Monday, November 2, 2009

Dear God: A remake of THE THIRD MAN?

Really? Somebody is idiotic enough to subject themselves the the backlash and critical failure this film will most likely receive?

Well, it appears that not only is one person stupid enough to try and remake Carol Reed's 1949 masterpiece, but three people are: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Eastern Promises screenwriter Steven Knight. Now, all three of these individuals are highly talented and capable of great work. Eastern Promises was one of the best slow burn films of the past decade, a brilliant character study, and DiCaprio and Maguire have come a long way since their early days to both become respectable actors. However, and let me be clear about these, none of these three are capable of making a film that could EVER live up to the work of Carol Reed, Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.

For those of you who have never seen the film, The Third Man is set in post-WWII Vienna, where Holly Martin's (Cotten) has arrived to see an old friend, Harry Lime (Welles), only to discover that Lime is apparently dead. To say anything else would spoil the film, but needless to say, not all is as it seems, and is full of some of the greatest writing, acting and directing you are going to see in any film. Best of all, it has what is easily one of the most iconic end shots in all of cinema, the kind of ending shot most filmmakers dream of. So go see the damn thing!

Given all this, I cannot understand why any filmmaker, actor, etc. would subject themselves to the torture of remaking a masterpiece. It will not be enough for the film to be good. The film will have to match the bar set by the earlier film, if not try and better it, because if it can't the question will always come back to why they even bothered in the first place. The original isn't a flawed film in anyway, it hasn't dated (which is an argument I hate anyway), and Welles and Cotten are cinematic legends. DiCaprio and Maguire are mere kids compared to those two, and who wants to see well meaning kids perform adult material?

I hope this film doesn't pan out, but we shall see. Damn Hollywood...


  1. I actually just caught the original recently on Criterion Blu-ray, and I thought I'd post to let people know that Criterion's rights have just lapsed on The Third Man and their DVD and Blu-rays of the film are now officially out of print. So if you see one around, pick that bad boy up!

  2. Thanks man. Agh, why does Criterion have to lose the rights to such a great film? I can imagine the crap edition some studio will put out. Unless it is Warners.


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