Archive for March, 2006

It was almost a night in Vienna…

March 16, 2006

Brigitte Timmermann does justice to a filmic masterpiece with her hotchpotch study, The Third Man's Vienna, says Simon Callow

Saturday February 25, 2006
The Guardian

The Third Man's Vienna
by Brigitte Timmermann
416pp, Shippen Rock, €49

All film schools should be closed down, Michael Winner once remarked, and aspiring directors simply made to watch Carol Reed's The Third Man over and over again. One of a handful of films which bear any amount of repetition, it is a cornucopia of delights: Orson Welles's incomparable cameo as Harry Lime, Anton Karas's maddeningly unforgettable zither theme for him (as well as his witty musical commentary throughout the rest of the film), Robert Krasker's dazzling black-and-white cinematography, Graham Greene's typically laconic and mordantly witty fable of crime, deceit and betrayal, Vincent Korda's superb designs. Yet no list of ingredients ever guarantees success: the very same elements could have been assembled to disappointing effect. What is it, finally, that makes a masterpiece in this most collaborative of mediums?