Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 220: Wednesday August 10

The Third Man (Reed, 1949): Nomad Cinema, Battersea Park, 8.45pm

Going to the cinema does not have to entail driving to the out-of-town multiplex or even to any sort of picture house at all these days. There are plenty of pubs and clubs putting on films while the pop-up cinema phenomenon is becoming far more prevalent in the movie listings. The Nomad Cinema, run by the people at the excellent Lexi Cinema in Kensal Green, is the most adventurous of the pop-up brigade and tonight's screening of The Third Man in Battersea Park is typically innovative of the Nomad and Lexi partnership.

Time Out review:

'A considerably more harmonious collaborative effort than Allied powersharing, ‘The Third Man’ remains among the most consummate of British thrillers: Reed and Greene’s sardonic vision of smiling corruption is deliciously realised with superb location work, a roster of seasoned Viennese performers and the raised eyebrow of Anton Karas’ jaunty zither score.

Although his screen time is famously scanty, Orson Welles’ Harry haunts each scene: everywhere and invisible, he’s a smirking Cheshire cat of a villain, a superb case study in shameless charisma as poisonous contagion. Audiences, like many of the characters, have tended to fall for his charms, fondly recalling the privilege of being taken into his confidence rather than the rotten core it conceals. The film, however, is less charitable, pursuing the performer backstage into the sewers, sick bowels of the city he lords it over. Playing American heroics against British pragmatism, elements of noir against horror (the empty grave, the burning torches), ‘The Third Man’ is suffused with irony yet ultimately serious-minded: without personal responsibility, it says, there is no hope for civilisation – however charming the smirk.
' Ben Walters


Here is the famous scene introducing Orson Welles as Harry Lime.

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