The most highly regarded of postwar British films noir, The Third Man strikes me as quite Chandleresque (Chandlerian?). Holly Martens (a pulp scribe not unlike Chandler several decades earlier) puts the clues together slowly, but this film isn’t about detection. Like Chandler’s novels, The Third Man delivers atmosphere (though Graham Greene’s plot is better than Chandler’s usually were). The cinematography is beguiling, unnerving—and positively gorgeous.
Posts tagged The Third Man
thelamplightersserenade asked: Do you have recommendations for spy novels? I've read Tinker Tailor and plan to read the rest of the Karla trilogy, I have the IPCRESS Files on my list, and the Company. Do you have any cold war films/novels you can recommend?
John le Carré’s Cold War novels are good (his post-Cold War novels are less so). I would especially recommend The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (and the movie with Richard Burton). I have a number of espionage novels around, I just have yet to read them all. The definitive Cold War neo-noir is probably The Manchurian Candidate, though the novel by Richard Condon is not really noir. The Third Man also deals with international politics, as do a number of other Graham Greene novels.
Eric Ambler wrote some hardboiled spy thrillers. The Fallen Sparrow, by the always excellent Dorothy B. Hughes, has some foreign intrigue in the plot. Richard Hershatter and Andrew Garve wrote pulpy espionage novels, as did Donald Hamilton (Matt Helm doesn’t remotely resemble Dean Martin, by the way).
And let us not forget Ian Fleming’s James Bond. As I have argued previously, I think James Bond is a hardboiled hero. Especially in Casino Royale, which has near-noirish fatalism. In the other novels, the noir elements are perhaps less apparent. But he is a hardboiled, pulpy hero—a Tory Mike Hammer, if you will.
This is really brilliant. This video not only captures the tone of film noir, it also encapsulates is breadth, ranging from hardboiled private dicks (The Maltese Falcon) to espionage (The Third Man) to melodrama (Sunset Boulevard).
Don’t be surprised if you can’t stop watching it, either. And you really should be following The Odd Jacket if you like to see cool stuff.
The Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir.
Can’t stop watching this mash-up. So good.
Will Romola Garai be the next Christina Hendricks?
More importantly, is this noir? I don’t really think so. But it’s a darn good show. It easily could have been a noirish, hardboiled spy thriller à la Graham Greene or Eric Ambler. Think The Third Man diluted by Mad Men-style office politics and shenanigans.
I love Mad Men, but there’s a reason they stick to Don Draper’s personal drama and haven’t made him a CIA plant. Hell, James Bond (in the Ian Fleming novels, if not all of the movies) is a secret agent and still has rather hardboiled, pulp sensibilities. I like this show, but wish they’d upped the noir factor a bit. The two halves of The Hour—i.e., the Mad Men-wannabe office drama and the Cold War spy plot—are curiously bifurcated.