5 Career Paths in Film
- American literature , Career , Career Path , Fiction , Film , Film Analysis
How it works
For our third film, we had the opportunity to watch The Third Man, a 1949 film noir set in Vienna. Not only did it take place in the Austrian city, it was shot on location. The shooting took place only a few years after the devastation of World War II, the aftermath of the war is clearly visible on-screen and was used as a backdrop for the rest of the film. Being a film noir, which is french for “dark movie,” the picture is in black and white and the story is a tragic one without a happy ending.
A writer, Holly Martins, is offered a job by his friend, Harry Lime, but once arriving it is explained that Lime was killed in an “accident” hours before his arrival. His body was moved by three people, of which the third man is unknown. It is revealed that Lime was involved in selling diluted penicillin on the black market, which cost people their lives, and was stolen from hospitals. In a twist, Lime is discovered to be alive and flees upon being found. Lime meets with Martins and discloses his nature towards those he affected, and how meaningless their lives are to him. This scene is important because it helps us establish the kind of person Lime truly is; a selfish criminal with blatant disregard towards human life.
How it works
Eventually he attempts to escape through the sewers under the city, Lime shoots and kills a police officer and is injured during the process. Cornered, Martins and Lime have a moment alone where no dialogue is spoken, but there is an acknowledgement between the two that said more than words could. A shot is heard off-screen, and Martins is seen walking away. The off-screen death of Limes is much more impactful the second time around because we actually get to learn about his character throughout the film. From hoping for a positive outcome for the presumed innocent man we believe was murdered, we are instead satisfied with his death.
The chase scene is the culmination of everything The Third Man has to offer. The harsh lighting, the contrasting tones, the tilted camera angles, the use of shadows, even the sound of shoes smacking the cobblestone streets are a few of the notable aspects that make the scene. Not to mention the film’s score, it was appropriate and not overly-produced. The wardrobe of the characters consisted of jackets and coats which really emphasized the coldness and despair of the city. The dialogue, complemented with the acting, was top-notch, and along with the music score, conveyed the suspense of the story. The last shot of the film is a single take, long-shot where Lime’s girlfriend, Anna Schmidt is seen walking alone from his funeral down a long road for a second time. The leafless trees perfectly aligned and parallel to each other created a beautiful symmetrical shot that stays on long enough to be appreciated. Schmidt walks past Martins, leaving him as alone as she and we see the scene fade out to the credits.