The Third Man: Historical Realities of Film Noir

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LCC-3254 | The Third Man: | Historical Realities of Film Noir | | Mykhail Chambers | 12/11/2010 |


Throughout history, time has shown the world that its various art forms are influenced by the current events of the era. The world of cinema is no exception to this statement, for some of history’s greatest films have been inspired by the happenings of man. Whether it is political struggle, social strife, a cultural movement, or cultural unrest, cinema has found ways to manipulate our history as a species into a form of entertainment. The period after The Second World War was a time of suffering and hard times. A time when crime was on the rise and quite possibly one of the only ways to survive. In Carol Reed’s storied classic, The Third Man, Reed explores these ideas and uses various aspects of film noir combined with parts of other styles to convey the harsh realities of life after the war in Vienna. World War Two ranged from 1939 to 1945. During this same time, crime movies began to garner popularity. Famous Hollywood genres of the era included the gangster film and the western – both of which encorperates elements of crime that Americans found so amusing. Interestingly enough, the genre known as film noir was neglected by Americans during this same time period. Film noir has long been around well before WWII yet it took longer to catch on in the United States due to the fact that not enough American filmmakers were inclined to explore this art form. Film noir had more hype overseas and was relatively new in the United States. French film helped to build American interest in film noir; and by the late 1940s film noir reached the peak of its popularity in Hollywood. Convenient enough, The Third Man was produced during this same time period. Carol Reed takes full advantage of the arsenal of film noir elements in his film and accurately displays a war torn environment. The Third Man seems to utilize aspects of film noir and documentary film in

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