Five reasons The Third Man rules!
1.) The opening narration and the mandolin that plays throughout. I love the tone and accent of the narrator as he casually sets up the story for us. And without wasting time, bang, we’re right in the middle of a who-dun-it murder mystery. And to add to the mandolin, I love how certain parts of it remind me of George Carlin’s Hawaiian Nose-Humming. (I wish I had a link for that)
2.) The acting, especially Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli in the lead roles. I love Trevor Howard‘s accent also!
3.) The sound of dress shoes on cobble stone streets. There’s a few chase scenes at night, after it’s rained and the sound of the dress shoes crunching against the cobble stone streets, well, there’s a sort of romance to hearing that sound. And then there’s the climactic chase scene through the sewers. Such a great job of sound editing! And then the final shot, looking down the street with the dead trees and the leaves wafting thru the air. Epic.
4.) Orson Welles, who appears an hour into this movie in the title role delivers yet another excellent performance. He plays the antagonistic Third Man so brilliantly, especially in the ferris wheel scene.
5.) The quotes! Paraphrasing – In Italy they had 30 years of war, terror and murder under the Bourgeis, but they produced Michaelangelo, Leonardo di Vinci and the Renissance. In Switzerland, they’ve had 500 years of peace and democracy and what have they produced?… The cuckoo clock. This movie also has one of my favorite quotes ever – “I’m just a hack writer who drinks too much and falls in love with girls.” How romantic and drunk with self-pity is that line?! Love it.