CHUD has posted a very interesting rumour regarding a potential remake of the classic film The Third Man, the 1949 film noir directed by Carol Reed, starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten. Canal Plus is said to be shopping the remake around and has lined up screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) as well as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire to star in the film. No director is currently attached to the project, but given the talent involved I don’t imagine this one will sit on the shelf too long.
Chances are fairly strong that DiCaprio will play Harry Lime, the role made famous by Orson Welles in the film and subsequent radio dramas. Tobey Maguire seems much better suited for the role of the clueless pulp novel writer Holly Martins. Whether the setting will be updated is still unclear; post-war Vienna could easily be contemporized by using Iraq or Afghanistan to make things more interesting.
The Third Man is easily one of my favourite movies of all time, I can’t say that I’m happy to see it being remade. It’s one of those films that really is beyond compare. Carol Reed’s direction elevated the film noir genre to its absolute peak; Graham Greene’s stellar screenplay turns post-war Vienna into a living breathing world, full of strange and disturbing characters. The film is also full of amazing performances, Joseph Cotten plays Holly Martins as blissfully ignorant of everything going on around him, yet you root for him at every turn in spite of his ineptitude. Orson Welles, who by all accounts was a non-entity on set, gives one of the most charismatic performances of his career; when you’re talking about Welles that’s no small statement. Add to that one of the most haunting and memorable scores in film history and you quickly understand why The Third Man is indisputably one of the most well regarded films of the twentieth century. Please just leave The Third Man alone Hollywood!