The Third Man


My goal for this year is to watch and review 100 movies, it was my intention so that I would be forced to pay more attention to movies instead of passively watching them. This has drastically cut down on the number of movies I watch since I would normally throw on a movie as background noise, which has now defaulted to tv shows now. My goal next year will be to knock off a set amount of “classic” movies. Like every person who is obsessed with movies, there are a large amount of movies I have never watched or seen in a single setting, whether these are revered movies such as The Godfather or pop culture phenomenons such as Grease. I was supposed to watch Grease tonight as part of my city’s movie in the square program, but left due to lingering pain from having my wisdom teeth removed. So I ended up watching The Third Man instead figuring it got the classic / revered checkboxes in place of popularity.

Without further rambling, I would give it 7 “penicillin scams” of 10.


Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is an out of work western novel writer. At the beginning of the movie he travels to post-war Vienna in hopes of a new job with help from his old friend Harry Lime (Oscar Welles). Only to learn upon his arrival that Harry was recently killed in an accident. Martins then learns very quickly that something more sinister is afoot after the British police question him about the racket that Harry was involved with before his death. After he investigated into the matter through some other former associates of Harry, Martins learns there was a third man present at the scene and the mysterious lady friend was somehow involved. Martins falls for the girl and then discovers that Harry is still alive! It all comes down to Martins deciding whether to take the path of righteousness and help the police or take the selfish path … unless they all intertwine.


Maybe it is just in my head, but movies didn’t hold your hand and explain everything back then. As a viewer, you are dropped off and know only as much as the main character. Current movies seem to tell you everything that happened before the main character arrives, translate the foreign languages, and telegraph what is going to happen before it can happen. Not only that, but the trailer didn’t show you the ending before you could even sit down to watch it. Because of this, the actual story doesn’t have to be overly complicated just to keep you in suspense.


While movies might not be as simple or brave as they used to be, that doesn’t always work out in their favor. The “twist” comes to play probably near the middle or close to the end of the second act, so the rest of the movie deals more with the character struggle. In this case it somewhat worked out, but at the same time the chase at the end leaves you with no suspense. It is just a bunch of people chasing down a villain in a sewer and you have no reason to want them to escape and the main character all but disappears during that time. Also once you figure out the storyline, you know how it is going to end … so the story becomes almost pointless aside from seeing how the character’s actions have consequences.


The Third Man is an entertaining enough movie that doesn’t rely on special effects or overly complicated storylines. There is still plenty of suspense since it leaves you as clueless as the main character, who is dropped in an area where he doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know anyone, and can’t trust anyone. If you find yourself with two hours to spare and want a decent film noir, then look no further than Netflix.


Want a movie with a little dazzle, a slightly more complicated story, but still don’t want everything spelled out? Then Mission: Impossible is for you. Before Tom Cruise was the action star that was making these movies to film death defying stunts, they actually relied on the characters being spies. It should keep you guessing until the end, before it makes you rethink the entire movie.

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