Saturday, August 26, 2017
"The Third Man"
One more classic film: "The Third Man." Suspenseful! Brooding! Orson Welles! Good vs. Evil! Amazing musical background!
Above all: the cinematography is unbelievable. There's not much I can add to the admiration that's been going on since 1949, but like most viewers, I especially appreciated the camera angles that slanted the scenes, creating amazing patterns. The imagery of dark interiors, nighttime scenes, and the twisty and unpredictable paths through the sewers of Vienna, not to mention the iconic image of the ferris wheel -- all are vividly memorable. The cinematographer Robert Krasker received an Oscar for "Black-and-White Cinematography."
Lastingly famous people made the film a classic: director Carol Reed, screenwriter Graham Greene, producers Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick, and actors Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Alida Valli, the female lead, and composer Anton Karas, who wrote the score, are not as well-remembered as the rest, in my opinion, but also critical to the film's excellence.
Throughout the film, the stark uses of black and white images reminded me of the work of Hungarian-born photographer André Kertész, but I am not aware of any actual direct influence. I suspect that the common approach to composition was characteristic of both cinema and still photography at that time.
Interesting discussion of the film here: "The Third Man" in Senses of Cinema.