Graham Greene The Third Man Essay

Graham Greene The Third Man Essay-84
The strains of Karas's zither music are heard throughout the shot. "The Third Man: Context, Text and Intertextuality," Metro Magazine 92 (Summer 1993), pp. Before the picture was completed, Graham Greene argued against this ending, for two reasons: first, because he believed that The Third Man, which he considered nothing more than an entertainment, was "too light an affair to carry the weight of an unhappy ending"; and second, because he was afraid that "few people would wait in their seats during the girl's long walk from the graveside towards Holly, and the others would leave the cinema under the impression that the ending was still going to be as conventional as my suggested ending of boy joining girl."[2] Carol Reed told Greene that the original ending, with Martins and Anna walking arm in arm from the cemetery immediately after Harry Lime's burial, "would strike the audience [...] as unpleasantly cynical."[3] Reed gave other reasons as well in a later interview, in which he also mentioned producer David O.

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That Anna would never accept Holly Martins as her lover has been made abundantly clear to us in the scene in which Holly shows up drunk at her apartment, late at night, and he declares his love for her. I'm just a hack writer who drinks too much and falls in love with girls... As if all that weren't enough, Holly's prospects for even remaining on civil terms with Anna are dramatically worsened when she realizes, on two occasions, that he has been cooperating with Calloway in setting a trap for Harry.

First, at the railroad station, at which time she says to Holly: "Look at yourself in the window - they have a name for faces like that." And later, in the café to which Harry is being lured, when the last words she speaks to Holly are: "Honest, sensible, sober Holly Martins. You must feel very proud to be a police informer." And that was before Lime's death.

The various changes that were made as The Third Man evolved from Graham Greene's original treatment to the final result in Carol Reed's film, have already been described in some detail by Adamson (1984), Moss (1987) and Wapshott (1990), and will not be outlined here once again.

Only one major change will be mentioned: at the conclusion of Greene's treatment, Martins catches up with Anna as she leaves the cemetery.

One this basis, we have been fully prepared to understand not only that Martins' love for Anna was utterly hopeless from the start, but also that now, after Harry's death, she would want nothing to do with the man who pulled the trigger.

Furthermore, when Holly replies to Calloway "I haven't got a sensible name" (Figure 17), this serves as a reminder of Anna's final insult to Holly at the café, and helps to reinforce one last time our expectation that Anna will want no part of him. In other words, the conclusion of the story is experienced as the fulfilment of an inevitability, while the cinematic discourse with which the story is concluded takes us by surprise. This unique interplay of inevitability and surprise is just one of the properties of the ending that make it unforgettable. [...] With a different final sequence, The Third Man would lose much of its intellectual force.[5] Yet, when Martins shoots Lime at the end, he is able to convince himself that he is acting out of the noblest of motives. Having been torn between a personal loyalty to Lime and a moral obligation to help the authorities arrest him, Martins finally allows his social conscience to take precedence over personal considerations, and that - according to Sarris - is what justifies an ending in which Martins is duly punished for his betrayal of Lime: "The point that Reed and Greene make [...] is that moral responsibility is personal rather than social, especially in a world that has gone awry " (p. Other critics, though adopting a more moderate stance, followed Sarris' lead in viewing the ending as in some sense either deserved by Martins or enhancing Lime's status in our eyes. Martins lacks the self-awareness to realize that his mediocrity conditions his sense of outrage at the evil deeds of a superior human force (op. They include Voigt (1974),[6] Adamson and Stratford (1978),[7] Palmer and Riley (1980)[8] and Moss (1987).[9] Moss, for example, characterizes Martins as "a clumsy and misguided idealist whose unworldliness has deadly ramifications for other people" (p. It is his meddling and inability to cope with the complexities of a dangerous world, which result in the deaths of three men: the porter, Sergeant Paine and Harry Lime. Thus his final gesture is in keeping with his awakened humanity" (p. If you believe as I do that Carpenter is right about the implicit value system of the film, and that within the framework of the fiction as Greene and Reed have defined it, Martins does what any decent person would do in his situation, there is still the question of the ending to contend with, since in this context, the ending appears entirely unfair. Mc Farlane (1993)[11] attempts to account for our willingness to accept the ending, despite the fact that it does not reward Holly's moral victory by bringing him together with Anna, as a Hollywood film would most likely have done. In this connection, Mc Farlane makes two points: first, as had already been suggested by Driver (1989/90),[12] there may be a more truthful statement about love in this ending than is usually found in more conventional films; and second, "the audience may accept Anna's walking away because of the satisfying moral rightness of the climax in the sewers" (p. Both of these points may well be valid, but they can at best explain why we accept the ending, not why we find it satisfying. Anna: If you'd rang me up and asked me whether you're fair or dark or had a mustache, I wouldn't have known. While virtually everyone who writes about The Third Man hails the ending as one of the most mesmerizing in the history of the cinema, those commentators who interpret Anna's walking past Martins at the end generally view it as an expression of the filmmakers' negative judgment of Martins. "The Third Man: Pulp Fiction and Art Film," Literature/Film Quarterly 21, 3 (1993), pp. In other words, the ending is seen by a number of commentators as appropriate and satisfying because it is precisely what Martins deserves! But other symmetries as well play an important role in that connection. For example, the shot of Anna seen from Holly's point of view as Calloway drives him from the cemetery at the end (Figure 21a-g) has a parallel in a similar shot following Harry's first burial.


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