Movie Doubt Essay

Those gorgeously filmed bleak streets of Vienna still seem exotic and dangerously alluring.The cast is superior, Graham Greene’s script is full of great lines, and director Carol Reed’s eye for black-and-white magic is impeccable.

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Against such odds, his desperate escape attempt looks valiant.

He may be doomed to die in the underworld of the sewers, but the irony is that the hellish maze below ground looks tidier and grander than the bombed city overhead.

For a bounty of 20,000 pounds (about $100,000 at the time), Harry thinks that anyone would be willing to eliminate at least one dot.

The proposal may seem monstrously callous, but the ruins of Vienna—omnipresent in the film—serve to remind us that the “good” airmen of the Allied forces destroyed countless dots in the bombing campaign of World War II and received medals for doing so.

This kind of moral equivocation is now a constant in our world of terrorist outrages, drone attacks, and air raids on innocent civilians who are written off as “collateral damage.” The “good guys” in our conflicts have never been harder to find.

And nothing can explain more vividly how we came to this sad state of affairs than The Third Man.

With someone like Noël Coward hiding in a darkened doorway, Harry Lime’s delayed emergence from the shadows would have seemed a cheap trick borrowed from some other film.

But when a sudden light from a window illuminates Welles’s profile in the doorway, he doesn’t look in the least alarmed or even annoyed.

And thanks largely to the actor’s manner of casual immorality—his easy shrugs of indifference toward rules and laws—Harry comes to dominate the film even when he’s not in the frame.

It seems to take forever for Greene and Reed to bring Welles into the picture, but when he does appear, it’s one of the greatest entrances in film history.


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