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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Movies: The Third Man, Modern Times

The Third Man (1949)

The plot: Upon arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins ( Joseph Cotten) learns that the friend he has come to meet, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), was recently killed in a mysterious car accident.

Film noir at its best. It's difficult for me to tell you too much about this movie without giving away a few surprises, so let me just give you my highest recommendation, and we'll leave it at that.

Modern Times (1936)

The plot: The Little Tramp (Charles Chaplin) struggles to make his way in a mechanized world.

This was the last appearance of Chaplin's endearing character, the Little Tramp, and it is a gem. I laughed hysterically at the physical comedy and comedic timing that is unsurpassed even today. I fell in love with Paulette Goddard as the gamin. I was moved by the sad but hopeful story. This is American film-making at its best, and, ironically, this is the film that led to Chaplin being labeled a Communist and ran him afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee. A beautiful film, this is better than anything currently showing at the multiplex (and probably always will be.)

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