Harry Lime- The Joker of Vienna

It is interesting to me how well this novel/film fit in with the “western” genre and all the tropes that came along with it. That being said, that was definitely not what I was thinking about while I read/watched each for the first time. The novel surely gave me more of a comic book sort of vibe. Maybe it is just because of all the Marvel and DC shows I have been watching lately, who knows. Or maybe, comic books and westerns just share a lot of tropes. There is also already a huge connection between Noir films and comic book style, so this is probably why I was fixated on this. When I think back, it is clear that the biggest connection I made between the comic book world and the film happened in the famous prater wheel scene.

Harry Lime’s presence in that whetec_532el, combined with all of the strange angled shots, awkward close ups, tense atmosphere, and sociopathic remarks gave me the chills in a truly Joker-esque sort of way. On top of all of this, the most famous and tense scene takes place in an eerie abandoned carnival, with probably the most off putting music I have ever heard playing in the back. What I am getting at, if you haven’t caught on yet, is that Harry Lime is very much like an early comic book villain or even Joker character. The prater wheel scene, to me, is definitely something that could have happened in a Batman origin comic. Harry’s complete lack of human empathy, his wild eyes, his overwhelming presence, and anarchistic behavior on the wheel, all while being charming in the weirdest and creepiest kind of way, immediately made me think of every Batman comic I have read. This really interested me, and I could probably go on and on with similarities between this film and a batman comic, because there are plenty. Vienna as the dark and lawless Gotham city, Martins as the misunderstood hero, Calloway as Gordon, etc. I’m sure there is much more there, perhaps
I will look into it in more depth eventually.

-Timmy

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One thought on “Harry Lime- The Joker of Vienna

  1. Timmy: It’s interesting–I didn’t see the western aspects of the film/book until we discussed it in class either (but they are definitely prevalent). While I read the book this summer, I pegged it as a film noir, and it is interesting you tagged Batman here. I am not the biggest comic book fan, though I seem to like the comic book films more than my 11-year-old son at this point, so maybe I am a bigger fan than I thought. I had a friend in the Army who always described Batman as the first “noir” comic. After reading The Third Man, I can see some aspects of the genre in the comic–especially the moral ambiguity you allude to in your post.

    In fact, I found this article from Christopher Nolan (about the Dark Knight and film noir) to be of interest in regards to your post: http://www.popmatters.com/article/with-the-dark-knight-film-noir-still-lives/

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