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Resurrecting the Third Man

The Third Man
Produced by Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick
Directed by Carol Reed
Screenplay by Graham Greene
Released by London Films
Re-released by Rialto Pictures

Forget the Dark Side. Darth Sidious? No more convincing than Bela Lugosi flitting about an Abbott and Costello travesty. For the real thing, you'll have to visit your local revival house when The Third Man shows up. Although filmed in black and white without special effects, its evocation of evil is infinitely more unsettling than anything Industrial Light and Magic has ever served up.

The Third Man turns 50 this year, and to celebrate the occasion, Rialto Pictures has restored and re-released director Carol Reed's brilliant adaptation of Graham Greene's narrative of foreign intrigue. It's being distributed nationwide throughout the summer.

Seeing the film in 35 mm projected on a full-size screen reveals its intentions with far greater clarity than video possibly could. To interpret Greene's vision of a world without sure moral footing, Reed emploved a few simple strategies that lose most of their impact on the small screen. He shot many of his scenes on an angle so that tables, chairs, buildings, and actors always seem on the verge of tumbling from the frame. He chose to film the narrative's death dance of innocence and duplicity in high-contrast...

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