By Andrew Harwood

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? From detective novels like “Sherlock Holmes,” animated shows for kids like “Scooby-Doo,” to the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, mystery is one of the most beloved genres in the world. 

In cinema, mystery films revolve around a protagonist and their journey to the solution. Suspense is the key ingredient when it comes to mystery films. The tense build-up, trailing shadows, eerie soundtrack and mysterious camera angles all play a part to keep the audience on edge. 

Some great examples of mystery films are “The Usual Suspects,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” “Gosford Park” and, our film of the week, “The Third Man.”

Written by Graham Greene and directed by Hollywood icon Carol Reed, “The Third Man” tells the story of American western writer, Holly Martins, played by Joseph Cotton, who comes to post-World War II Vienna, Austria after receiving a job offer from his good friend Harry Lime, played by Orson Welles. 

Once he arrives in Vienna, Martins learns from some suspicious acquaintances that his friend has died. From here, Martins becomes engrossed in seeking the truth around what he pins as a suspicious death. It isn’t long until Martins hits the nail on the head and everything around him comes crumbling down. 

Shot in black and white, “The Third Man” holds tightly to the element of suspense. Featuring harsh lighting, meticulous camerawork, a chilling score from Anton Karas and remarkable locations, “The Third Man” delivers when it comes to sitting on the edge.

With a devilish performance from Orson Welles, a deeply original script and an array of twist and turns, “The Third Man” is no ordinary mystery. Groundbreaking, indulgent, dazzling, “The Third Man,” released in 1949, was incredibly ahead of its time.  

 




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