Friday, December 17, 2010
Friday Favorite: The Third Man
I thought I would try to expand my blog's little world to include the things out there that I like most. Some things I absolutely love, some - certain books, paintings, videos, songs, movies, have become so integrated into the contents of my life that I almost forget that they aren't mine. But don't we all take possession of the things we love, make them a part of who we are? Once you do something, or build something, or draw something, and send it out, it belongs to anyone who sees it and takes it in. Isn't there a REM song that declares, "I am the king of all I see"?
My favorite movie is The Third Man, Carol Reed's 1949 masterpiece. Of course there's the ferris wheel and stumbling Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles in the dark doorway. It has rubbled, dark, wet post-war Vienna, the sewer chase, the tiny shouting boy and the tinier dog, the balloon man, winding staircases, Dr Winkel, the wonderful if erroneous speech by Welles about Switzerland. And a zither soundtrack. It has the bumping of bland innocence against secrets and corruption and the tilted distortions of survival. But my favorite scene, the one I think of first, is Harry Lime's attempt to escape through the locked grate that leads up out from the sewer to freedom-we've been splashed and shoved through the sopping subterranean tunnels with echoed shouting and rushing sewer water and flashlight strobed dancing shadows. Harry reaches up through the grate-we see his fingers rise from the vantage of the empty street, dead silent up there except for the high whistle of the winter wind. They uncurl, reach up, then sink slowly back below.