The Third Man (1949)

A thriller starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, about a pulp fiction Western writer who finds himself embroiled in the murder investigation surrounding the death of his childhood friend.

I had always heard about this movie and it had always been at the periphery of film to me. I don’t know it as well as, say, Citizen Kane, but it was still certainly worth a watch when it turned up on BBCi Player back in August.

This film is supposed to be noteworthy due to its use of Dutch angles, its zither soundtrack and its cinematography. Due to the rather buoyant soundtrack, it left me slightly at odds as to what the tone of the movie was supposed to be. Despite this, the film still managed to be chilling in all the right places despite having been skimmed down by the censors. A perfect example of giving a good cinematic experience through suggestion and not just filling the film with unneeded and clunky exposition.

The acting talent was good, although Orson Welles’s entire duration of screentime came in at around 5 minutes in entirety. A pity, but there was talent aplenty to whet the appetite of any avid film fan. It was interesting to see Trevor Howard as something other than a ‘romantic’ hero, as well.

However, despite this, there was something underlying which prevented me from giving this film a full 5 *s. For the longest time when writing this review, I wasn’t sure and then I realized – despite this film being labelled as one of ‘the greats’ I don’t think its the sort of film I could stand repeatedly viewing for fun. It is too claggy for that, and I don’t really want to be guided by some arbitrary list about the ‘Greatest Films Ever’ when picking and choosing the films I want to watch.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****

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