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The Third Man - An Ending Analysis

Uploaded by BradleyHarris on Nov 07, 2003

Discuss the way Carol Reed’s technique affects our response to the last fifteen minutes of The Third Man

You could question why Carol Reed chose to shoot the film in Vienna. I think it was supposed to symbolise Harry Lime. It was beautiful but the film is filmed just after the Second World War. The place was crumbled and it lay in ruin.

Carol Reed had built up a lot of tension in the square already when the soldiers are waiting for Harry Lime to appear. So he had to find a way to release some of it. The drunken balloon man was a fantastic way in which to do this. In the shadows he looks like an enormous larger than life monster and you feel a lot of apprehension because you think it’s Harry. So when he appears around the corner and you discover he’s just a stumbling old drunk there’s a massive anti-climax. When he starts trying to sell the officers a balloon it adds humour to what is still a very tense situation.

Carol Reed’s clever use of the point of view shot when Harry’s looking over the square evokes a certain kind of sympathy for him. It shows how oblivious he is of the twenty or so soldiers, waiting to arrest him. You momentarily forget about all the things he’s done. You feel that no matter how much he had this coming, no one deserves this kind of deception from their best friend. He trusted Holly enough to turn up and there is simple, cheerful music playing in the background. You get the sense that he’s not all bad and the penicillin and the murders and the deceptions are just things he’s done, not who he is. You feel that he is somewhat a victim of circumstances and now he’s just painted himself into a corner.

Calloway is a very interesting character. He’s portrayed throughout the film as morally unprincipled and almost desperate to catch Harry. These mannerisms really tend to exploit Holly and Anna’s naivety when it comes to Harry. It makes it seem as though Calloway is decidedly intolerant of Harry and very unsympathetic towards him. But when Harry shoots the officer down in the sewers we realise that Calloway is in fact the only one who can see Harry for what he is. Holly and Anna seem almost incapable of doing this, and...

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Uploaded by:   BradleyHarris

Date:   11/07/2003

Category:   Film

Length:   6 pages (1,452 words)

Views:   2962

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