The novelist E.M. Forster wrote “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” What does The Third Man have to say about betraying one’s friend? Is the betrayal of a friend always inexcusable? Are there more important loyalties – to one’s country? One’s family? One’s religion? Etc. 

Anna and Holly have very different responses to Harry Lime’s crimes. How do you account for their different reactions? Why does Anna choose not to leave Vienna? Why does she choose not to benefit from the capture of Harry? What do we know about Anna’s life during the war? What do we know about Holly’s? Do their different experiences of the war affect their responses to Harry? 
What do you make of the film’s final shot?
Why does Holly write Westerns? Will he continue to write Westerns after his time in Vienna? 
Critics have often said that the city of Vienna is a character in The Third Man. How is the city used as not only a setting but as a character? 
Although Orson Welles is on screen for very little of the film, he is often remembered as the star of The Third Man. Is Harry Lime an attractive character? Are his arguments defending his criminal behavior compelling? Repellent? Understandable? Does Harry love Anna? During the chase through the sewers, are we rooting for Harry? Do we want him to escape the police? 
Why is the scene in the hospital filmed the way it is? 
Katie reminded us of the important differences between proximity and distance when making ethical decisions. How does The Third Man address these differences? 
Does The Third Man make you reconsider your response to the Sandusky scandal?
Tagged with →  
Share →

16 Responses to The Third Man: Questions for Reflection


    I would like to start off by talking about the music used in this film. I have not seen many classic films other than what I have seen for this course. This music in this film stands out to me. It is generally used between scenes to create a smoother segue. Having recently watched Citizen Kane, it is natural for me to compare the two. After I watched Citizen Kane I felt that the acting and cutaways were something that I found pretty peculiar and I wanted to discuss them further. The cutaways were abrupt and almost awkward.

    However in The Third Man, even though it is just eight years later, I find it much more modern. There is background music to set the tone and the music in between scenes makes for cleaner cutaways and segues. I views more like a modern film—the format and the general idea of smoothness.

    I also found the acting to be very entertaining, and less distracting than I found in Citizen Kane. The characters seem to be more comfortable in front of a camera, whereas when I was watching Citizen Kane, I felt that the actors would have been much more comfortable on stage. That is understandable considering the year and the on-screen experience of most of the actors. The Third man has many more close ups and the communication between characters is much more conversational and natural. I think that my biggest problem with Citizen Kane is that I was distracted by the boisterous speech and overacting. I believe it took away from the storyline that I truly enjoyed. Although I did not find the subject matter and story as interesting as I found Citizen Kane, I found it easier to follow and more relaxing to watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar