The Third Man, Historical Analysis

1548 words 7 pages
The Third Man, Historical Analysis A Review of the Film

The Third Man, was filmed in post World War II Vienna, releasing in 1949. The film was written by Graham Greene, directed by Carol Reed, and produced by the American David Selznick and the British Michael Korda. The black and white, pessimistic film “is one of the greatest British thrillers of the post-war era, in the best Alfred Hitchcock tradition, and beautifully produced….It was voted the #1 British Film of the 20th Century” (Tim Dirkes, Filmsite Review) Holly Martins, the unemployed American writer of western novels, comes to Vienna out of disparity. Holly gets invited to Vienna to work by his childhood friend, Harry Lime: It is their friendship that
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Harry was real. He wasn’t just your friend and my lover; he was Harry.

HOLLY: Well, don’t preach wisdom to me. You talk about him as if he had occasional bad manners. Oh, I don’t know, I’m just a hack writer who drinks too much and falls in love with girls—you.

Holly Martins character flips around significantly towards the end of the film. He finds Harry, and shoots him. The producers showed incoherently the disorientation on life. He later turns into a confused, unjust man: sharing humanity’s common confusion of life.

Conflict: How does the conflict express the themes in the Third Man? The internal clashes in the film lie in the message of the film. Holly Martins and Harry Lime are thought to be friends. In the last scene, Martins is faces impossible conflict as a friend and as a person. Internally, he is the only one who can stop himself. He takes the gun alone and stands face to face with Lime for his immorality. He pulls the trigger, and kills. The external clash starts with hardship of war, and the physical destruction of life in Vienna, the human interest’s collided. Those changes, and Holly’s growing recognition of them, truly tests the friendship of the two; they test the morality of one another, and test the deception in one another. The films conflict depicts a real life situation in the time. It was new thing in the post-war era to depict real life situations, and to show the real individuality of


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