Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: The Third Man

I saw an episode of Law and Order recently, a rerun, where ADA McCoy uses the film 'The Third Man', to make a point in a trial.
After hearing that, I decided to watch the movie for the first time. Luckily, or so I thought, Netflix has it available for instant viewing.
I'd heard generally good things about it, it had Orson Welles after all, So I was anticipating a good movie.
First, I want to make two things very clear: The story was good. I won't give up the plot, McCoy did a good job of that.
Second, no matter how good the story, I will hardly ever enjoy a Film Noir, as this was meant to be. For all I know it was one of the first of the genre. The one exception to that policy is 'The Maltese Falcon', and even that had such bad acting in it as to be close to not being enjoyable.
It seems to be a hallmark of Film Noir: Bad acting. The only decent performance given was by Orson Welles, and sadly, we only got to see him for the last third of the film, and even then, we didn't hear him much. But his performance wasn't enough to save this film in my opinion.
The awkward lighting and tilted camera angles aside, the music, if you must call it that, was truly the worst I've ever heard that was associated with a film.
The really sad part is: they turned a good story into a bad film. Had this been done straight as a mystery/thriller, it would have been far better that what I saw. I did see it until the end, though I must admit, I was playing games in the foreground, waiting for Orson to make his appearance.
So I don't know what the fuss was about. Maybe for its genre it wasn't bad, but compared to other movies made in the same era, it was really, really bad.
I try very hard not to be negative in life, and since subscribing to Netflix I've seen many a good film and Television. I may write a review later about an Episode of 'Doctor Who' that can truly be called epic.
I may watch it again to get the bad taste of 'The Third Man' out of my brain.
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Writing: From 'New Rome'

Here is the beginning of my new novel. This is as far as it has gotten thus far. It is rough, and names for the characters haven't been chosen yet.
"There you go son, something new for you. Try to read the words on that sign."
(name) looked at the sign a few meters away. The letters were greek, but the words were not. Yet, they looked familiar. "Father, could the words have a gallic background?"
"Perhaps. All tribes in the north share a common background. Possibly Norse. What do you think they say?"
"They have a harsh tone to them. But since they are in greek one can assume whoever wrote them wanted them to be translated by us. I would guess they are a warning. That word," at this he pointed at the sign, "appears similar to the gallic word for death."
"Very good, but why warn us? Are we not their enemies?"
"A valid point. But in all our travels no one has harmed the three of us, traveling without a guard."
"We are not dressed as soldiers. We dress like them because we wish to blend in. Just as we try to speak their languages. We do this to show we mean them no harm. And I talk to the head of each village we enter to tell them we wish to learn, and not to fight. Soon word spreads ahead of our path."
The boy looked at his father. "Do you mean they expect us here?"
His father nodded.
"In that case perhaps the sign should be obeyed. Perhaps there is plague here."
"Excellent. As a matter of fact there is a cholera outbreak here. The sign does not say that, but I have heard from those that travel away from here. You did not understand the family we met. They were fleeing the village."
The boy crossed his arms. "And so you lead us into a diseased village for what purpose? To teach me a new language?"
His father laughed and turned to their companion. "You see (name), a boy of six has the nerve to question a parent." He turned back to the boy. "I usually applaud such insolence, and this is no exception. Yet (name), you will have to learn when such behavior will be tolerated, and when such behavior can end your life."
The boy nodded, gently. "I have learned much under you, father."
"Then learn this: Cholera can be avoided."