A Study of Anti-heroism: A Character Analysis of Holly Martins from the film The Third Man (1949)

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1 92 A Study of Anti-heroism: A Character Analysis of Holly Martins from the film The Third Man (1949) Yoshiya Nishi INTRODUCTION One of the ways to compare two cultures is to focus on the idea of heroism. Every culture has heroic figures or heroic character types that represent its cultural values. Further, I believe that in order to study the heroic figures and heroic character types, the films are the most appropriate research subject to focus on. The reason for this is that the films are the most popular entertainment among the people in modern times, and this popularity reflects the thoughts of the majority, in another words, the cultural values. Heroic figures or heroic character types that represent the cultural values can be classified into three main groups: hero, anti - hero, and neither of these two. In previous studies on this subject, the comparison of the main characters or protagonists of the films are made between heroes. However, in many films, anti -heroes play the role of the protagonist, and little attention has been given to the comparison of antiheroes even though they also reflect the cultural values. Furthermore, the study on anti - heroism has been superficial and often fails to give the definition of the anti - hero and anti - heroism. In this study, first, I will give a definition of anti- heroism and a

2 Yoshiya Nishi 93 classification of anti- heroes, then I will analyze the heroic character type ofholly Martins, the protagonist of the film The Third Man (1949), and examine his anti - heroism or anti - heroic character type. 1. Anti- heroism 1-1 A Definition of Anti - heroism Anti-hero is often defined as "the opposite of a hero." However, not all the protagonists, who are considered to be as anti-heroes, are "totally opposite" of heroes. For Example, Sam Spade, the protagonist of Dir. John Houston's detective murder mystery The Maltese Falcon (1941), is one of the most famous anti - hero in the history of films. Sam Spade is a private detective who has a smooth tongue and deceives without a hesitation. He pursuits the truth by every conceivable means; he even makes an ally with the evil if it is necessary. Sam Spade does not have heroic qualities as the conventional heroes, and is not a virtuous character, though he solves the crime and keeps the social order at the end of the film, which can be regarded as a heroic action. The conventional heroism and ideal heroic character type does not apply for Sam Spade's case. Also, there are many other cases in films that the protagonist who is not virtuous but does heroic action to solve a problem or a conflict in the story, and wins respect and admiration of the audiences, which implies that he can be regarded as a hero. For this reason, I will define anti - heroism as follows: Anti - heroism is a type of heroism that the protagonist (anti - hero) of the story shows heroic qualities and heroic actions to save people and society from the evil, and to keep social orders as the conventional hero (e.g. A virtuous hero

3 94 A Study of Anti-heroism: The Third Man (1949) fights a monster and saves a princess), but unlike the conventional hero, the protagonist of the story does not have heroic and virtuous qualities. With this definition of Anti- heroism, the distinction between the conventional (ideal) heroes and the anti-heroes can be made more clearly. 1-2 Four Main Conditions of Anti - heroic Character Type There are four main conditions that a protagonist of the story is recognized as an anti- hero, and he or she must meet one or more conditions listed below: 1) There is a lack of heroic quality and virtue in protagonist's everyday life and his or her attitude. 2) The protagonist is an outsider of the society that the heroic event occurs. 3) The protagonist fights against the evil bravely to save the people and the society, and to keep the social order; however, he or she pursuits the victory over the evil by using every conceivable means, even if the means are not considered as heroic and virtuous. 4) After the protagonist defeats the evil and solves the problem, he or she must be remained as an outsider in the society, or must leave the society. There are many different types of anti- heroes in films, and each of them has different character, attitude, situation and problem. They have similarities and differences. By examining many different types of films, these similarities of anti - heroic character type can be grouped and organized. At this point of study, the conditions of anti - heroic character type are grouped into these four main conditions.

4 Y oshiya Nishi A Character Analysis of Holly Martins 2-1 Dir. Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) The Third Man (1949) is directed by the world- famous British film director Carol Reed, and this film won two major film awards: the grand prix at Festival International du Film de Cannes in 1949 and The Academy Awards for Best Photography in There are several differences between Dir. Carol Reed's film version of The Third Man (1949) and English novelist Graham Greene's novel version of The Third Man (1950). Graham Greene's novel was published after the film was presented. The Major difference between the film version and the novel version is the ending. The novel version of The Third Man (1950) ends:"i [Calloway] watched him striding off on his overgrown legs after the girl. He caught her up and they walked side by side." (Greene 157) Both the film version and the novel version follow the same story line except the last scene. Since the purpose of this paper is to examine the anti- heroism of Holly Martins in the film, here I limit the discussion to Dir. Carol Reed's film version of The Third Man (1949). The Story occurred at Vienna right after the end of World War II. An American writer, Holly Martins, came to Vienna for a visit to his old friend, Harry Lime. As soon as Holly arrived at,vienna, he found out about Harry's death. However, Holly could not understand the cause of Harry's death, and he started to investigate about his old friend's death. As the investigation proceeded, he met Anna Schmidt, Harry's girlfriend, and gradually fell in love with her. With the affection towards Anna in his heart, Holly continued his investigation. During his investigation, Holly found out about Harry's inhuman and cruel penicillin business from

5 96 A Study of Anti-heroism: The Third Man (1949) Major Calloway, who also was investigating about Harry. After he found out about Harry's penicillin business, Holly decided to return to America. On the way to Anna's house to say farewell, Holly saw Harry on the street, alive, and he run after Harry but lost him. After the encounter with Harry, He told Anna and Major Calloway about the incident. Major Calloway asked Holly to help him to catch Harry, but Holly still felt friendship with Harry at that moment, and he refused to help Major Calloway. However, before he was about to leave Vienna, Holly found out about Anna's counterfeit passport and she was in trouble. Holly made a deal with Major Calloway to help him to catch Harry in exchange for saving Anna. After Anna found out about the deal between Holly and Major Calloway, she rejected Holly's favor and tear up her new passport. Again, broken - hearted Holly cancelled the deal with Major Calloway and decided to leave Vienna. On the way to the station, Major Calloway took Holly to the hospital and showed him the sufferings of the victims of Harry's penicillin business. Holly decided to help Major Calloway, again. At the showdown with Harry, Holly killed Harry with his gun. With the death of real Harry Lime, the case was solved and the peace was brought to Vienna. After Harry's second funeral, Holly was to leave Vienna without Anna's affection. Dir. Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) portrays the protagonist who can be regarded as the anti - hero. I will discuss the anti - heroism and anti - heroic character type of Holly Martins in the next section. 2-2 Anti - heroism of Holly Martins In this section, I will analyze the Anti-heroic character type of Holly Martins by standardizing to the four main conditions of anti-heroic char-

6 Y oshiya Nishi 97 acter type which I listed above in Section 1-2. In the story, as soon as Holly arrived at Vienna, he found out about his friend's death. After the funeral, Holly drank in desperation. He had a conversation with Major Calloway and tried to hit him even though Major Calloway was acting as a gentleman. [TTM 00:07:06] This scene describes that Holly Martins' action and attitude in everyday life. Holly Martins came to Vienna for a visit to his old friend, Harry Lime. [TTM 00:01:49] Obviously, this shows that Holly is an outsider in Vienna. Further, when Major Calloway found out that Harry was alive, he asked Holly to help him to catch Harry, but Holly still felt friendship with Harry at that moment, and he refused to help Major Calloway. However, before he was about to leave Vienna, Holly found out about Anna's counterfeit passport and she was in trouble. Holly made a deal with Major Calloway to help him to catch Harry in exchange for saving Anna. After Anna found out about the deal between Holly and Major Calloway, she rejected Holly's favor and tear up her new passport. Again, broken - hearted Holly cancelled the deal with Major Calloway and decided to leave Vienna. [TTM 01:22:49] and Holly tricked Harry by being a decoy to catch him. [TTM 01:25:38] These scenes describe that Holly Martins' willingness to pursuit the victory over the evil by using every conceivable means, even if the means arc not considered as heroic and virtuous. Finally, Holly Martins remained as an outsider after he solved the case and leaves Vienna. With the death of real Harry Lime, the case was solved and the peace was brought to Vienna. After Harry's second funeral, Holly was to leave Vienna without Anna's affection. [TTM 01:37:57]

7 98 A Study of Anti-heroism: The Third Man (1949) CONCLUSION The protagonist of the film The Third Man (1949), Holly Martins fulfilled the four main conditions of anti - heroic character type; and therefore, we can classify Holly Martins as an anti - hero. In this study, Holly Martins meets all four defined requirements to be recognize as an anti - hero. However, further study and character analysis of the protagonists in the films are needed to ensure the definition of anti - heroism and the means for the classification of anti - heroes. REFERENCES Chibnall, Steve, and Robert Murphy, eds British Crime Cinema. New York: Routledge. Greene, Graham The Third Man. New Y ark: Penguin Books. (First published in 1950 by The Viking Press) Hoskins, Robert Graham Greene: A Character Index and Guide. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. Internet Movie Database, The The Third Man (1949). available from [Internet]; accessed 10 September Miller Laura The Third Man. available from /miller html [Internet]; accessed 2 June Miyamoto Seisuke "The Film Version of The Third Man by Graham Greene". Ryukoku Studies in English Language and Literature. Vol. 20 Ryukoku University O'Prey, Paul A Readers Guide to Graham Greene. Worcester, Great Britain: Thames and Hudson. Tuska. Jon Dark Cinema. London: Greenwood Press. Wheeler, Winston Dixon, ed Re-Viewing British Cinema, :

8 Yoshiya Nishi 99 Essays and Interviews. New York: State Univ. of New York Press. Winstanley, Cam, et al., eds. "The 50 Greatest Movie Heroes Of All Time!" Total Film. March London: Future Publishing Ltd. Zinman, David Classic Motion Pictures: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of. New York: Limelight Editions. Film: The Third Man. Dir. Carol Reed. Selznick Releasing Organization, Inc., min.

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