Dana Polan

Criterion Files

Film noir is a much-debated subject amongst cinephiles. It’s often argued to be a genre or an aesthetic, yet any definition designating it as either typically encounters generality and contradiction. Noir takes on many forms. It’s indefinite, but somehow you know it when you see it. In order to pursue a greater understanding of film noir, Adam and I are devoting the next four weeks to examining films noir from various directors, schools of style, and histories from around the globe. So here, an examination of Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949), is the inaugural entry in a month of analysis we’ve decided to call “Noir-vember.”

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