secret cinema – the third man
I have a confession to make: I’ve never liked The Third Man.
I KNOW. I know it’s a good movie. I know it’s an adaptation of a great Graham Greene novel and it’s all about the murky realities of post-Nazi Eastern Europe and yes I know all that but I’ve just never liked it. It’s just never done anything for me, and it’s not as if I’ve only seen it once either.
So, having booked my Secret Cinema tickets, I’d spent a large chunk of time trying to work out what the movie was. When, on the afternoon of the show, my friend said “My mate reckons it’s The Third Man”, my heart sank. Because I knew he was bound to be right. My dreams of Secret Cinema doing Brazil, thwarted. Again.
So after being kept waiting for 15 minutes in a holding queue – while the ‘rich elite’ were escorted to their pre-booked restaurant tables (run by St. John, which made me… hungry) – we were retrieved by our previous escort to the International Zone, and snuck through another 10 minutes’ worth of underground tunnels. Finally, we entered the International Zone itself, where we got to… play roulette. And eat half-cold bratwurst with sauerkraut. Obvs. All of this was good, although I’d have liked the chance to roll up at the restaurant without a booking if I’m honest. But that’s because I like eating. A lot.
Some Secret Cinemas have tried to throw you off what the film is before it starts. Others go out of their way to draw attention to it, directly recreating scenes from the movie. The Third Man was one of the latter, giving us not just a scene, but almost certainly the one everyone knows, of Holly and Harry’s ferris-wheel conversation about the ants of the world. At which point I pretty much buried my head in my hands.
And yet. Sitting down to watch the movie, for the first time ever… I didn’t find the movie horrifically tedious. I still wouldn’t say I enjoyed it – can’t change the habits of a lifetime after all – but I sat, and watched it, and got a bit involved. Perhaps because this time I knew how it all ended, and I’d had a chance to wander around the International Zone. Perhaps because it takes several viewings for it to set in. Or perhaps because I had sweets to aid the journey. Either way, it’s a great example of what Secret Cinema is about – giving audiences new ways to experience classic films.
The next event is a revival of Bugsy Malone, one of the most famous Secret Cinema events – and the company’s first ever revival, in fact. Tickets went on sale today and can be nabbed here.