‘The Third Man’ released in 1939, still packs a punch in terms of storytelling and various crafts of movie making. The film sports an ensemble cast and crew, with an international co-production helmed by Alexander Korda and David O.Selznick.
‘The Third man’ kicks off with the fiction writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), reaching Vienna to meet his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Holly is in for a shock when he is told Harry is dead. He quickly recovers from it and soon, his simple fact finding mission turns into a full-fledged investigation in Harry’s death.
The movie is set in two parts. Act 1 (with the inciting incident of Harry’s death), is about a writer who can be accused of resorting to flights of fancy and imagination, considering his profession, and is unnecessarily meddling with an open and shut case as projected by police. Act 2 (inciting incident being Harry or his ghost appearance), is when Holly knows the truth. Act 3 (inciting incidents being his conversation with Anna, and then the unscheduled stop at the hospital), is his struggle to come to terms with and his necessity to act or withdraw.
Orson Welles charm is in full flow and his dramatic entrance is whistle worthy in the halls. His character though comes much later in the movie, still holds your attention. Rest of the characters too, are etched out in interesting details. One noteworthy aspect of it is that, all the characters right from the point of their introduction stay true to their core, irrespective of the story movement. The only person who changes and is forced to, is Holly Martins character. It’s a difficult feat to achieve in story-telling, especially with so many important characters.
The climax is well shot and deserves a special mention. So, is the music by Anton Karas and his ‘zither’ based compositions.