Spoilers follow, read at your peril

The movie is based in Vienna after the World War 2. It tells the story of the writer, Holly Martins who arrives in Vienna on invitation from his friend, Harry Lime.

Upon arrival Martins learns that Lime has been killed in a recent car accident (he passes the funeral as he arrives). However the details of the accident are not clear, and Martins starts his own investigation.

The investigation reveals a number of unsavoury things about the character of Lime. The local constabulary are less than forthcoming with information, and one is left to wonder what actually happened to Lime. Is he in fact dead at all?

There's the obligatory romantic subplot where Martins falls in love with Lime's girlfriend, Anna. This leads to further complications as Martins learns more and more of the character of Lime.

The plot is quite intricate and twisted, but what makes this movie is the cinematography. The shots of a post-war, occupied Vienna are simply breathtaking.

I saw this film both before and after I visited Vienna in 2000. This movie holds additional fascination for me from a historical perspective as well. It is quite an interesting contrast with the present day city. Standing before the ferris wheel where Martins and Lime meet at the end of the film, it was hard to believe the changes in the city over a mere fity years.

Calloway: You don't know what you're mixing in. Why don't you catch the next plane?
Martins: I'll catch the next plane as soon as I get to the bottom of this.
Calloway: Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the professionals.
Martins: You mind if I use that line in my next Western?

"I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and its easy charm. Constantinople suited me better. I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough - mmm - had the money to pay"

Introducing The Third Man

It's hard to pin down exactly how the story for The Third Man came together. In various memoirs, the author of the story, Graham Greene, gives conflicting accounts, but what is known is that in the last days of 1947, Carol Reed, who had previously worked with Greene on The Fallen Idol, approached Greene to write a comedy thriller.

At this time, Greene probably had the seeds of the eventual story, from an idea he had jotted down several years previously, in which a man, called Harry, naturally, attends a friend's funeral, only to then witness the supposed cadaver strolling merrily down the Strand. He also had written in great excitement to his lover, Catherine Walston, not long before his meeting with Reed, saying he had the beginning, middle, and end for a new story.

But how did these ideas and sections become a treatment, a full story, a screenplay, and an unqualified success for all involved?

Writing The Third Man

The Third Man began to come together when Sir Alexander Korda of London Film Productions officially commissioned Greene to write a treatment, sending him to Vienna and Rome for research purposes. Korda had offices in both cities, and Greene's remit was to write a story based in either or both locations.

It was in Vienna that Greene found the inspiration for his eventual story, touring the city, visiting some of its more seedy bars, and meeting British Military officials and journalists, before delivering his treatment for the story to Korda in April 1948.

The story that Greene presented was the essence of the eventual screenplay, but was by no means finished. In the preface to the published version of the story, Greene claims, almost certainly falsely that:

"The reader will notice many differences between the story and the film, and he should not imagine these changes were forced on an unwilling author: as likely as not they were suggested by the author"¹

Korda struck a production and distribution deal with David Selznick, whose credits included the small matter of "Gone With The Wind", and who had brought Alfred Hitchcock to Hollywood in the late 1930s, and Greene returned to Vienna, this time with Reed, to produce the first draft of the script. Between that first draft, and the finished product, changes were certainly made, but it's not always clear who should take the credit for the rewrites. Take the film's closing scene for instance: Carol Reed noted that it was Selznick who suggested a change from the original story, (to avoid creating a spoiler here, I'll only say that one is the opposite of the other) but Greene's recollection is that Selznick had preferred the original ending, and that it was Reed who came up with the revised version.

Not all Selznick's ideas (assuming we trust Reed's account over Greene's, and given Greene's penchant for editing his past and present) were as good. An American among the English, Selznick's disagreements with Reed over the script were often a result of his concerns over domestic box office success, and the story's treatment of its American protagonists. Worried that Martins and Anna Schmidt didn't seem to get out much, he suggested they go ski-ing, and preferred a glamorised Schmidt, dressed expensively - after all, surtely Lime would have wanted his girl to look good. On this score, the decision was that Anna's tenuous citizenship would have been too compromised had she been the Hollywood glamour girl Selznick had in mind. Selznick also wanted Schmidt's job changed so she would be working in a club or a circus rather than as an actress, as she appears in the film. He felt that for continuity Lime's entrance should be explained by adding some clunky dialogue to the Prater Wheel scene between Martins and Lime.

Reed, Korda, and Greene resisted, often fiercely, often slyly, most of Selznick's requests, and, with contributions to the American characters' dialogue from New York playwright Jerome Chodorov, a finished script was produced on 20 September. There were still concerns, and transatlantic disagreements. Selznick's operative in London, Jenia Reissar had let him know that Joseph Cotten was not happy with Chodorov's rewrites (although one suggestion from Cotten that was readily accepted was to change the name of his character from Rollo Martins). As Chodorov had been Reed's choice, and not Selznick's, this did not meet well with Selznick, who was by now becoming severely mistrustful of his British colleagues, and their handling of the leading American characters.

This trouble had, in part, arisen from the casting decisions being made for the film, which had necessitated turning the English characters in Greene's story into Americans. Not only that, but Selznick was concerned with the portrayal, or non-portrayal of the American presence in Vienna. He suggested adding a scene in which Martins visits the embassy in the US controlled part of Vienna, the entire purpose of which seems to have been to establish that there was an American force in Vienna, lest we forget, even if its presence was entirely extraneous to the plot. He was unhappy that British characters seemed to dominate the Viennese landscape, and was determined to rectify this oversight.

With Alida Valli cast as Anna Schmidt and due to travel to Vienna (and finally with a script of sorts to read), he instructed her to travel to New York by train and to wait there until he authorised her to travel on to Austria. In the meantime, he summoned Korda to sort out the American problem. With his customary ease, Korda persuaded Selznick that while they perhaps did not have a perfect script, he trusted in Carol Reed's brilliance enough to ensure that any necessary changes would be made. Selznick conceded, and filming could begin.

Casting The Third Man

"Now the city, it's divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power, the American, the British, the Russian, and the French. But the centre of the city, that's international, policed by an international patrol, one member of each of the four powers."

Watching The Third Man, it's hard to imagine a different cast playing the same roles. Cotten, Welles, Valli, Howard, all are intricately interwoven with their characters. Welles IS Lime, Cotten IS Martins. Howard looks born into his uniform. At times it hardly even seems like acting.

But surely never has a film been made that didn't get cast with alternative protagonists, and sure enough The Third Man is no exception. The first name out of the hat was Cary Grant, through a contract between Korda and 20th Century Fox. Grant was interested, but wouldn't commit to choosing between Lime and Martins until he could see a final script. Patience ran out, and Joseph Cotten was brought in to play Martins, even though earlier thoughts were that either a combination of James Stewart and Orson Welles or Noel Coward and Cary Grant would do for Lime and Martins respectively.

But Cotten it was who got the nod, despite Reed's own protestations, who preferred Stewart for the role. Selznick, it turns out, wouldn't have minded Coward, but was against Cotten altogether, and at various times, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, and even David Niven were suggested as co-stars for Cotten.

Orson Welles was by no means a certain to play Lime. Seen as a box office risk by Selznick (his Macbeth wasn't looking too hot at the time) compared to any number of alternatives (but can you really imagine Robert Mitchum as Lime?), he nonetheless got the role as Reed's choice.

To complete the male leads, Trevor Howard was cast as Major Calloway. Although less well-known in the US than other candidates for the role, the success of Brief Encounter meant that he was not only a fine actor, albeit mainly as a romantic lead, but he was also now known to moviegoers.

Filming The Third Man

"Wonderful. What a hope they had, all strangers to the place, and none of them could speak the same language, except a sort of smattering of German. Good fellows, on the whole. Did their best, you know. Vienna doesn't really look any worse than a lot of other European cities, bombed about a bit."

A tight winter schedule was set for the Vienna shooting. Fortunately, the weather wouldn't be able to affect any of the scenes to be shot in the city's sewers, and a little rain would only add atmosphere to the night-lit outside scenes.

As it turned out, the elements proved more accommodating than the cast. Cotten was mostly miserable, trying to hold his marriage together, Howard was mostly drunk, living up to a peerless reputation as a heavy drinker, and Welles was mostly AWOL, playing cat and mouse games, hiding out in Rome, and living up to his reputation as a better signer of contracts than he was a fulfiller of their clauses. In his absence, Reed's assistant Guy Hamilton donned a coat and a hat, and made a splendid job of casting shadows against Viennese walls. Even when he deigned to turn up in Vienna, Welles failed to contribute much, refusing outright to risk his health leaping about in the dirty sewers. once again, a stand-in was used for many of those scenes. As Hamilton recalled, Welles:

"had one day's shot walking to the Prater Wheel, and walking away from the Prater wheel...and I think I'm right in saying that was the sum total of Orson's Viennese contribution."²

When the location shooting was complete, Reed and the cast retired to Shepperton to complete the filming. Welles did a bit of running around, stood in a doorway for a bit, and rattled through his lines in his one major acting scene, in a car of the Prater Wheel with Cotten, hardly letting his co-star even start let alone finish his lines before interrupting them with his own. And, of course, he added the famous, oft-quoted, cuckoo-clock speech³.

No doubt most viewers assume that the film was shot entirely in Vienna, or at least that the external shots were filmed on location. In fact, this is merely a tribute to the stunningly accurate and atmospheric sets created at Shepperton for The Third Man, and the excellent work of both the first and second units. More Viennese scenes were shot in the studio than you could think possible, from graveside shots, to doorway shots and sewer shots. The various shots and scenes are so skillfully set together, however, that you can't pick this up just idly watching the film. Nor would you realise that even in the scenes shot on location, two shots from two different angles in the same scene were even occasionally filmed in two separate locations.

Cotten, meanwhile, was still unhappy, but then wouldn't you be if you had to stay in the Savoy because Claridges was fully booked?

Recording The Third Man

"Dear Carol, saw The Third Man last night. Love it. I think you've got a big success there. But please take off the Banjo."4

From the mid-30s onwards in America, and from a few years later in Britain, film scores started to flourish. If you made a big film, you had to have a big score, from a big name, played by a well-known, well-reputed orchestra, such as the Royal Philharmonic, as London Films customarily did.

You certainly didn't go around hiring random zither players you heard at receptions while on location. You didn't hunt high and low through the city to track down their names and whereabouts, and you didn't agree to meet them in your hotel on your day off. You didn't then fly them over to England, get them to play that one entrancing, captivating piece, record it, and use it as a sonic backdrop to one character's every appearance. You just didn't.

Unless you were Carol Reed. In which case you did all that, and helped a poor Viennese, called Anton Karas, who couldn't read music, become a sensation after 28 years as a hired performer in wine gardens and at private receptions. Hardly had The Third Man hit British screens than suddenly everyone was releasing versions of "Harry's Theme", Karas' memorable focal composition for the film. Karas toured Britain and the US, as well as playing for the Pope in the Vatican, and shopped in London to furnish his home in Vienna, before investing his earnings in a bar in Vienna.

After The Third Man, Karas was even able to have a custom zither made for him. The Karas Zither differs from a standard zither in its amplification of the accompaniment and bass strings, sometimes at the expense of the main melody.

Showing The Third Man

"Oh, I was going to tell you, wait, I was going to tell you about Holly Martins, an American. Came all the way to visit a friend of his. The name was Lime. Harry Lime. Now Martins was broke, and Lime had offered him some sort, I don't know, some sort of a job. Anyway, there he was poor chap, happy as a lark, and without a cent."

Despite opening nationally in the same week (on 3 October 1949) as Laurence Olivier's Oscar winning Hamlet, The Third Man did brisk box office business, as a first-run, and then as cinemas continued to rebook for second and third runs. Public acclaim was, somewhat unusually, matched by critical plaudits. In short, everyone loved The Third Man.

At the postponed American opening the following February, the success in Britain was repeated. With the exception of some occasional zither-related fatigue (Harry's Theme had crossed the Atlantic before the film reels), every aspect of the film was praised, in particular Reed's direction.

Not that Reed himself would have enjoyed the American release as much as the British version. A souring of the relationship between Selznick and Korda over the former's desire to market the film in America as a Selznick production had led to a transatlantic rift, the upshot of which was that Selznick was left with enough control to make such changes as he saw fit for the American market. So it was, then, that Carol Reed's narration to the opening scenes was replaced by a more continuity-friendly but less eliptical first-person voiceover from Joseph Cotten, lines were cut, scenes were shortened, 11 minutes lost from the running time, and a few moments of magic lost.

Despite it's success in cinemas and with reviewers, The Third Man was mostly overlooked at the 1951 Academy Awards. Robert Krasker picked up the award for best Black and White Photography, but nominations for best directing and best editing both led to nothing.

Watching The Third Man

I first watched The Third Man at school, when my housemaster insisted on enlightening his charges. I didn't particularly know who Orson Welles was, I knew Graham Greene was the fellow who wrote Brighton Rock, I'd studied that once, and film noir? Well, I didn't know much about that, but I knew right away that I liked it.

I fell in love with Reed's direction, and Greene's writing immediately. Those trememdously skewed angles, the atmosphere in the stark black, white, and shadows, THAT scene, with its exaggerated, ludicrous, but entrancing lighting. The wonderful dialogue, the exchanges between the calm but never overtly hostile Calloway and the "hack writer who drinks too much and falls in love with girls", and the forlorn Martins, drunk and impotent.

And don't believe what people say about Welles turning up in the final reel and stealing the whole film. It just doesn't happen that way. OK, maybe he does the first time you see it, but then Lime's few on-screen moments are all as big as the man himself, leaving the rest of the characters to cover the dirty work, establishing the plot, and setting up his arrival. Watch a few more times, however, and you should find yourself starting to revel in the other performances. Once you know what Welles is going to do and the where and when of it, his performance becomes just one of the many wonderful elements that go together to make The Third Man such a great movie.

1: Regardless of who suggested changes, some vast improvements were made from Greene's novel text. In particular, the opening narration (excerpts from which appear throughout this write-up) has been brilliantly distilled from the book's opening chapter, which, although only a couple of pages long, now seems like hard work in comparison.
2: In interview with Charles Drazin, 15 October 1997
3: Welles' idea of his contributions were to swell as the years went by. If you believe the great man, he not only wrote his own part, but also gave Reed some solid creative ideas for direction.
4: Sir Arthur Jarrat, Chairman of British-Lion

In Search of The Third Man, Charles Drazin, Methuen, 1999 (ISBN 0-413-75070-1) (I recommend this insightful book to any fans of the film.)
The Third Man and The Fallen Idol, Graham Greene, Vintage, 2001 (ISBN 0-099-28623-8)

Stolen Directly from IMDB.com


Carol Reed


Graham Greene	 	(story) 
Alexander Korda	 	(story) uncredited

Graham Greene	 	(screenplay)

Carol Reed	 	uncredited
Orson Welles	 	uncredited


Joseph Cotten     .... Holly Martins
Alida Valli       .... Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
Orson Welles      .... Harry Lime
Trevor Howard     .... Major Calloway
Bernard Lee       .... Sergeant Paine
Paul Hörbiger     .... Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch     .... 'Baron' Kurtz
Siegfried Breuer  .... Popescu
Erich Ponto       .... Dr. Winkel
Wilfrid Hyde-White.... Crabbin

Not stolen from anywhere yet not quite original


The Third Man is a whodunit film noir. The basic plot is that down trodden pulp fiction novel writer Holly Martins comes to Vienna to make his fortune writing for his long time friend Harry Lime. Upon arriving, however, Holly learns of Harry’s tragic death and also learns that Harry was wanted by the police for a racketeering scam. In disbelief, Holly takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery surrounding Harry’s death and this terrible error by the police. Mislead and threatened by Harry’s Viennese friends Baron Kurtz, Dr. Winkel, and Mr. Popescu, discouraged by the police and by Harry’s former lover Anna, Holly steers himself through a blindfolded investigation of his friend. Along the way, he falls in love with Anna and is heartbroken by the truth surrounding Harry. As a result of this Holly makes a profound and illogical attempt to win Anna’s heart by helping close the case on Harry’s activities and death.

Original Film Analysis

At first glance The Third Man (1949) does not seem like it is film noir. Carol Reed, director, and Graham Greene used a slightly different angle to portray their protagonist, Holly Martins that doesn’t quite fit noir as well as it should. The film is undoubtedly noir, however. The aesthetic look of the camera and the positioning of lights and shadows are clearly identified as noir. And when applied to a noir world view, many aspects of the plot emerge that define The Third Man as a classic film noir.

Holly Martins is brought into Vienna by his friend Harry Lime, to whose house Holly travels. Upbeat zither music plays as Holly climbs the staircase, giving the audience a sense of comfort, but moments before Holly rings Harry’s doorbell the music stops, and the audience is thrown out of their comfortable feeling by the sharp contrast of Holly’s shadows and his juxtaposed position in relation to the porter, whom engages in conversation with Holly. Our normal view of Holly is instantly and forcibly switched to a very high angle shot looking down on Holly as he looks up and converses with the porter. There is heavy key lighting coming in from Holly’s right casting a shadow twice his size onto the stairs. To contrast the two men, the camera looks down on Martins and looks up at the Porter, and the lighting effects are also contrasted, Martins has hard light coming from the fill lights on the right, and the Porter has soft light coming from below and above, so that he has no shadows. From our camera angle looking down at Holly nearly the entire frame is taken up by twists of the staircase and Holly’s shadow, causing our view of Holly to be insignificant when compared to his shadow and even more insignificant when compared to the twisting staircase. The fact that this shot is placed outside Harry’s home is symbolic to the importance of Holly in Harry’s grand scheme, but at that same moment we learn that Harry has been “killed at once, instantly, already in hell. Or… in heaven” according to the porter. The porter confuses the locations of heaven and hell, pointing up for hell and down for heaven, leaving the only available analysis to be one of the moral ambiguity implied by the porter’s mistake. The twist of fate just experience by Holly can also be metaphorically applied to the locations of the two men on the stair case. Since it is the beginning of the movie, and due to the age difference of the two men, we can also read into the metaphor that Martins has only just begun to climb the twisted, spiral stairs of fate while the Porter has nearly reached the end at the top of the stairs, illuminated on all sides by super-natural warmth of… “hell.”

Holly learns of how Harry’s death happened from Baron Kurtz, who instills doubt about the police claims that Harry was the worst racketeer that ever made a living in Vienna. As a result the following scene where Holly meets Anna after her performance is filled with Holly having all sorts of doubts about Harry’s death. At the moment Holly gets down to business he is standing at the end of a long row of mirrors and slightly to its side, a portion of his face reflected in the mirror. Anna is sitting in front of the mirrors but the camera is at an angle where she does not have a reflection. The camera position is highly important in this scene. The camera is placed at the level of the desk connected to the mirrors, so that Holly is high above the center of the screen and Anna’s eyes are centered. The camera is also angled with a slight ‘Dutch tilt’ of about a 15 degree rotation of the camera. This tilt makes the figures of Holly, Anna, and the right angles of the mirrors and windows around them seem odd and disorienting to the audience. The interpretation of this shot relies exclusively on that tilt. Holly is confused and seeking answers, his own disorientation causing the tilt of the camera; while the Dutch tilt also lends itself to the interpretation of Anna as an anti-traditional noir Femme Fatale. The information she soon provides Holly with leads him to his own fate but unlike classical noir Femmes, Anna had no ill intentions by telling Holly that information.

The next important sequence is within Dr. Winkel’s den. It is filled with a “collection of collections” which obstruct light and cast odd shadow patterns so that as Dr. Winkel paces the floor of the room he is continuously in half-shadow. As Winkel fabricates more of the story he increasingly denies to answer just as much and paces more. He is simultaneously dominating but submissive within the frame of each shot and within the conversation. That is to say he carefully directs the conversation as much as he is directing how much of the frame he fills. The effect is shown once again through Dutch tilt when Holly is part of the shot, again showing Holly’s helplessness and confusion. The effect of this sequence on the audience is that of curiosity; we know that Winkel is orchestrating the conversation and at this point we are beginning to suspect that Holly’s fate is being orchestrated not by super-natural powers but by the careful crafting by humans.

Holly later talks to the third friend of Harry’s, a Mr. Popescu, and is threatened, but Holly’s naivety causes him to not pick up on it and he continues his investigation. The noir aesthetic of lighting and angles continues to be used more frequently as the scenes of the movie switch from daylight to night time and from well light rooms to dim ones. This aesthetic is naturally reflected in the scene after the porter is murdered and Holly is identified as a possible suspect. Holly goes to his hotel to contact Colloway of the police force and finds a car waiting for him. Without thinking Holly takes the car and the driver immediately races off. As the driver speeds off to the unknown destination we see a fixed camera shot where everything else is moving. The driver is immersed in shadow, signifying complete mystery, except infrequent slivers of key lighting illuminating the left side of his face from the right. The driver completely fills half of the frame while sitting in his darkness, and this is contrasted with Holly’s position in the car. He is in the back seat, behind bars and glass that separates him from the driver. Holly’s face is lit by key lighting coming in from both sides but is most obviously lit from the left. To the audience the car and driver are most obviously a symbolic representation of Holly’s fate in the traditional noir sense; Holly is bouncing around in the back seat as Fate takes him to an unknown destination with unknown consequences regardless of Holly’s desire to go elsewhere. This reflects the audience’s reaction to the plot twist seen just moments ago, when the porter was murdered (and Holly was blamed for no good reason, very noir). The audience now suspects that Harry’s friends are conspiring against Holly and at this point do not know in which direction the plot will twist, much like how Holly does not know in which direction the roads will twist while he is within the car.

After a bit of running around while being chased by Popescu’s men, Holly and the audience both no longer know whom to trust or believe. It is at this point that Holly turns to Calloway, the police officer, and we learn of the facts surrounding Harry’s ‘racketeering.’ Holly gets drunk and pays a final visit to Anna before he is going to fly back home the next morning. The sequence after he leaves Anna’s apartment is one of the most noir moments in the entire film. Holly notices Anna’s cat at the feet of a body immersed in shadow, save the feet. To reflect Holly’s inebriated state, the Dutch tilt is once again used to disorient the audience into a carefully calculated thought process of who could possibly be in the shadow. Holly makes such a ruckus that a woman is startled and turns on her light. The shot is put into Dutch tilt and a face is suddenly illuminated. The audience is meant to be just as surprised as the man we see in the light, whom we instantly recognize as Harry despite having never seen him before, if not by the look on his face then by Holly’s reaction. The significance of this scene is the abruptness of the light; it comes in suddenly and leaves just as suddenly. Harry’s disappearance trick thanks to the sudden darkness and a car leaves Holly in a complete state of shock and confusion, more poetically, it leaves Holly in the dark.

The plot unfolds itself to have Holly work with the police to bring Harry to justice. At first it was Holly’s attempt to win Anna’s heart but she rejects him and Holly does it for Harry’s victims. One of the final sequences takes place in the large labyrinth of the Vienna sewers as Harry runs for his life, trying to escape further and further into the darkness only to attempt several times to metaphorically emerge into the light again. More literally he tries to escape the sewers but at every turn is hindered by police, so that he must escape deeper into the sewer to find safety. In the final scene of the sequence, Harry has been shot, but has managed to crawl up a staircase to its top, only to have his escape to the surface be prevented by the sewer itself via grating; metaphorically speaking, Harry’s escape from darkness was prevented by the darkness itself. It makes no difference however, the camera cuts to the surface, and we see Harry’s fingers poking through to the surface in one of the creepiest and moving shots I've seen. The surface is barren, empty, the wind howls and echoes and the entire scene makes the audience feel cold. This scene is Reed’s commentary on the morality of his film; he’s trying to tell the audience that Harry cannot be saved, there is no ‘light’ at the end of Harry’s journey, unlike how the porter was shrouded in light when he was at the top of his staircase. This is how Holly finds and confronts Harry. Harry is now a broken man, lying atop a staircase in the same metaphorical sense I used to juxtapose Holly and the porter in the opening scene. Harry nods to Holly, and both of them know and accept what must be done.

In the true noir ending, Holly is a broken man. He came to Vienna “happy as a lark” at the prospects of getting a job with his old friend. During the course of his adventures his chances for a job and his friend were both, figuratively speaking, dead, but he had his eyes on a certain girl and fell in love with her. Holly’s dilemma throughout the movie reflects some of the most tantalizing philosophical questions: a job and good friends or a passionate romance? Holly gambles everything he could have on a romance with Anna and in the end comes up empty handed like any noir hero. The final scene of the entire movie is Anna walking straight past Holly, completely indifferent to his existence. The fact that Holly chose this course of action that led to his self destruction is what lingers inside of the audience’s minds as the movie closes with Holly standing alone with nothing left for him but his good looks and the shirt on his back. That is why this film is a film noir.

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