Film screening: “The Third Man” on Wed., Jan. 15, at 7 PM

Best Video Performance Space will screen the legendary postwar thriller The Third Man on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The movie starts at 8 PM and admission is $5. We will screen the film from a high definition Blu-Ray disc on our 120-inch projection screen.

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The Third Man, which stars Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, was directed by Carol Reed from a script by Graham Greene. The movie has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Reviewing the film in 1950 for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote:

The haunting music of a zither, the ring of Vienna’s cobbled streets and a ghostly Graham Greene story, about a man-hunt in that seamy capital flow smoothly and beautifully together into one piece of top screen artifice in Carol Reed’s most recent (and most touted) mystery-thriller-romance, The Third Man. Trailing Continental glories and faint echoes of that zither’s weird refrains, this extraordinarily fascinating picture began a run at the Victoria yesterday.

But we feel we are bound to inform you that our key word is “artifice” in that thoroughly enthusiastic introductory paragraph. For the simple fact is that The Third Man, for all the awesome hoopla it has received, is essentially a first-rate contrivance in the way of melodrama—and that’s all. It isn’t a penetrating study of any European problem of the day (except that it skirts around black-markets and the sinister anomalies of ‘zones’). It doesn’t present any ‘message.’ It hasn’t a point of view. It is just a bang-up melodrama, designed to excite and entertain. In the light of the buzz about it, this is something we feel you should know. Once it is understood clearly, there is no need for further asides.

The Third Man is being presented through the support of Best Video member John McNamara, a strong supporter of the Performance Space programming. If forced to choose, McNamara says he would probably name The Third Man as his favorite movie of all time. High praise! Come down on Wednesday night to watch and see if the film becomes one of your favorites, too.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Jan. 8. JAZZ: BRETT BOTTOMLEY

• Thursday, Jan. 9. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SOLIN

• Wednesday, Jan. 15. FILM SCREENING: “THE THIRD MAN”

• Thursday, Jan. 16. SINGER/SONGWRITER: KEVIN MF KING, PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR)

• Wednesday, Jan. 22. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. CHORAL QUIRK POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Feb. 26. DECONSTRUCTING POP: THE LUCK PUSHERS

• Thursday, Feb. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

 

(The other) Hank’s Recommendations 04/30/13

Hank_Hoffman_Picks_Image_sketch_WebBest Video’s other Hank—Hank Hoffman—here with this week’s recommendation. Hank Paper will return with a new recommendation next week.

Released just months after the end of World War II, the Warner Brothers thriller CONFIDENTIAL AGENT seethes with pre-war menace. Based on a book by Graham Greene, it tells the story of Luis Denard, an agent of the Spanish republican government (played by Charles Boyer) who travels to England hoping to cut a deal with British mining interests to buy coal during the Spanish Civil War.

Playing the romantic foil to Boyer is Lauren Bacall, who had made her name the previous year starring opposite Humphrey Bogart in TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. Bacall was savaged for her performance in reviews at the time and, in truth, she doesn’t make a very convincing upper class English heiress. Still, she has an undeniable presence.

Boyer’s performance is convincing and he is ably supported by Katina Paxinou, Peter Lorre and particularly Wanda Hendrix as a young servant girl employed in the dingy hotel in which Boyer stays. But perhaps the real star is cinematographer James Wong Howe. The atmosphere is bleak with foreboding—the London streets (actually a Warner Brothers set) are thick with dark fog.

This is a smart story, skillfully told, a worthy blend of espionage yarn and film noir.