The Third Man (1939)
Poor Holly Martins, not only did his parents saddle the pulp Western writer with an odd moniker, but when he travels to Vienna at the invitation of a school chum, he arrives just in time for his friend’s funeral. Harry Lime’s death leaves his lovely actress girlfriend, Anna Schmidt, to grieve and Holly with many questions. Though warned by British MP, Major Calloway, that Lime was a criminal, Holly is determined to uncover the truth and clear his friend’s name.
Set post-WWII Allied-occupied Vienna, The Third Man has all classic elements of noir, a grieving beauty who knows more than she reveals, chase scenes down shadowy streets and a hero intent on discovering the truth. A common pitfall of mysteries is too many plot twists and not enough character development. Thanks to Graham Greene’s script, the British film has both mystery and distinctive characters.
“A person doesn’t change just because you find out more,” Anna Schmidt declares.
A statement you’ll want to consider when you check out The Third Man.