Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Third Man

Porter: He is now
[pointing up] 
 in Hell, or
[pointing down]
in Heaven.

The extent of human creativity and inventiveness is such that, were I to attempt to even breach the crust of trying to absorb our cumulative knowledge of culture and art, I would have to live a thousand lives, probably more. Still, I try. One step at a time.

Carol Reed's The Third Man is a film that had eluded me for decades, which, I suppose, is thematically appropriate. Finally, today, I sat down -- lied in bed is a more accurate descriptor -- and enjoyed a film 29 years my senior, 64 years since its release.

It was love at first viewing. Considered by many as one of the best films ever made, it's easy to see why. The acting, cinematography, location photography, dialogue (god, that dialogue!), cinematic sleight of hand*; the tension (sorry, suspense), wit, the zither score, the ending...and every idiosyncrasy within the film's 104 minutes is astonishing.

Imagining myself as Anna in the final scene, walking slowly toward the foreground to catch up and then surpass Holly Martins, I know I want to go back, to recreate what was, what might be, and what is impossible.

What an incredible film.

* Holly's bruised lip switching sides, the kid's ball changing color, the unintentional (or not) mispronunciation of names, the changing cats...I could go on.

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