The Third Man Analysis

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Unfolding the true story is a critical component of any detective film. In The Third Man, Holly Martins is an author from New Mexico to visit his longtime friend Harry Lime in Vienna, Austria, but as Holly arrives at Harry’s place he is informed by the butler that Harry has been killed in a tragic accident. According to many witnesses there were three men that were with Harry at the time of his death, however Holly begins to develop a conspiracy about the third man. Tzvetan Todorov’s essay The Typology of Detective Fiction outlines the basic components of detective fiction and what rules are followed throughout the genre. The Third Man film is a thriller according to Todorov’s rules because it focuses on the investigation of what really happened…show more content…
The culprits also play an important role in unfolding the truth in many detective films because their input has a significant impact on any given story. The rule states “in life (a culprit cannot) be a butler or a chambermaid”, however in The Third Man Harry Lime’s butler has an important role to give input to Holly. Originally the story was “I heard everything but did not see it, and saw him being dragged along the street with three men”, but soon Holly began to develop a conspiracy of the mysterious third man. The film deviates from Todorov’s original rules because the butler is potentially seen as a culprit based on the evidence. Also, the butler did not attend Mr. Lime’s funeral in the beginning of the film which implies that he is a potential culprit. As the investigation comes to a close and the audience figures out what was the outcome of Harry Lim, the butler had important evidence and information that led Holly to figure out what really happened to Harry…show more content…
An audience watching the film is also left wondering what really happened to the characters. The deviation from the rules lead to the findings that Harry Lime faked his own death to avoid the police, which added the element of surprise to illustrate a thriller. The input of the butler and the love triangle help detective Holly Martins to figure out that Harry lied about his death. The significance of the unfolding of the truth in The Third Man is important in all detective films because it gives the story of investigation a real thriller at the end of the
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