Friday, October 18, 2013

The Third Man

The Third Man is always mentioned with pride and pleasure when Welles' name comes up. It is marvellous entertainment. There are many sequences which carry the stamp of masterful art. They are stylishly done by Carol Reed. Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard and Adala Valli have also put in great performances in the film. One of the classic sequences is the first appearance of Welles. The final shot is also well done. Welles plays Harry Lime, an American black marketer in Vienna who is in the business of selling diluted penicillin in Viennese hospitals. The build up of this character is a study specimen in character exposition and in the art of film making. The first half hour of the film discusses almost nothing except Harry Lime. When the character finally turns up on the screen, Orson Welles comes through in the play of dark and light sans makeup or any wig. The screen presents Welles as he is. This scene has given the film a mighty special touch. Welles' participation in the film is so brief that the Assistant Director, Guy Hamilton, filled in as Welles' double for some shots in the dark sewer. The reason being that Welles was busy filling up for his own production of Othello then. I recommend this film as a study film along with Citizen Kane. These two films are sufficient to give Orson Welles a legendary status. Anton Karas also achieved a legendary status for himself for the magnificent title music that is played even today with the same enthusiasm as it instilled in those days when the film was released in 1949.

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