb use of cinematography by Robert Krasker and soundtrack by the Viennese composer, Anton Karas, and the great performance by Joseph Cotton as Holly Martins, Alida Valli as Anna Schmidt, and specially Orson Welles as Harry Lime.
Who’s the Third Man?
The story which pivots around the mystery of the third man, opens with the scene of Vienna after the world war, running by the international forces and police, American, British, French and Russians. Martins, an American and an old friend of Harry arrives in the city to work for him, but finds out that he’s dead. This suspicion in the opening scene, is thrown to the careful audience as the first clue of his murder, by showing a floating body on the Danube river. The rest of the story, centers around the investigation of Martins who cannot believe some reports such as the police’s that his friend’s death has been an accident, but a murder.
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